January is the classic and traditional time of year for starting afresh, beginning with great intentions and striving for a great year ahead. You write a list of goals, set new year resolutions, jump into Dry January or Veganuary or a gym membership with heady, healthy enthusiasm. And then how many weeks later do they become a faint memory, a forgotten ideal or worse still a frustrating inner annoyance with yourself that once again you failed to sustain a new habit or meet a goal?
I hate and love January in equal measure.
I dislike the dark mornings and lack of sunshine, the chilly, damp air and the weight of expectation that just because it’s January radical shifts will happen and change will be sustained for the year forthcoming. I love it because it calls and invites me inside, to cocoon myself and refuel my body as needed. I love how it is a window to say goodbye to the previous year and actively let go of things that no longer serve me. I love the wonder that rises within me for what the year ahead will bring.
And this is what I’ve learned over many years – to let January serve me however my body feels it needs to. It needs something different each year, and I’m ok with that. I no longer go along with what others are doing (in January or any other time of the year), unless it feels good and right for me. And this, I’ve discovered, is the magic ingredient to creating a better life (and how your new year resolutions will actually be sustained). When you set an intention based on how you want to feel, that feels good and right for you, you will do that thing.
It’s not about getting your head on board, it’s about aligning your whole essence, your entire mind, body and soul behind something that feels right for you.
Back in August I joined a gorgeous local gym and spa. The whole place felt really special. I felt like a Princess, quite decadent, walking out of the building having signed up. And with over-excitability I boldly remember telling my partner what I’d done and how I was going to go there every weekday in order to finally lose some weight. His response struck me so much I’m recalling it vividly for you. He gently said, ‘I thought you didn’t set goals anymore, my love? What I’d love for you is to do what you tell your coaching clients, and go there with the sole intent of enjoying yourself. Do it because you love it, not because of a goal you set.’ Woah! I was receiving a dose of my own wisdom and medicine. Suddenly, as I absorbed his words, the whole feeling about my gym membership took on a totally different experience. It resonated with my heart and soul. Not only did the venue make me feel good, I immediately took the pressure off myself to reach targets or lose weight which felt even better. I promised myself to intentionally go and enjoy myself every time I went. Now that felt amazing!
Six months later, hand on heart, (with the exception of Christmas week!) I am a regular gym-goer. More importantly, I feel strong, fit, leaner and more glowy and energised. I’ve stuck to it because I feel good about the whole experience. I’ve even pushed myself and tried new classes which I never thought I’d like or be able to do which have boosted my confidence, as well as fitness. I even quite like (sadistic, I know) the DOMS after a new class or killer workout because I feel good about myself inside. I have no idea how much I weigh, and frankly don’t care. I feel great and my regular joy-filled gym-going is a key reason. If I’d stuck with my initial plan with a 5-day-a-week and weightloss targets, I bet I’d be feeling disappointed, pressurized, maybe frustrated too, which is a far cry from the inner joy I actually feel.
So, lovely one, those new year goals or resolutions you set, please review them and see how they truly sit in your heart. If they don’t feel good, switch things around so they do, or maybe even ditch them altogether and do things that light you up instead. Follow the joy and I know 2022 will be one of the best years you’ve ever had.
With love, Jo x
p.s. Of course, if you’d like to see how we can work together to improve your life, and make it more joyful, you can book a free Discovery Call here and we can talk more.