There’s is nothing wrong with wanting to start fresh.
Pressing the reset button on our lives is an important part of the human journey.
Change is good, but intentional change is even better.
When working toward changing old behaviors, we want to ensure we aren’t initiating this change from an attitude of thinking the way we are now is bad or somehow wrong. Instead, we want to create change from a place of self-love. A nice way to do this is to think: Because I love myself, I am going to make healthy choices.
This is different from the fear-based resolution approach that drives us to change our habits by telling ourselves that if we don’t make a change, we will be a failure, not be loved or have some sort of crisis in our lives.
When we create change from self-love, we start to feel empowered that we can manifest all of our desires not through threats and inner-bullying, but instead through compassion and inner encouragement.
Let’s look at five practical ways to do this:
1. Try Something New for a Short Period of Time.
Sometimes our reasoning for setting New Year’s resolutions is we really know we need to change some habits, and we think by setting a big goal for the whole year, we will be able to accomplish making these changes. However, this challenge to do something for an entire year is so big, so we often fail before we even get started. Then this new failure of not completing the resolution just gets added to the litany of criticisms our inner-bully likes to remind ourselves of daily.
Instead, we can make our goals more manageable. I like to set a goal for two weeks. Two weeks is very manageable. Also, two weeks can be viewed more as an experiment. How do we even know we are going to like the new activity, behavior or habit we are trying to initiate into our life until we have tried it a bunch of times?
Also, sometimes it takes a little while until we actually “like” a new habit. Change is often uncomfortable, and if the new activity we are trying to initiate is something like exercise or meditation, there is definitely going to be an adjustment period where the body and mind are uncomfortable before we strengthen our mental and physical muscles, so they can do the new activity without being in some sort of pain.
If there is a new activity you want to try for 2017, how about just setting a goal to try it our for two weeks, and then at the end of that period be kind and compassionate with yourself. Ask your own intuition and heart if the activity feels right for you before making a commitment to do it for a whole year.
2. Cut Something Out of Your Life.
I believe that when we prune things from our life other things bloom. This is how it works with trees and plants, and I think this is also how it works with our own beings. I have done this type of pruning many times in my life, and it has not been easy, but something new and wonderful has always bloomed, even if the “cut” hurt at first.
Sometimes we have things in our life that are “good ideas” and seem like the “right” things to do—but are they our true, most desired outcomes?
Perhaps there is something in your life that is just mediocre, not really making you sad, but also not truly making you happy. Perhaps the act of self-love is to let go of this so that space can be made in your life for what you really love to fill the space that presently is being filled by a mediocre choice.
Again, you don’t need to pick something huge. It doesn’t have to be moving to a new town or getting a divorce, but maybe there is an organization you belong to, or a weekly meeting you go to that doesn’t make you as happy as it did when you first started. Maybe it is time to let that go so something new and exciting can grow in its place.
Just go spend time in nature. Seriously, nature knows all about pressing the reset button. It does it all day long. Forest fires, hurricanes, seasons, birth and death of every form. What is amazing about spending time in nature is that it is consciousness changing without having to do anything. Just go stand in the woods, stare at the water, stick your feet in some sand or touch a tree and it will change you.
This is the easiest way to bring transformation into your life—and it is free and couldn’t be simpler.
4. Set the Big Intentions.
This is about going deeper than we usually go in figuring out what we really want. Underneath our specific goals is a bigger intention. Underneath wanting to make more money is wanting to feel more secure, safe and free. Underneath wanting to find a mate is wanting connection. When we set specific goals, we limit what we can manifest.
The possibilities of what route our life can take is infinite.
The ideas the mind can come up with are extremely limited—the mind doesn’t know that much.
So, instead of focusing on specific goals, it is really great to be willing to get raw, vulnerable and honest about what we really want and set the big intentions, such as, to be loved, feel free or be of service.
5. Ask for Help.
We get so stuck in our perceptions and realities that we start to limit our options by keeping all of our ideas in our own heads. That is why reaching out to the smart and loving people around us, and sharing where we feel stuck or confused, can bring many new ideas and angles to our lives that we couldn’t see alone.
The important thing here is to stay open, ask people we trust and not be too quick to dismiss ideas.
Often when someone offers a different angle to our way of seeing things, we are quick to be defensive because it makes us uncomfortable. But if we can see that it is okay to feel a little uncomfortable, we can intentionally stay open to different points of views and just let the ideas simmer and be considered.
Asking for help and just being willing to say, “I am not sure, but I will stay open,” can really grow our hearts, which will give us more options.
Our old ways are just that: old ways. They are habits we formed when we needed to feel like we could survive safely in different and often challenging situations. Negative habit patterns aren’t a mistake, they were probably initiated into our systems for a reason.
But we all need frequent re-boots to our systems, where we clean out the old fear and resistance and come into the freshness of this moment—as it is now.
Choosing to set the refresh button at the beginning of the year is a great gift we can give ourselves, but it doesn’t need to be done with harsh New Year’s resolutions. Instead, gentle encouragement toward change and transformation through love and self-compassion will take us where we want to go.
Author: Ruth Lera
Editor: Travis May