Wow, Christmas is well and truly over now ... sort of, I still have chocolate, crackers, and cheese taking over my kitchen, but I am determined to get through as much of it as I can, cue feeling possibly ill from sugar overload! But I also have a few new years resolutions in mind that could make my life healthier, happier, and much more fulfilling ....
(love this old Victorian Photo or lightness and levity; they look like they are having so much fun and living life to the max - perhaps something we should all consider doing this coming year! Image from pinterest)
When I was younger I used to make resolutions all the time, and then the past few years I have switched making resolutions to making yearly goals, but I can feel myself switching back again to the idea of resolutions. I think I am doing this because I have clarified for myself exactly what each one is and how they can both be useful in ones life.
So, what are goals?
In the Business Dictionary, goals are defined as - 'An observable and measurable end result having one or more objectives to be achieved within a more or less fixed timeframe'.
Goals are those dreams that you want to make reality through the intention of steps and time. There is a beginning to them and an end, and usually at the completion of one goal another is then started. They can impact on your life for a set duration, and then, depending on the goal, lapse, or morph into another goal. It is something that you don't necessarily have to work on every day or even every week - in fact, most goals are set out time wise, with a set end date, with the intent to simply finish the goal at that end date.
Goals are good because they enable you have a focus, a drive to reach a conclusion - they help you to push yourself forward and keep life moving forward., Goals can, however, also cause stress and disappointment ... have you ever mentally beat yourself up when you haven't achieved your goal by the set date?
What are resolutions?
The Oxford Dictionary defines a resolution as - 'a firm decision to do or not do something'.
I was reading a blog post on Lifehacker about the difference between goals and resolutions and I really liked what David Galloway quoted from Gretchen Ruben of "The Happiness Project" - 'With resolutions, the expectations are different. Each day, I try to live up to my resolutions. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail, but every day is a clean slate and a fresh opportunity. I never expect to be done with my resolutions, so I don't get discouraged when they stay challenging. Which they do.'
So resolutions are not goals, they are habits, intentions, lived day by day, things that can and will change your life for the better. Resolutions are not set in stone (like goals can seem to be), they are not defined by a particular set of steps or time scale, they are just what they are, day-to-day changes that we can all do. And as Gretchen Ruben from The Happiness Project states in the quote above, 'Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail, but everyday is a clean slate and a fresh opportunity.' Resolutions seem kinder, somehow, then goals.
Just because I said resolutions seem kinder doesn't mean I'll be giving up goals ... but I do want to do more resolutions, to make incremental improvements to my life through subtle habit changes. So to do this I am going to commit to 12 New Years Resolutions. These resolutions will be played out over the twelve months of 2014 - they are personal resolutions (as opposed to business ones I will be making - more on that later), and I vow to try my absolute best to enact them (but I will not beat myself up if I have a little slip up now and then). The aim is to keep each resolution turning over to each month, slowly building up good habits to make my life the way I want it to be, healthy, fun, creative, and full of love.
My twelve resolutions for 2014 are as follows -
Jan - A Green Smoothie a Day Keeps the Doctor Away (quite literally, I aim to have a smoothie a day to kick start a healthy a mindful practice of eating - and drinking?)
Feb - Yoga Yoga Everyday (as I am sure you have noticed I am a yoga addict, and as much as I am developing a yoga practice I would still like to make sure I at least to a Sun Salutation everyday, if not a full class or program)
March - Spring Clean Time (I do try and keep up with the basics of general cleanliness .... but it has been awhile since I have cleaned thoroughly the entire flat, soooooo, breaking the month into segments, the first week will focus on the kitchen, second week the lounge room, third week the bathroom, and finally, the fourth week - my bedroom. Boyeah!! And through this practice set up a schedule that ensures the flat stays healthy and allergy free - for my sometimes horrendous hayfever)
April - Say NO to Facebook and Twitter (I do admit to a slight addiction to ye ol' Facebook and Twitter. I can get right suckered in and waste a lot of time on them, so to combat this, I will be making the weekend a facebook and twitter free time-zone, a BIG chillo from techno!)
May - Shop Locally-Dokalee (I do most of my food shopping at a supermarket, even though I have a perfectly good green grocer, butcher, and health food shop not a five minute walk from my flat. SO, instead of using the car twice a week to go get groceries (I have a teeny fridge, so can't really stock up on food), I will walk up to the grocers/butchers/health food shop, and purchase what I need for that day and the day after. It has the added bonus that the food is cheaper at these local places, AND I won't use any petrol to get there)
June - Get Creative and Make a Summer Dress (I have been wanting to have a go at making my own clothes for years, so this month will be about having a go at growing a new skill of clothes making. I have a few summer dresses in mind I would like to have a go at, will post more info closer to the month)
July - Explore and have Adventures in the Beautiful UK (You know all that money I saved with buying locally and saving petrol on not using my car as much? Well, I want to use that money to explore the UK more, so my aim will be, every weekend I go on an adventure, whether it's a day trip or a stay-overnight type of trip, exploration will be had! Any suggestions for places to put on my list?)
