A catalyst for change and transformation
I'm not one for resolutions, so a couple of years ago when I came across the practice of choosing one word for the coming year as a focus, a theme, catalyst to help bring about transformation I was surprised how the idea appealed to me. Change is the driver of most of our failed resolutions so why did choosing one word resonate with me and seem to offer the possibility of success?
It was choosing a word, not a list of desires. One word as an every day reminder of an intention, made at the beginning of a new year, to take positive steps towards change. A word to help define how you move towards who you want to be, what you want to achieve, how you want to live.
There’s plenty advice out there about choosing your word should you like the idea but how do you put it into action?
As 2015 was drawing to an end I was reflecting back over the year. I was at a point in my life where things were going wrong. I had become complacent and neglected my business, it wasn’t in a good financial state. I was in a battle with a developer about damage to my home, add the end of a long term relationship, I felt stuck, trapped by circumstances and had no vision of better times ahead.
The one word theme struck me like lightning. Don’t focus on those things gone wrong, don’t try to put them right. How can you move forward, add, enhance, grow personally and professionally? What one word sums up what you feel needs to happen to change, bearing in mind the things you have no influence over? Presto my 2016 word came to mind - Expand.
A definition of Expand “ to increase in size, number, or importance” and synonyms: develop, supplement, enlarge on, add detail, flesh out. Also the words I used to describe what needed to happen for me to change: grow, add, enhance - expand was my word.
So there was my theme, my focus, a way to break out of the box of restrictive circumstances and thinking. Throughout the year I would look at situations, experiences, challenges, problems from the lens of that word - Expand. I made an effort to build new friendships and business relationships, grew my private client base, increased my yoga retreat business. I also focused my own self development and furthered my studies in mind body practices. I fed my passion for travel, other cultures, nature - to coin a phrase “ I expanded my horizons “
I actually expanded more than I could possibly imagine, beyond Gail Smith Yoga and took the first steps towards creating my wellness business, Wellness WorkSpace. An idea hatched from an opportunity I had been given by a client, one of the new relationships I had forged, to talk to her management team about mind-body wellness. By the end of 2016 Wellness WorkSpace started to take shape just in time for my 2017 word - Nurture.
In deciding Nurture I asked myself - what word was now appropriate to both my personal and business circumstances? I had worked extremely hard during 2016 to expand. I realised that to continue at such a pace could cost my health, affect relationships and my business. I also had a new hatchling Wellness WorkSpace. So my word Nurture seemed a right choice. A definition “ to care for and protect (someone or something) while they are growing” and synonyms: take care of, attend to, look after, support, tend, cultivation, advancement….
Throughout 2017 Nurture was there in the background. I still worked hard but this time it was in a nurturing way. I spent much more time with my family. I now have a very small, close circle of real friends. My travels and education continued. My yoga business flourished. At the beginning of the year my idea for Wellness WorkSpace gained me a place on a business accelerator programme and Wellness WorkSpace became a company in June.
So as 2017 is nearing a close I already have my word for 2018. This word has been shouting out to me for several months. It makes me smile when people say it or I come across it when reading etc
A definition of my word “unspecified qualities of a promising nature” “ a thing that may be chosen or done out of several possible alternatives”. Related words - chances, likelihood, prospect, hope, choice, achievability, alternative, solution, course of action.
The last two years I have expanded, broken free of the box. I've built new and hopefully strong foundations. Nurtured those foundations, those seeds of change, in an effort to create a new way of living and working that will keep evolving, changing, growing.
In using the one word theme I’ve realised limitations live only in our minds. Believe in yourself, have hope, understand there are always choices, chances, alternatives, solutions - all synonyms of my 2018 word - Possibilities
I've never been a great one to make resolutions perhaps because I always feel a failure when just weeks after setting them they end up being broken or unaccomplished. If you really want to set some resolutions as we approach 2018 here are some tips that may help you see them though to a positive conclusion.
1. It’s my belief that Resolutions are doomed to failure when based around denying yourself something and using the word STOP..... I am going to stop smoking, drinking alcohol, eating chocolate …….
Tip : Set a resolution for a shorter period than STOP, give yourself a time frame to carry out the resolution, remove the statement of denial and replace it with a positive intention
“For the month of January I will be a non smoker, alcohol free, replace chocolate with……”
Why? Shorter goals are more achievable, there's no outright denial of something you like but feel harms you. At the end of your given period and you've succeeded, you then have a choice, to continue for another period or pat yourself on the back for achieving your Resolution!
2. Some Resolutions are based around fixing a problem we want to solve but we try to solve it with the same solution that failed previously.... I am going back to the gym to get fit. I am going to start my diet again to loose weight ……
Tip : Fix the problem with a different solution! Find another way to tackle the issue, something you are interested in doing and that suits your needs.
Don’t really like the gym? Go swimming, running or something else you like to do.
Can't afford membership fees? Walk, run or do something at home.
Too busy to get to the gym/class? Take up a sport or activity which fits in with the time you have spare.
Why diet again? If you want to loose weight think of a change that moves towards a healthier lifestyle rather than a period of denial by dieting. Buy a healthy cookery book or go on a cookery course. View it as an ongoing process to learn new ways of eating and cooking.
3. Why focus only on putting right the wrongs?
Tip: Think of Resolutions as opportunities to try new things
This year I will learn a language, play an instrument, travel to…, volunteer to help out with….. No denial there just the sweet promise of the possibilities of a new experience.
4. If you really, really want to make resolutions make them 24 times next year by following the new and full moon cycles!
Tip: The new moon is seen as a time for new beginnings, the full moon a time to take stock, review, evaluate, let go.
Each new moon make an intention/goal/resolution that seems appropriate to your needs at that present moment. Then each full moon take stock of where you are, review and let go of what no longer serves you. This can help you attune to and fine tune what is happening in your life through a continuous process of change and evolution.
Happy New Year!
There is something about the dynamic relationship between strength and stability, openness and grounding, moments of stillness and at the same time feeling the vibration of pure energy course through me as I extend into half moon, that captivates me and makes this balancing pose one I come to on a regular basis.
My moods can pull me to practice this pose whether it’s to use the focus and attention the pose requires to calm a chatting mind or to feel strong and steady when mentally I’m wobbling or the opposite - to expand with confidence in all directions because I just can! Then there’s the times when my physical energy levels seek this pose. I’m full of energy and need to channel it to come to stillness or the opposite I need a boost to feel alive, vibrant. There are many poses we can turn to, to help respond to the constant changes taking place within and without. For me to practice half moon and find the state of balance regardless of conditions and inclusive of all circumstances is powerful just like our moon.
"The moon does not fight. It attacks no one. It does not worry. It does not try to crush others. It keeps to its course, but by its very nature, it gently influences. What other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore? The moon is faithful to its nature and its power is never diminished."