So, it’s that time of year again. The time when we try not to reflect too much on the past 12 months, for it feels a little uncomfortable. “Where did the time go?”…a feigned excuse for not having achieved last January’s New Year’s resolutions; and to mask the nagging feeling that we have, yet again, let ourselves down in some way.
I want to suggest something different this New Year. No more New Year’s Resolutions. Ever. Instead, just a decision to live our best possible life at all times, however it presents; to add to our lives…deeply wonderful moments, yes, but also gestures of kindness and self-compassion. For we can forget to give ourselves this. Resolutions, by their very nature, are acts to resolve an issue or problem. How depressing to enter the crisp newness January brings, lugging a heap of problems! For if they were not solved before, without a re-alignment of values within, they are not likely to be solved now, just because our calendar presents a new date. A change of belief is the only thing which can change our behaviour, yet often our most inspired beliefs can be rendered incapacitated by an equally strong opposing one. To allow our desired habits to emerge, we have to first resolve the inner conflict. Anything else is to set ourselves up for failure, and to beat ourselves up on the way.
An alternative, is to instead compile a bucket list. Perhaps you already have one, and it just needs updating? It may seem a tad morbid, but the closing days of the year are a perfect time to not only reflect on how fortunate we are, but also to tap into those uncovered desires and wishes we all have. For 2015 could very well be the last year of our life…indeed by the law of averages, it will be for some. What is the point in waiting to live our ideal life? And if we are on-track with our desires, time given for reflection is always valuable, for the more we prod, the more will reveal itself to us.
The trick with one’s bucket list is to be realistic, and by this I mean, be truthful. If we really were told we had 6 to 12 months to live, what changes would we make? Despite the stories we may tell ourselves, we are unlikely to pick up the family and decamp to a desert island beach, or hit the high-life and party our days away. We might however chose to spend more time with our children, or to visit a country we always felt drawn to but kept putting off for another day, to climb a great mountain, or to pick up a pen and write that book. Perhaps we would need to tell someone special how much they mean to us, that we love them. We would probably allow ourselves more fun, and take time to savour the flavours of this life and to appreciate our bodies. We would notice things for the first time, knowing it might be the last time.
We will each have unique wishes, but the funny thing about bucket lists is, in compiling them, we realise how little we need to be happy, and how much we get in our own way of what we deeply wish for.
I urge you to try it. Whether we tick one thing off our list in 2015 or many, this time next year we can know we lived our highest possibilities, that we did the best we could for ourselves, and that we added deep value to our experience of this life. And when we live in accordance with our inner alignment, strange things can happen, as those demons we battled as New Year’s Resolutions fall away in both significance and impact. By adding pleasure to our life, we add wellness. And by being authentic to our true desires – and not what we should do – we create our ideal life.