One year comes to an end, another one is about to start. For many it is a time to slow down, to reflect on what was and what may lie ahead, time to make New Year Resolutions. Instead of New Year Resolutions I reflect on the previous year and try to set a new intention for the upcoming year; kind of a guidance or mantra. This goes back a couple of years now.
Looking back on 2017, yes I “stayed focused and picked the good seeds”. I focused on what I wanted to achieve, wanted to change and I went for it. I tried new things, met new people, got inspired, finished what I started. It wasn`t always easy. I was often out of my comfort zone. It was a challenging, at times daunting, but a good year. How about 2018 then, how will it lead me? And do you want to join me?
I got inspired after reading the article “In the Balance” by Hillari Dowdle in the Yoga Journal. I read the magazine version but an online version can be found here.
While the article goes deep into Dharma (duty), Artha (prosperity), Kama (pleasure) and Moshka (freedom), I twisted the idea a bit to make it more approachable for day-to-day-life.
I already do a lot of reflection throughout the year, I am pretty aware of what runs well and what not. Meditation, Mindfulness, Yoga, Running, talking to others and my blogs do help me there. But something is missing! Could it be the balance of all four pillars mentioned?
At times emotions, feelings, thoughts, achievements seem to be just passing by, not really sticking. I do not give myself enough credit for what I achieve. Just quickly brush it of as if it was nothing, am barely proud of myself, of what I accomplished. But I am pretty good in dwelling too long on the negative, on things and situations that did not work out as expected. Those are the situations that do stick to me! And I am sure this sounds familiar to some of you!
But where does all that leave me on my intention setting for the coming year? It will be “fine-tuning”, taking guidance from the mentioned article and the section about “Fine-tune your life” part by Sally Kempton.
I will go deeper into “the four pillars of a more fulfilling life”. What do you say, want to join me? Then come and use the coming year to make time to regularly reflect on:
What did you do in regards to any duties you have towards others but as well towards yourself?
- Prosperity, Meaning, Purpose
What did you do for yourself, your livelihood, your health?
- Pleasure, Desire, Wish
What did you do for creating more joy in your life, your pleasures, desires, your longing?
Did you feel burdened or constricted in your life? The article goes more into taking time for spirituality (Meditation, Mindfulness, Yoga, Praying, etc) but this could be optional if that is not for you.
After reflecting on all the areas you will have a better feeling and insight what areas were strong, which were not given any or limited attention. Using this insight it is time to create a statement for yourself, for example:
“This week I worked hard to meet my obligations to achieve XYZ but I felt burdened because of XYZ. I took the most pleasure from XYZ but I did not find time to just take time for myself.”
Based on that statement you will have a good sense on where you stand right there in that moment. It gives you a good idea if and where to fine-tune and readjust. Then use this awareness to set a new intention, for the week(s) to come. Writing your new intention down will help to stay aware and focused!
For me this sounds like a good, practical outlook to become even more connected and aware of what goes well and what not. It should support me in taking action more easily, allow me to acknowledge my achievement and to increase my awareness on some pitfalls and especially negative thought patterns!
Fine-tuning life, I kind of like this idea, you too?!
Just a final note on this: The article states it should be a weekly ritual. That again puts me a bit under pressure and will be too much of a New Year Resolution I see myself failing in already. But I will keep the questions close to me, and incorporate into my meditation or reflection as often as I can!
Going further, I can see myself visualising the four pillars in colours, from bright and colourful to dark and dull depending on where I find myself in that moment. Years back I referred to a New Year as a new book, where the pages of the New Year are plain and white, waiting to be filled with colours. After all life is never just black and white!
Make sure to make the pages of your life as bright and colourful as you can!
This leads me to the end of my end of the year blog, the last blog for 2017. Thank you for reading, for being part of my life!
I wish you and your families a lovely ending of 2017,
and may 2018 be a joyful, colourful, peaceful, happy & healthy year!