Optimism fills the room as we sit down to write what we want to accomplish this year and how we can get back on track to being our best selves.
The first few weeks are filled with dynamic determination as we start activities and habits that we’ve never tried before or are trying again because they didn’t quite stick. It’s so fun and easy to be excited!
…Fast forward to a few weeks, maybe even months, later and some of us might have lost a little fire under our bums as we search for the original excitement from the New Year.
We may look at ourselves in the mirror and ask “What happened? Why!”
When we have a goal we want to accomplish, we can often run into blocks: physical, mental, and more often than not, emotional. Sometimes the larger emotional blocks feel like they’re impossible to target and often have nothing to do with our original goal.
Why does this happen? The only way I can even start to target my own emotional blocks is to look back at significant life events:
I notice a lot of people, including myself, who have just been through a life event that took them a while to deal with. For instance, an emotionally straining relationship with a significant other, a terminally ill parent or child, the loss of a job, etc. While we feel that we’ve “dealt” with these events whole-heartedly, most of the time we haven’t dealt with them in the way we could have in order to consider it a full lesson learned.
Instead, we walk around with a subconscious pain in our heart, left there to deal with at a later date or not at all.
While we can look back on the event and understand that we learned a lot, have we truly gotten to the point where we are integrating that lesson into our current way of living?
More often than not, we aren’t.
This is because a lot of us haven’t been taught how to do that. We just see these events as big things that have happened, and aren’t able to use the lesson as fuel for our futures.
Our natural grieving process is not a healing ceremony.
The long grieving process that we go through when dealing with something difficult may be considered a healing ceremony, but when it comes to awareness and reflection, it’s not. Effective healing ceremonies require us to have clear intent, a marked beginning and end, and personal closure.
If we don’t structure our healing and release of these events in a way that tells us what we’ve gained from the experience (including when we’re allowed to be done dealing with it), we will hold on to the pain much longer than we need to.
This is the same pain that is blocking us from accomplishing our seemingly unrelated goals.
I know, it’s crazy—that old stuff we’ve kept inside is part of the reason why we can’t accomplish our New Year’s Resolutions, or any other goal for that matter. So, next time you sit down to create a plan, I recommend taking 10-minutes to do a simple healing ceremony that will help prepare you for dealing with these natural emotional blocks.
While the idea is to do this ceremony before you create the goal (it can influence the way in which you word your goal or how you will plan it out during the year), you can do this ceremony or repeat it at any time you feel necessary.
10-Minute Healing Ceremony
Begin by sitting down with a piece of paper and a writing utensil.
Step 1: Get out of your comfort zone.
Write down a list of things that scare you, for instance: Are you a control freak? Are you afraid of being alone? Abandonment? Attachment? Are you afraid of what people think of you?
This stuff is the perfect ammo to use as the start of your Resolution—call it a reverse bucket list if you will. This is not a list of things to enjoy before you die, but rather a list of things to push yourself towards dealing with before you die.
We’re here to learn lessons; if we can’t get ourselves out of our comfort zones, we simply won’t learn.
Step 2: Reframe a significant life event.
Take a look back on your life, or 2014 if it’s easier, and think about a life event that you had a difficult time dealing with. It can be things like a bad breakup, the fact that you went back to smoking, lost a friend or family member, fought with a friend, lost a job, etc.
When you think about this event, does it still scare you or do you still feel pain? A lot of the time when we have lingering emotions that are based on fear, this means we didn’t fully deal with it (if it doesn’t scare you, choose another life event). Think to yourself: Did I walk away from the event understanding it’s overall significance in my life? Did I appreciate that event for what it was worth? Did I use that appreciation as fuel for all of my life’s future events?
Step 3: Write it down:
With a new piece of paper, write down a title for that event. Write these questions underneath the title, and think of answers that go beyond a simple yes or no. Explain yourself if you need to:
1. What happened:
2. How did it make me feel:
3. How did it make others feel:
4. What personal lesson did I take away from this event:
5. How did it make me a better person:
6. How will I handle it next time:
7. Can I forgive myself for holding onto this pain?
8. Can I appreciate the significance of this event?
9. Do I have anything to be afraid of?
10. Can I be proud of myself?
Step 4: Re-read everything you just wrote and take it in.
When you’re finished, fold the paper to make it small. You have several options at this point: rid of the paper in any way you can—burn it, rip it up, soak it in water and flush it down the toilet…but be sure to do so with appreciation for what you’ve written and learned! Treat this event with respect because it has taught you something huge. When the paper is gone, take a breath, smile for yourself and say, Thank you.
Congratulations! You’ve finished your healing ceremony. If you want to dig even deeper, you can repeat this ceremony with as many life events as you wish.
Otherwise, you are now ready to write your resolutions. If you run into any hesitations or difficulty with them, realize that it’s supposed to be hard when developing new habits and creating the best you; just remember what you learned and put to rest during your ceremonies as you can use this as ammo to push yourself even harder.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Lauren Peters
Editor: Emma Ruffin
Photo: Rob and Stephanie Levy/Flickr