It’s that time of year again – when we look for renewal and reinvention, and we make resolutions to keep intentions we mostly have all year long. Why do we think we can keep them just because it’s a new year? Maybe a new year makes us feel like we have been given a new beginning, and we can forgive ourselves the old bad habits because we are committed to doing better now? While this is a hope-filled and optimistic feeling, it will be more than likely over-ridden by the emotion we have that drives the habit or behavior we want to get rid of in the first place! Because that emotion is probably stronger than the new intention! It is probably older, more ‘set’ in your body, and it’s history and ‘roots’ much more powerful. Interestingly, a recent scientific study in Portugal showed that in times of stress (such as the times we are in), we revert to habits we have formed even if they are destructive and actually cause more stress! (More on this in a future article – watch for it on this website.)
For me, shifting habits is of course as challenging as for anyone, but I have always found it to be amazingly helpful to journal write, especially at this time of year – to journal about the emotions that keep me doing things I don’t really feel good about. Journaling as in ‘stream of consciousness’ – NO judgment, just write what you feel – can be immensely clarifying and give great insight. When you have ‘emptied’ your emotions onto the pages and you feel your writing is, at least for the moment, complete, allow yourself to just sit with the emotion(s), get to know it/them. And breathe- long, slow, deep breaths.
When ready, get into that space in your body that feels good (usually in the heart and chest area). Breathe into it. Allow the emotions you wrote about to just melt as you breathe into the ‘feel-good’ feeling.
Then, on a new blank page (the naturally occurring metaphor here is difficult to ignore :-), write down where you would like to be one year from now; imagine your perfect life in a year – write it down. When I do this, I then give myself one practical step to take to move towards it – which I then carry out. (The changes I want then become manageable, step-by-step processes). If those sabotaging emotions start to appear again, I go back and journal about them and do the same process as above, again. Eventually, after a few times, even the most stubborn emotions will have ‘melted’ away completely! Quite an empowering experience! With the sabotaging emotions gone, any resolutions, New Year’s or otherwise, become so much easier to keep, I cannot imagine making any kind of resolutions or commitments without first doing this process.
On that note; all of us here at AEM wish all of you a Happy New Year ------- and happy journaling!