January – a time for reflection and goal setting
January is often thought of as time for reflection. This month is named after the Roman God, Janus (“the doorway”) whose image is one of a head with a face looking forward and a face looking back. Janus became the ancient symbol for resolutions. As we leave 2011 and enter 2012, it is an opportune time to take stock of our thoughts and behaviour. Ask yourself, if you are feeling joy in your life? Are you more positive than negative? Are you taking responsibility for the choices you are making in creating your life? Are you taking too much on? Are you finding some time to re-charge your batteries? The season of winter invites contemplation as we move from the darkest days of the year towards more light.
January is a great time to press the “re-set button”, put negative situations in the past and try to work on the positives. It is a time for identifying aspirations. It may feel trite to set “New Years Resolutions” but research shows that people who write down their goals are much more successful than those who don’t. The key is to actually put your goals into writing – this can also be a great exercise to do as a family. It is also beneficial to make the goals specific and measurable. Here are some links to specific check lists, created by researchers at McGill University, for goals such as Conscientiousness: increasing discipline, order, and integrity in one’s life or Agreeableness: increasing warmth, empathy and compassion or Openness: increasing creativity, philosophical and artistic interest.
Create Your Own Happiness Project
Gretchen Rubin’s great book The Happiness Project, is an inspiring read of her year of goal setting. Each month she focussed on one goal, put it in writing, kept checklists, and reviewed her progress. She then added one goal per month while continuing to work on the previous goals. I loved her book, because she’s a researcher at heart, thus she backed up her goals with current research to motivate her to make changes in her life. She also came up with the fun idea of creating her own twelve commandments:
- Be Gretchen.
- Let it go.
- Act the way I want to feel.
- Do it now.
- Be polite and be fair.
- Enjoy the process.
- Spend out.
- Identify the problem.
- Lighten up.
- Do what ought to be done.
- No calculation.
- There is only love.
If you can get in the habit of looking at your checklist every thirty days, you will keep yourself accountable and on track. If you are feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, incorporating Mindfulness breathing into your life could be a trans-formative experience. Taking 20 minutes a day to sit and breathe in quiet meditation could provide you with the renewed energy and calm in your life that you may be seeking. Getting more sleep and exercise, eating less sugar and more vegetables are also popular and beneficial ways to be more healthy. Cutting out pictures and words from magazines and creating a Vision Board is another way of setting goals and putting them on paper.
Whatever may be your goals, I encourage you to write them down or glue them down and as Marianne Williamson says:
Use each interaction to be the best, most powerful version of yourself. Try to rise to the occasion. Be the most wonderful expression of you that you’re capable of.
If you can do this for yourself, you will also be role-modelling for your children.
Your vision will become clear only when you look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside awakens. ~ C.G. Jung
When I think of JOY, I think of J – Judge less, O – Open mind and heart, Y – You – take time for you and be your authentic self.
Good luck with your resolutions. I would love to hear your own commandments or some of your goals for the coming year.
I wish you and your family much JOY for 2012,
p.s Not yet a Mama Compass subscriber? Click on the “subscribe” button on the home page, enter your confidential e-mail, confirm when you receive your confirmation e-mail (which may accidentally be diverted to your spam e-mail) and then you will receive free, weekly articles directly to your in-box, on the topics of Parenting, Psychology, Personal Growth and Play.
pps. Like what you’re reading? Please share on facebook, tweet or forward to a friend or family member.