Every year, we get to this time and I get lost. Every year, I forget how, in between Christmas and New Year, the days drift, a week of time that just sucks us up into a nothingness space.
We indulge more than we intended, we lose time , even awareness of what day it is, as this nothing period of time goes past in a haze of food, drink, tv, online scrolling and shopping and the end result is we feel horrible. At least, I do.
All that indulgence and absence from my usual daily disciplines and routine leaves me feeling heavy, sluggish and out of control. Dazed, adrift from my moorings, from the structure around which I build my day and my life.
Its easy to lose sight of who you want to be in these nothing kinda days, to leave living as your best self to one side, push it back to New Year’s Day and the making of resolutions to get you back on track.
One of my favourite things to do in this period is beat myself up with examples of people who don’t drift into an abyss. This year it was Jennifer Aniston, who after her stellar performance in The Morning Show is back on the internet for all the right reasons this year. (and not the usual tabloid intrusion and nonsense about her personal life, her weight, whetehr she’s pregnant or getting back together with Brad.)
I read about Jennifer Aniston’s fitness regimen and was amazed at how much she does every day to maintain her peak fitness. And I thought, ‘nope, can’t do that.’ Even as I was saying to myself ‘ That’s not so much, I should be able to do that too.’
I realised that Jen’s fitness regimen sounds like a lot but it sounds that way to me because my starting point is from a place where I haven’t made fitness, exercise, even simply eating right a priority in my life. I haven’t committed to it like she obviously has.
A committed hour every day would make a difference in any aspect of life. Whether it be fitness, work, my business, imagine how much difference a committed hour to my writing every single day would make.
Its the same with any and every aspect of living your best life, commitment is required to do what’s required every day.
I always say that a life well lived is a daily practice. For me, that daily practice involves meditation, journaling, walking with my dogs, eating right, stretching my body, seeing clients, writing for my website, writing for my books, reading, doing whatever work is put in front of me.
My well lived life is fairly simple and yet, if I lived it, it would give me immense satisfaction. Doing good work, learning and sharing, entertaining and educating, living in a nice house in a beautiful place, and lots and lots of dogs, family, love.
What does your well lived life look like?
What are you doing today to bring it into being? Are you living into it as much as you are able?
It’s your daily practice that will bring it closer and I don’t think a week of getting stuck in old bad habits in this nothing week between Christmas and New Year has anything good to give those of us who want to make changes in our lives.
The choices you make every day either bring it closer or push it away. Are you doing all you can from where you are?
If getting a fit, healthy body is your goal, then every day you renew your commitment to eating right and exercising.
If improving your career is important, or finding work doing something you love, then everyday you decide to do something that brings you closer to that ideal. Whether it be studying, training, practising, and preparing to step into that role.
Maybe it’s doing more for your community or for the environment; whatever it is that is part of that well lived life that you are determined to live now, live as much of it as you can today and that way you bring the whole of it closer.
And the first part of living a well lived life is loving yourself.
Think about this. Why do we keep doing this to ourselves? Continuing down the path of over indulgence and feeling horrible afterwards? Repeatedly doing the things that we’ve said time and again that we don’t want to do? Patterns of behaviour that have been renounced many times with New Year’s Resolutions, Mid Summer Goals, New Week, New Starts – we can find a way to draw a line under that behaviour any time of the year and start afresh.
And then what do we do? Fall back into the old patterns again.
As a psychologist, therapist, neuroscientist and avid mind/body researcher I know all about how our patterns of behaviour are set, the science behind why we do what we do and I have the knowledge to invoke change too.
And yet I don’t.
I, like many of you, stay stuck, stuck in this ghastly half life, hoping for change but not making change happen. I know I want change, I need change and yet I stay here, stuck.
Because even though its uncomfortable, I know it. And I am comfortable with this discomfort simply because of its familiarity.
This is the secret to creating change in life. You must make the familiar that you want to change unfamiliar and the unfamiliar you want in life feel like an old friend you know and recognise well.
How does one do that?
There’s a reason most of us don’t make lasting changes. It takes effort, thought, and repetition. And yet its surprisingly simple.
It starts with visualisation. Holding the image in your mind of what you want and keeping that image bright, clear and unblinking in your mind’s eye every day.
Think about what you want, not what you don’t want.
And when you get the urge to take inspired action – DO IT!
You can of course get the urge for inspired action and not do it, just ignore it. That’s the second reason why we don’t get what we want, because we don’t go for it through our inspired action.
For me, right now, my goal of eating healthy food, of cutting out junk food was severely derailed over Christmas and that’s why I’m pulling myself up now. I don’t want to wait til, the 2nd or 3rd or 10 of January or never!
And I am getting the urge to go to the kitchen and make beetroot and sweet potato soup. Everything I need to make it is in the house. I know I can go to the kitchen and ignore this impulse and instead detour to the bread bin and put on a crumpet to toast or open the box of chocolates and take a few and return to my spot on the sofa having willfully ignored my better instincts.
That’s what we call self sabotage. That deliberate destruction of positive impulses to do something harmful to ourselves instead and we are all guilty of this.
What do we do then to get the changes we want to stick in our lives? We have to think ‘What do I want more?’
‘Do I want to feel like I’m taking care of myself, doing something my future self will thank me for? Or do I want to feel lazy, ugly, bloated and disappointed with myself?’
Because that’s what it comes down to, as does everything.
Do you love yourself enough to make the best choice for you, the best choice for your short and long term goals and good?
Or do you take the short term gratification that might result in a fleeting sense of pleasure but leaves a lasting taste of bitterness and dismay?
I’ve spent a lifetime struggling with committing to myself, to thinking that I am worth the effort of taking care of myself, of giving myself loving care, nurturing, nourishment and protection.
I know I’m worth it intellectually, I can tell myself this analytically but this goes way deeper than our intellect and conscious decision making. Its about how we feel and that has been set way back, back in a childhood filled with fear, pain and disappointment and that’s why its hard to overcome.
And this is why we have to renew our commitment to ourselves every goddamn day. Every single day, sometimes, on every hour, every freaking minute!
We have to say ‘I love you’ to ourselves all day long and repeat it and keep repeating it til we mean it.
We must devote our time, energy, effort to that love of ourselves. Taking care of our appearance, giving ourselves good food, watching what we eat, how much we drink, what we read, watch and absorb from the world around us.
So yes, its easy to lose ourselves in these nothing days between Christmas and New Year. We need to remember that we are our own anchor, and we choose which reality we anchor ourselves to. Its our choice, good or bad. Its always up to us. We decide.
Are these days for giving yourself something to recover from when things get back to ‘normal’ or are they for setting you up to make this New Year the best one ever?
The best one because even before it starts you’ve already committed to doing your best for yourself come what may, hell or high water?
I know what I want and I’m starting to give it to myself today. So it you want me, I’ll be in the kitchen, chopping beetroot and sweet potato.
PS. Many people work extremely hard, getting on with the life that has happened to them. They set goals. They reach those goals. They get praise. They do well and yet sometimes, despite all this, they are still unhappy.
If that’s you, then you already know you can’t do anymore and achieving more probably won’t solve the problem anyway.
How do you get past your need to keep things as they are can, even though this is blocking your happiness?
How do you stop directing your mind to creating what you don’t want and instead focus on what you do want now?
How do you feel good about life without doing more?
Change for Life, my unique HypnoTherapyCoaching programme that changes how you think at a subconscious level, deleting old programmes that cause pain and unhappiness, switching on those soul deep programmes that promise you a life filled with love and meaning.
Get more information here http://cynthiacurry.uk/change-for-life/