It is all too easy to make ambitious plans for the New Year…

You are with friends … you make promises in the moment …..

The Editorial in this morning’s NZ Herald has a number of suggestions from different “experts” about ‘keeping it simple’: clearing out clutter, managing finances and attending to our relationships by being mindful.

The problem with ‘keeping it simple’ is that simple doesn’t mean easy.

Being mindful in our relationships, for example, has got to be one of the most difficult things to achieve. Why? Because we learnt about how to be in relationship ‘at our mother’s knee’ – literally. Our relationship profile is mostly unconscious as it was learnt when we were infants.

The research is clear that most New Year Resolutions are dropped within a few weeks.

 Its interesting to read the research as to why that might be. Most resolutions are part of cultural expectations – be thinner, fitter, make more money etc. They are external to our own sense of self and therefore it is hard to stay motivated.

This year my partner Terence and I tried something different.

First of all, we spent time thinking about 2019, not in terms of the external achievements, but more about our intrinsic, internal successes:

What I learnt about myself

the insights I had during the year

the changes I made in my attitudes and behaviour,

what I brought to my work that was empowering to the people I worked with

the ways in which I had touched people’s lives.

Celebrating our successes allows them to become the springboard for our next steps.

What are you proud of this last year in terms of inner growth?

What values have you lived by that have been nourishing to you and others?

Looking ahead to 2020, again we wanted to focus on what qualities we can develop inside ourselves.

I held a question in my mind: what quality would support me personally in my work this coming year?

and chose a Virtues card.

I chose Fortitude

It never ceases to amaze me how the chosen card is so very appropriate.

The most important things I got from this card, Fortitude, were:

“Fortitude is the will to endure no matter what happens, with courage, confidence and patience … It springs from devotion to a purpose we believe to be real and important. It keeps us going. Our fortitude can astonish us.”

Like many people I have held myself back from shining my light too brightly. It is time for me to wholeheartedly focus on my work with women in the coming year. (I will write more about this in my next blog post.)

I am emboldened by Brené Brown

Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

And, I am reminded of the wonderful quote of Katherine Mansfield – New Zealand literary icon:

Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinions of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.

So 2020 is going to be my best year yet!

May 2020 be your best year yet too!

Arohanui

Jacquie

Geranium – watercolour by Jacquie