January is always an exciting time… as preparations for the New Year begin and often unrealistically high expectations and resolutions are set. Self – Development takes on a new urgency for most people, as guilt of overindulgence during the Christmas/ New Year festivities takes over - and the desire to detoxify their body and change their life (or at least keep up with the current one) urges them once again, to literally “pull themselves together”!!
What is it about turning over a new leaf that excites people so much? Why are people so desperate to “improve” themselves? Improving connotes that we are less than perfect, that there is something flawed about us...
Where does this sort of thinking come from? Mostly these ideas reside in our subconscious mind and have been picked up through parental disapproval or comparisons brought about by traumatic thoughts learned at school, of never really being “good enough” - regardless of whether we had top grades or not. Societal expectations verify this, always pointing out that we are “less”, always dangling that ever elusive carrot in front of our eyes.
These feelings of inadequacy express themselves in various self - destructive and addictive behaviors such as excessive overindulgence - whether of food (food is the most over abused drug), toxic substances and/or toxic behavior. Traditional celebrations of saying good bye to the old and welcoming the new, give us permission to start again – This time, this year, I’ll do it right!!
Overindulgence is an overcompensation to fulfill a desperate and lonely emptiness, a bewildered attempt to deal with an unaccepting, chaotic world.
As regular life starts again, most people get lost in their routine and generally operate on automatic pilot (in other words, unconscious) with the usual chronic underlying fear of life being totally out of their control. Most yo-yo between motivation and feelings of failure…
Here is a simple self-inquiry exercise which can bring you a little more awareness about what, from 2018, you may want to leave behind and what you may want to keep and celebrate in 2019.
Which negative repetitive or toxic behavior did I indulge in 2018?
What factors led me to behave in this way?
What is the actual trigger that activates this behavior (what’s the pattern that starts it)?
What can I do so that I don’t reach the state of mind which stimulates this type of behavior?
How can I treat myself better?
What is it that I actually like about behaving/thinking in this way?
How does behaving in this way serve me?
How can I serve myself by satisfying these urges without succumbing to this behavior?
What were my achievements in 2018? Family? Professional? Physical? Personal?
What did I start to appreciate/ love more about myself in 2018?
What new thing did I learn about myself?
How did I appreciate/ congratulate myself for these achievements?
In which ways did my relationship with others improve in 2018?
In which way did my relationship with myself improve in 2018?
From the scale of 1 – 10 how much do I love myself?
List 10 goals you have for 2019.
Imagine it is January 2020 and you are writing about the past year. Write the ideal account of your experiences, achievements etc for 2019….
I usually love doing this exercise on New Year’s Day. It can be done at any time, however, when you’re ready to set attainable resolutions or goals for yourself for a new cycle in your life. Self- awareness is the first step of healing.
Hope you enjoy doing these exercises and remember, you are NOT a failure if you slump back into old behaviors. Growing patterns take time to dissolve and chaos always precedes order!
In Truth, Simplicity and Love!
Breath Master, International Rebirther/Breathworker