2017 is 10 days away!
It’s December and the holidays are here. It’s also the end of the year, and with that, there’s a celebration of sorts. That we are done with one year and that we start afresh. It’s a clean slate. It’s exciting and mildly daunting. With wanting to look ahead and set a tone, it is inevitable to not look back at the past year.
There’s a whole matrix of stuff that we think we did not do right and what went right and what empowered us and what broke us and what we are not capable of and where we surprised us. It’s one big pile of things and over a period of time. If we had the wisdom and the patience to learn and understand, we will need to disentangle the threads of the past, to lay them bare and look at them, observe them and our actions against them to judge how they fit into our lives.
Then again, it’s in the past. No point brooding over it. Letting it run at the back of my mind has helped me align where I take off when January rolls around.
A few simple but open-ended thoughts that I have worked on over the past few years have let me look just a little deeper into what it is that I want from the next 365 days (and 2017 in this case), where do I see myself and what I want to change. It’s mindfulness, in practice.
Focusing and making every action exaggerated and conscious has been my way of ensuring that the path to where I want to go is set, clear and defined.
Here is what works for me, maybe it will for you too.
What is the word or phrase that can define your focus in 2017?
For the past two years, mine’s been “FITNESS”. The word generally conjures up images of gym and buff bodies and marathoners, and I’ll admit mine started with wanting to improve my physical fitness but I quickly realized that it can be applied to other parts. I meditated, worked on relationships, my own sense of getting stronger in mind, body and soul. Looking back, it’s worked great for me. I’ve grown the most qualitatively the last few years and I have this conscious focus to be thankful for.
Your focus word will take a while to get to. It may not even pop right up to you, and that’s okay. What could probably work is to reverse engineer your way back to this, so you have all parts of the puzzle clear. It’s all about COMFORT Zones.
1.How do you physically want to step outside your comfort zone in 2017?
Write as many as you want down. It can vary from fitness regimens to being able to bungee jump. It could be a long term change or it could be a short term goal. It doesn’t matter, but think of how you want to improve on your It’s your body that you want to push and achieve. List them out. We can refine later, for now, start jotting them down.
A couple of years ago, I wanted to participate in a mid-December cycling event. 40 miles in temps that touched below 20-degree weather. I did it. It was not as brutal as I imagined because I trained for it. It felt very good.
2.How do you want to improve your mind in 2017?
When I say “mind” I mean the intellect. The growth of our faculties with knowledge and skill. The purpose of life is to grow. Once you stop growing, death happens. The way to ensure we continuously grow is to always keep our mind open to learning. There is *always* something to learn out there. Want to get ahead at work? How about a hobby? Or perhaps you want to improve a relationship and want to understand their work better? Maybe there’s a childhood interest that you never quite broke into?
In what ways do you want to be a more educated, knowledgeable person by the end of the year? Write them all down.
3.How do you want to improve your soul in 2017?
More simply put, how do you want to be a better person? Our world is constantly changing. The machinations, victories, and interactions are constantly challenging our sanity. There is a fair amount of unrest and disconnect, and the only sure way of being at peace is when you work on yourself. We can’t control our environment as much as we can control our own mind.
Write down a few things that you may feel lacking in the scurry of our 24/7 lifestyles. Find a cause. Find your passion in giving back. Try broadening your own depth of understanding by opening up to new experiences.
Yoga has worked wonders for me, as much as meditation that brought in mindfulness. They both have in effect helped me in the rest of me. My body, my mind and my relationships.
4.What relationships do you want to improve (or build) on in 2017?
Relationships go through plenty phases and depending on our individual state of mind, what we bring to the table may vary at different times. However, strengthening your own stand and what you bring in can go a long way in grounding the bond that you share. The small things matter, the mindfulness in your small acts matter. It’s being aware of what causes the ripples, or what can be avoided to bring truce or even the simplest of gestures can bring positivity in. Not all relationships that we have can possibly be worthy of such deep attention. It is not practical. HOWEVER, what I learned is when you make an effort to fix a couple of ones that mean a lot to you, the changes that you go through in your head and mind slowly become a part of you so much so that it reflects your attitude with the rest.
So write down a few relationships in your life that could use some calm, a little strength and less turmoil and even perhaps more joy. Not all are worth saving, but raising the bar on all gives you lesser regrets on your death bed.
It’s Worth It
These require some pondering, and you may even want to scratch and change under each category the more you let it sink in and sleep over it. All that is perfectly a-okay! I usually allow a week. I pick up my journal and read the same set every day, and I have removed and added as I felt the need. Nothing is set in stone. After a week, during that period between Christmas and New Year, I sit down to be firm.
I’ll have part 2, next Monday.
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