I love new year, the first day of the month, birthdays, any solstice or equinox, every morning, and especially Monday mornings.
Why? Well, even as a child, (in other words, forever), I loved fresh starts, rituals, and breaking things down to Baby Steps. Back in the day I used to employ the Dreaded New Year's Resolution Approach. I hope we all know that is really some kind of depraved self-torture, right? Because everyone knows New Year's Resolutions don't work. Right? Wrong! Just like anything else, New Year's Resolutions work for the people who work them. Just like budgets, diets, and dating sites.
All the same, I tend to utilize Intentions rather than Resolutions. There's a black-and-white thinking thing about all-or-nothing New Year's Resolutions that is just so seductive for Anxious Folk. Anxious Folk, as a rule, tend to be habituated to self-criticism and as a result will take on massive self-improvement projects and goals. We're not going to have one or two or three resolutions. No, us hardy goal-oriented Anxious Folk are going to be going for the New Year's Gold. Our list will often be as long as our biological age, because we just get better with practice! The older we get, the more we see what needs changing. Maybe this is why, statistically, the over 50 crowd has less success at their New Year's Resolutions than the Twenties Folks. Besides, we all know it's more challenging to lose weight as we age and that's still at the top of most Resolution Lists. I like utilizing Intentions in my life, rather than Resolutions, because I still get to employ will power in the game and create shift, but I'm not running into as many brick walls. At least in my mind, Intention is about directionality and as long as I am still heading in the direction I want to be going, I am In the Process and on my way. Intentions are guide-posts and aren't fraught with all the pass/fail baggage of Resolutions.
Any game requires the right tools. I'm a tool-user. Currently there are a couple of tools I use to keep myself moving in the direction of my Intentions. For years I have emailed myself messages throughout the year, about every quarter, from the site, http://www.futureme.org/ It's like an electronic message in a bottle. You write them now, but you receive them at a designated time in the future. Mine are as diverse as "How's the daily meditation practice going?" to the message I received in the beginning of November, "Go get that string of white twinkle lights before they all sell out again this year." I also use a dynamic phone app, https://lift.do/ for tracking the things I am focusing on currently. You can jump into groups who are doing the same thing you want to do (i.e. drink more water, meditate daily, call your mom more often, get to bed before midnight, eat a frog first thing in the morning--true story, go check it out) or you can create your own. Then, you can track it every day. Miss a day? No problem, just jump in where you're at and keep on going. If you want little push notifications you can have them. I like it a lot. Finally, I email myself most nights with a list of things I want to do the next day. This is more of a To-Do list than being about my Intentions, but it keeps me moving forward through my life.
Intentionality is a muscle. I use it every day. And while I am just as susceptible to creating a list of negatives about myself as the next Anxious Peep, Intentionality is my answer. Intention is about moving towards more of what I want in my life, rather than away from what I don't want. It's a shift in focus. The vibe is more about creating than expunging, if you get my drift. To my ear, Resolutions sound like they're more about self-improvement and a new coat of paint and less about growth, expansion, and Transformation. As far as I'm concerned, Transformation is the game to play. I do enjoy New Year's, its promise of freshness and Start Again, and the opportunity to plug-in to mass consciousness energy about creating something new and more. Even as I know you and I are already enough. Yes, I want to end the next year fitter, healthier, and more financially stable, but fat or thin, what I really intend for myself is to be increasingly more open-hearted and connected each day and in so doing, hold myself in more compassion. Everything else will flow from that.
I'm Victoria Wallace Schlicht. I'm a licensed California Marriage and Family Therapist and a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP), which is something like a Nervous Systems Whisperer but without the white cowboy hat. I specialize in Anxiety reduction and trauma resolution. I have a multi-faceted, normalizing, non-pathologizing approach to the human experience. I just don't get the need to label folks as sick or broken. Let's face it, nearly everyone you know is either experiencing highly anxious states or has had a brush with anxiety in the past. How do I know? Well, for one thing we are living in a world that is veering out of control along several fronts. If you're not stressed out, you're simply not paying attention or you've mastered this plane of experience. We're dealing with higher levels of change at more rapid pace than at any time in our known history. We weren't designed for this kind of stress. We weren't designed to feel as if we are constantly trying to out run the Sabre-Toothed Tiger at our heels. Our over-functioning is running us down. We need a different viewpoint. New tools. Better tools. And I have them. Or at least a big pile of them. And I love to talk about them. A lot. In fact, you can't shut me up. So, I've finally gone and built a bully pulpit of my own. We'll be unwinding the mystery of Anxious experience every week Right here. Enjoy! I'm the author of Thriving in a Chaotic World, a voluminous audio information product for reducing anxious experience and produce a monthly eZine. Opt-in here to receive Thriving News
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