Starting Small and Growing Slow In The New Year

21 January 2011, by A. Cedilla

We’re well into the first month of a new year, long enough for the holiday-glitter to fade, and for everyone to return to their regularly scheduled programming. But even after having settled in, it’s not uncommon to still have some parts of the old year taking the front-stage in your inner musings. After all, it’s a new year, right?

What’s more satisfying than to plan how to make this year better than last year, eh?

And how better than to do so by replaying the best and worst of 2010 in your mental movie-house?

 

Today’s article is about taking the pictures out from your mental reel and translating them into a workable plan with real-life accomplishments, and purposefully, consciously make this a better year for you.

Looking back from today’s perspective, were you satisfied with your last 12 months? Think about the year you just had. How was it? What stood out? What happened that you wish didn’t stand out? Shake it apart and see how it breaks down.

You can’t go forward with purpose if you don’t know where you want to go. If you want to move away from something you don’t want anymore, or towards something you want more of, you have to know what these things are.

In the same vein, if you can’t remember a lot of good or bad points, well, what do you want to do to make this year more memorable?

What were the high points ?
What made them so important to you? Any commonalities, or linking factors? Of course you would be open to having more of high points, but what (and how) can you do to boost the possibility from “vague” to “very likely” that these kinds of desirable experiences would happen again, and on a consistent basis — or at least often enough to keep you content?

For example, you have to pry one memorable event apart and see what it was about it that made it matter so much — was it the people with you at the time and how they made you feel (or how you felt about them), or what the event meant to you, personally? The birth of a long-wished for baby is a momentous occasion, but it’s not what you want to happen every year, generally speaking, while being commended for exemplary performance at work is welcome any time.

Anyway, list the events and actions that make up your small triumphs and happy moments last year. Try to look for the connecting threads and common aspects.

If you look for and carry over these factors in other ways, you can set it up to introduce more happiness and contentment into your life in different ways, not just the ones you’re used to.

What were the low points ?
Instead of wincing away from the memories, face them head on and keep cool while dissecting them. Ignore the emotional flinch, and ask yourself what else did you take from them? How can you get stronger from them? How can you prepare for them, or at least bump down the likelihood of reacting badly from “Dammit, not this again!” to “No sweat, I can handle this.”

See, after some time has passed, you can develop enough perspective to gain more from what you consider low points because you’re not as emotionally invested in the event…you have the insulation of time.

This insulation can help you see what your part in the event was — and let’s face it, there are always two sides of a story, no matter how much you may want to vilify the other party– and what you can do to help yourself not be trapped in the attitude that contributed to the issue.

This careful analysis covers small things and serious issues. If an off-hand comment about your limited cooking skills sent you in a tizzy at last year’s Thanksgiving table, maybe this year you can use some of that I’m-gonna-show-you and look up cooking tutorials on YouTube, and visit the local used-books store for a few cookbooks.

In the same spirit, but on a more serious scale, if you’ve noticed that a common factor in many of your low points is how much your habit of procrastination contributed to the issue, you can start paying attention and finish doing things on time instead of letting them pile up.

What about this year? Aside from the plans you already have, here are a few more suggesting to getting more out of yourself and your life:
Work to clear space
– Whether it’s physical, emotional, or psychological, outdated baggage takes up a lot of space and leaves little room for what new things to enter. Unclutterer has years’ worth of articles to help you.

Apply the lessons you learned from last year
– Thing of it as graduation, not from school, but from one stage to another. You only stay at one stage if you keep repeated the lesson without learning anything from it. Use an effective plan to deal with your procrastination, for example, or make it a point to enroll for automatic savings so you’re not tempted to spend all your money before the end of the month.

Test repeatedly and find out what your real tolerance level and endurance is.
– As we’ve said before, theory is okay, but when you take it to the mat, then you’ll find out what your theory is worth. If you keep saying that you can’t and you don’t even try because of it, guess what changes for you? Nothing. You want the same nothing to happen this year like it did last year?

Find what you need to make the hard times easier to bear and go through.
– Establish a support system, in friends and family, activities (hobbies, exercise, meditation, etc.) and finances (save and spend judiciously, short-term pain = long-term gain).

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