4 New Year Resolutions for 2016
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
4 New Year Resolutions for 2016Charlotte Watts runs down four key resolutions for the coming year
Hello again, last year on Heal Your Life, I shared my 3 New Year Resolutions for 2015 – to do less thinking, future planning and filling spaces. Just reading that back has given me a chance to look back over the year and muse on how those changes took shape and what that means, not just for next year, but for how I want to live the rest of my life.
I turned 45 this year and although I’ve never been concerned with getting older, I must admit that this number is an interesting one. Half of 90, statistically start of perimenopause and, with 50 on the horizon, there is definitely pause for thought. From a young age, I really wanted to be older and wiser so have enjoyed the process of feeling happier in my own skin as the years passed. This number seems a benchmark to truly moving away from the instant gratification and comparison that seemed to dominate my youth.
Charlotte doing yoga, September 2015
Ever since I’ve turned 40, I’ve been gauging how I live my life daily towards ‘what kind of older person do I want to be?’ I’m not putting myself out to pasture by any stretch, just taking stock of what’s important to me and what I can let go of. I’ve been lucky enough to spend time around some truly inspirational older women and men whose easy attitude, fun, curiosity and explorative spirits have provided great clarity into what is important and how to live by our own true values.
So this year I have been meditating and teaching on true nature or essence nature – however we phrase it – that deep part of us that is always there beneath the chatter and all those ways we identify ourselves by our egos. This quality (particularly of interest in Zen and Tantra) is where we join, rather than separate ourselves out from nature and the universe. Hence it is ‘true’ – quantum physics has shown that nothing is separate – and we can put a lot of energy into maintaining the illusion of detachment.
So much of being able to really listen to our true selves is about getting all the other stuff out of the way. That’s not to push it away, or deem thinking or planning to be bad, but to notice when we’re living up in the chatter, in all those ways we identify ourselves (‘I am….’) and keep that inner dialogue going. I’ve always practiced yoga as embodiment to help drop back into my whole being, rather than being thought-driven dominant, but it’s the time in life to seep that out into more areas.
So I have four resolutions this year, but that doesn’t make it more than last year. All that less doing is feeding in to just letting life unfold in a way that makes moment-to-moment experience and mindfulness simply happen naturally; because it’s not going against the grain or being forced. These are only resolutions in the sense that I’m sticking a flag in the ground by writing this down for you. It’s all ongoing stuff, but it incredibly useful to note the paths we’re on and check that what matters to us is symbiotic with our values, which will improve our quality of life.
1. Listen and respond to overstimulation – I am an introvert by nature and, as such, am prone to overstimulation. As I also have a history of trauma, my sensitivity calibration to too much of anything is pretty finely tuned. Add a tendency to overdo into the mix and you can see that I might push this envelope, and therefore myself, over the edge a little too often. I’ve finally had enough of this and this year with the help of some trauma work (Somatic Experiencing) have become more aware of where the edge lies and to notice it before I get there, rather than seeing it in the rear view mirror and having another, ‘Oops, I did it again’ moment, in the words of Britney Spears.
For me, overstimulation comes with tightness around the back of the skull, even before agitation is felt around the shoulders and jaw. At that point, it is crucial to simply walk away. That’s happened a few times writing this and I’ve just gone into the kitchen and sorted something or tidied a bit; anything to switch tasks and do something that’s not head-based.
2. Work less and only do what I enjoy – So that brings me to a natural conclusion that I need to work less. This has been in beta-testing since September this year and some issues have come up. I actually worked a whole lot less over the summer holidays with my daughter, because I had to. In previous years I’ve run myself ragged trying to look after her and keep up my usual workload. This year we had real, quality time without a stressed mummy and my world did not collapse – good to know.
I found I liked working less and this followed into the new school term. However, I have struggled to find the balance between constructive free time and actually getting stuff done. I’m basically bringing years of tiredness with me from running my own business and being a single mum. Slowing down means my body says ‘hurrah!’, and simply wants me to rest. I’m getting the basics done but find I’m left with little motivation to do much more.
So the working less needs to continue as I’m finally getting the message that I say to clients (boy, we teach what we need!) but I need to create more clear boundaries and working times for myself. Definitely a work in progress this one, I’ll get back to you next year….
3. Get out into nature more – This is what I need to fill the gaps with. Rather than properly relaxing, I’ve been collapsing; lurching from the highs to the lows, rather than dropping into a middle path kind of groove. Getting out into nature and walking is the antidote to hours on a computer. I live near the Sussex Downs in southern England and it’s really beautiful and naturally rejuvenating just to get out into those hills.
When we’re out in the natural world, we find that tapping into our true nature can simply flood in, as we’re connected with the bigger picture in the views, the smells and the sounds we encounter – the whole sensory experience. If there’s one thing that can help me settle into living life in the flow, with easy fun and contentment and being guided by what’s really important – this one is it.
4. Have more fun and take more holidays – So that’s leads me neatly here – less work, more fun makes 2016 a year with more joy, less struggle, more peace and less anxiety. Those are the ambitions that I feel will take me fabulously and gracefully into the rest of my life!
Happy New Year x