Usually, at the start of January, the focus is on a fresh start, a ‘new you’ for the New Year. But as we continue to endure the Covid 19 crisis and another lockdown, for me, it’s a time for resolve, not resolutions. Once again we have to look within and dig deep.
Gratitude is the great antidote for weighty emotions such as worry, frustration, stress and overwhelm. Take a moment to ask yourself – what are you grateful for in your life right now? We often take so much for granted. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes observing your life from the outside. What would they notice that is working well for you? A personal favourite gratitude question is – what can I savour even more?
In a normal January, my flagship workshop SOAR would be taking place. At this event, we always open with a segment on gratitude because appreciation is a key ingredient in the recipe of fulfilment.
To get serious about shifting your mood dial in the direction of gratitude in 2021, how about making a commitment to yourself that for the month of January you will write a list of 5 things you are thankful for every day. By the end of the month, you’ll have a lengthy list. When I do this, on those days when I’m feeling low, I’ll glance through what I’ve written and it never fails to boost my spirits.
It’s so easy to be sedentary during the winter months. This January hook up to your favourite music or podcast and get your legs moving and your heart pumping. I aim for a 40-minute walk 3 days a week (within the recommended limits of course!) Nowadays there are so many free exercise resources online. I’ve been doing yoga most mornings by tuning into a class on YouTube. For me, exercise deepens my breathing and oxygenates the blood, which along with endorphins gives me that feel good factor. I also practice the Wim Hof breathing technique as a great energiser. Just put his name into a search engine to find out more.
A dear friend shared this video with me recently and it really struck a chord.
Taking down the Christmas decorations is my prompt for a broader tidy up and re-organising. What can you recycle, upcycle, sell or simply bin? Channel your inner Marie Kondo and have a good clear out. Sometimes we have to make space for new things to enter our lives!
I know I can spend a little too much time aimlessly browsing online. I try to drift towards uplifting and educational resources. The last twelve months has seen a real surge in online workshops and courses. You will always find something fascinating on Ted Talks. There is a range of online workshops on Tilleo including my own two-hour workshop on Confidence (full disclosure.) Masterclass, contains many excellent talks and workshops from global leaders and icons in their fields, from Margaret Attwood to Anna Wintour, Jeff Koons and Martin Scorsese.
There’s a brutal truth that so many people struggle to accept: you have no control over many of the things that happen in your life. 2020 certainly proved that to me! When we resist this fact we can become control freaks and micromanagers. We think that if we can gain enough control over situations we can prevent bad things from happening to us and will therefore feel safe. It’s a human response, but it doesn’t work.
When you find yourself feeling unsafe and worrying (and with Covid 19 I know I’m doing this fairly frequently) take a minute to examine the things you have control over. You can’t prevent a storm from coming, but you can prepare for it. You can’t control how someone else behaves, but you can control how you respond to them. Sometimes, all you can control is your intention and the effort you put into something.
When we play the worry movie titled ‘This bad thing might happen to me’ ask yourself what can I do about it now? If the answer is nothing, all you can do is love that part of you that is feeling worried.
So, this January forget the resolutions and the goal-setting. For now, be gentle with yourself. We always do our best, but it’s so important to remember that what constitutes our best will fluctuate daily.
If you like to listen to podcasts then make sure to check out my Resolve, not resolutions episode of my podcast Your Time With James Sweetman and for some self-care tips to use as we continue to dig deep in 2021 read my article Self-Care – 5 ways to take better care of you.