Given my career choice, it is probably no big surprise that I LOVE New Year’s Resolutions – I revel in them. I thrive on change, self-improvement, and new healthy habits. I journal. I update my vision board. I laser-focus my awareness on my values, my actions, my life, and ultimately, my realignment process. It totally works for me. I feel calm, revived, and nourished.
With that said, I am fully aware that I am the minority when it comes to my love affair with this process. I am, at least within my circle of friends and family, usually an island among a sea of rolling eyes, waving hands, and shaking heads.
Regardless of your stance on this matter, I’m hoping we can, at a minimum, agree to three universal truths that usually arise from New Years Resolutions:
- Raising self-awareness is good
- Creating a healthier, happier life is good
- Letting go of what harms us is good
Regardless of the time year, location on earth, spiritual beliefs, and personal status – hopefully, we agree on the goodness of the aforementioned items. With this established, I’m highlighting several tools I use and have found extremely valuable in my process. I invite you to use all or part of these tools on January 1st or any day of the year!
Who am I? What are my patterns, my beliefs? What are my gifts and strengths? What are my shadows? What are my values? Am I living MY authentic life?
These are big questions – and well worth asking (and answering). One of the best tools to aid me in addressing self-awareness is The Value Inventory. When I know my values, I can use them as a way to make solid decision in my life. I use the following fill-in-the-blank question often:
Does this ___________________________ align with my values?
- Does this decision align with my values?
- Does this action align with my values?
- Does this choice align with my values?
Often, I find the areas in my life that cause me the most grief – the most dis-ease – simply don’t align with my values. To be clear, it doesn’t always mean I do something different – in a perfect world I would, right? But, simply knowing the reason behind my unhappiness helps – a lot! Raising my awareness to values also allows me to see my patterns and beliefs.
Want a free copy of The Value Inventory? Email me – email@example.com
Creating a healthier, happier life
A tool I’ve found very helpful in creating better health and more happiness in my own life is this three-step process:
- Create a vision board of MY LIFE in perfect alignment with my values. This board includes items from my bucket list, places I want to go, adventures I want to have, health and fitness goals, material items, motivational quotes, and so much more. It is only limited by my time, energy, creativity, and, of course, the size of my bulletin board.
- Ask myself a sliding scale question: On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 highest) where am I, right now, in living that life? I often find that in some areas of my life, I’m an 8, and in other areas of my life I may be a 2 or 3. A person can go a long way with this question – I encourage you to use your creativity.
- Create measurable, clear, and attainable action steps that begin the process of moving me up the scale. Personally, I usually create three action steps to work on within a 1-4 week time period. I find it manageable and memorable (meaning I can actually remember what I committed to!).
Helpful Tips: Take baby steps. For example, if the goal is to eat healthier – throwing everything out that you love and buying only kale is probably a fast track to failure. Instead, consider one small change you can make THIS week. Next week, aim for another baby step. The goal is sustainable success!
Letting go of what harms me
It is challenging to begin to invite more health and happiness into my life by living in alignment with my values – without addressing the areas of my life that are not in alignment.
As I raise my awareness about my life and the way that I live it, I inevitably reach those dark, dusty corners that I try like hell to avoid – those things, those people, those choices that dim my light, suck me dry, and leave me feeling less than. These areas almost always fall well within my comfort zone – so removing them is – well…easily avoided. That is, until I realize that real change won’t be sustained until I address them.
As I dig deeper, I generally discover that what I really need to let go of is my own self-defeating beliefs, inner-critics, grungy little gremlins, and mucked-up mental models. It’s not really people, or jobs, or things – because all of those things are in my life because of the self-defeating beliefs, inner-critics, grungy little gremlins, and mucked-up mental models. When that entire gunk is gone – I make different decisions about whom I spend my time with and how I make a living.
For me, letting go of what harms me, generally means, letting go of those harmful aspects of myself. The tool that helps me most with this is ceremony. I create a ritual that represents letting go. I’ve written messages on paper and burned them. I’ve designated stones with meanings and thrown them in the river to be carried away. I’ve buried some items, and let others get carried away by the wind. Before burning, burying, or tossing though, I thank my self-defeating beliefs, inner-critics, grungy little gremlins, and mucked-up mental models – each one of them. They were alive for a reason. They served a purpose. They protected. But their time has come and gone. They now serve only as harm. Thank you and good bye, dear friends.
Afterward, I journal to capture the event and my new found freedom. Sometimes the gunk goes away for good. Other times, the ceremony acts as a way of putting the spot light on it, look eye-to-eye, and say, “I know who you are. I know where you live. And although we may be co-existing for a while, I want you to know, I’m in charge here! This is my house, Sucka”!
For me, the powerful time of year to do this is in the darkness of winter with the promise of returning light. The short days, bare trees, and soaked earth act as my reminder of the seasons and the balance of warm and cold, light and dark, life and death. When one calendar goes away – physically pulled from the wall, and replaced with a brand new one – a blank slate – a new year.
Whenever and however you address your life, I honor your hard work. The process of raising self-awareness, creating a healthier, happier life, and letting go of what harms us is, indeed, good.
Cheers and Happy New Year!
Tiffany Grimes is a Transformative Life Coach and Consultant with Evolutionary Consulting