We are officially in 2015 now; our feet are firmly planted in the New Year. What is coming up for you now? Are you beginning to feel a slide back into 2014 behaviors, routines, or modes of living? Perhaps you are still feeling the shininess of possibility with the new year stretching out before you….
Whatever it may be, now is a good time to examine your approach and your relationship to change.
Regardless of whether you make resolutions for the New Year or set intentions to dream in the next season of life, we are all in need of change on some level.
But change is a slow process. It requires that you set an intention, observe yourself with compassionate awareness, and make small, deliberate adjustments.
Here is how sustainable change can happen:
1. Identify the behavior, or thought pattern that you would like to be different. Hold space for what or how you’d like to be. Set a goal and visualize how achieving this goal would feel, look, and be like.
2. Recognize that change is in fact a series of tiny steps and noticings, so start small and simple as you watch yourself go about your day. Begin listening to your thoughts, when you are thinking about making a choice, what it feels like, what comes before a choice, when you make your choices, etc. Hold all of this information in a compassionate light. You are on your own team, so view all of your observations about yourself with judgment-free awareness.
Perhaps you choose to eat a sugary treat late at night. When does this decision usually occur–what time of night? What comes before the decision? How are you feeling? Is there something that is gnawing at you, and sugar sounds like it would soothe the ache? Do you feel like you are missing something? Start here and take care to be kind with all of the information you gather about yourself.
3. Start choosing a small, but deliberate gesture, step, or change that will derail the old thought pattern.
If you know that you will begin to crave sugar after you put your children to bed and around the time you sit down to watch TV, change a step in your routine. Is it possible to do something else to unwind that will engage you in a different way than watching TV? Is there a craft, a book, a subject that you want to spend some time focusing on or learning about? Is there someone you want to reconnect with after your day; your partner, spouse, a friend, a family member? Do you need to sit down and write a few lines in a journal or write a note to a friend? Perhaps you need to brush your teeth, get your PJs on, and then do something that helps you relax. Allow yourself to naturally settle down into your evening and to usher in a good night’s rest.
Make a deliberate adjustment to tell both your body and your mind that you are walking toward your vision of how you want to be, in a sustainable way. It may feel really insignificant to brush your teeth and put on PJs earlier in your evening, but you are changing a habit that takes some time, energy, and a new approach.
The most important thing you can do when you want to make a change, is to open up space for this change to happen. You want to be ready to take the steps necessary to make this change stick, and to approach this entire process with compassion and acceptance.
After all, you are your only *you*!