Aug - Get Earth Responsible (I am ashamed to say that I don't recycle at the moment, but I really wish to change this, and therefore August will be all about recycling, as much as I can; paper, bottles, food scraps, whatever I can do to cut down on my rubbish will be done)
Sep - Meditate : Ommmmm (To put me in good stead for the coming winter I want to do something I have been wanting to do for years, so I will go on a meditation/Buddhist retreat/course. Whether I have to travel and stay at a retreat or can do a course closer to home, it will be done - and then the techniques enacted at home on a daily basis!)
Oct - Be Mucho More Organised (I always, ALWAYS run out of time to make my own Christmas Presents for people, and I love to make presents, so October will be about thinking of others and what they would like and ACTUALLY getting off my butt and making, making, making)
Nov - Read ONE FICTION Book a Week (I used to be the craziest little bookworm when I was a kid, even to the point where I would be sitting down to eat dinner with the family WITH a trusty book in my hand to read whilst eating. I want to get that excitement and wonder back with reading, so this month is about reading more fiction. I haven't decided on the books yet, but will let you know soon)
Dec - Get into the SPIRIT (December is all about Christmas for me, so I am going to volunteer for a local charity or group, preferably working with children or disabled people. Though Doing Good Leeds I should be able to find an opportunity to volunteer that will suit me AND, hopefully, the group I work with)
Whew, made it to the end. I am quite proud of these resolutions (and occasional goal thrown in there), I have constructed them to expand my creativity, my focus, self discipline, and happiness. Each month I will write about how it is all going; but what about you?
WHAT ARE YOUR NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS?
DO YOU WANT TO DO A TWELVE MONTHS RESOLUTION EXPERIENCE LIKE ME?
LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS OR EMAIL ME AT - firstname.lastname@example.org AND LET ME KNOW!
(my business resolutions will be up soon)
This has been my third cold in a month .... AND it's not even winter yet!! What is going on??
I am eating right, yoga-ing, walking, meditating, focusing, socialising, balancing my life better then ever, and then
It hasn't been pretty, the pile of tissues on the floor growing higher by the day, the edges of my nostrils almost bleeding because of the dry rawness that glows a bright red, the cracked lips that come from breathing through your mouth for a week, the brain fog that slows your thinking, slows your soul. I have finally come out the other side, with a residual, partial nose block, and constant tickle that sits right there, at the pharynx, tickling away like the infernal tickle monster.
But this blog post isn't about the disgusting journey through the mucus filled adventures of one Elizabeth Wright. Nope, not at all. It is about how I, Elizabeth Wright, chose how to "breathe" through a difficult time.
(image via pinterest)
In difficult times, whether that be health, wealth, or life in general, we can often feel ourselves unravel, like a bright red thread of yarn that unwinds and unwinds and unwinds into a mass of tangle knots (those tangle knots representing our frustration, anger, and sadness, don't you know!!). This can be something as simple as the cold that I went through last week, or as catastrophic as a job loss, or a mortgage issue, or a family crisis. The tangles become so so knotted that we start to panic, becoming blind to the truth of the situation. We angst and angst, and lose sight of the end of that ball of yarn, that end becomes just another tangle and we don't see a way out.
It is at this moment that we have to make a choice.
Do I "breathe"?
Do I calm my mind and start to work through the knots a knot at a time?
Do I feed the panic?
Do I take those tangles, throw them in the air, stomp on them, smoosh them , and make them more tangled, more complicated?
As I lay in my bed on the second day of the cold, my head aching, my nose streaming, my brow firey with fever, my throat feeling like hot irons were being applied to it, I wallowed in my misery; I thought I was dying .....
Get Real!! I wasn't dying, I was simply suffering the effects of a virus that had taken hold and these effects were proof that my body was doing what it was supposed too - fighting the infection. I should have been celebrating the fact that I was having these symptoms, going 'yeah body, you rock!! With all your snot and s#@t!' So, as I lay there I took my awareness away from the misery, the boredom, and the frustration, and started to focus on the way that I was breathing.
I wasn't breathing like I normally did - through my nose, in, out, in, out. I was breathing through my mouth, and each breath in dried my lips and tongue slightly, and each breath out was warming and moist. The tickle of air on my lips was extremely noticeable, the way I had to lick my lips every second breath, and the way I had to swallow the air down every third breath. It was a miracle really! Even though I couldn't breathe through my nose like I normally did, I could still breathe, and live, and think, and survive. This cold wasn't the end of me, it was just a small facet of experience that I was having and a facet that wouldn't last very long.
I focused on my breathing and the misery, boredom, and frustration eased away, I focused on my breath and each day passed steadily, freely, each morning noticing how I was feeling better, how now I could breathe in air from my right nostril, and then the next day the left. Today I have noticed that my nose is a bit blocked again and I am breathing through my mouth again. But it just is and so I accept it.
I untangled the knots of my cold and can see the end of the yarn.
What do you have to untangle in your own life? Do you choose to untangle? Or do you choose to stay with the anger and frustration?
"Your Determination is Limitless"
- Elizabeth Wright