It is not by chance that things happen in our life. What we see in our life today is the result of thoughts and actions that we put in motion a year, ten years, even twenty or more years ago. – Karen Berg
I’ve been in the new year swing of things for weeks already. Every day my head spins with ideas and my heart is full of resolutions: to take a stand in life that is bolder than ever. To go after the unimaginable, while being firmly grounded in the here and now. To trust that broken pieces will eventually fall into place, and that new pieces will manifest when I’m ready. Life may be unpredictable, but it also finds a way to bring destiny to our doorsteps, provided we do our part to make things happen.
The new year has always been a special time for me to recommit to resolutions once made, to mull over new ways to establish the person I want to be and connect with who I already am. I love the first and last days of the year. There’s a special energy around that countless people are tapping into–an imaginary wind that sweeps us off our feet, high up to a point where we can see the whole of life and its possibilities from a bird’s eye view.
These are days I make a deeper-than-usual connection with who I am. I dust off old dreams, neglected perhaps but not forgotten, and remind myself of what really matters. I ask, what do I want to bring to the foreground of my life. What do I need to change?
Not long ago, a wise friend told me that the purpose of life is not to learn but to remember who we are. Our work, he said, is to become aware of what is already here and has always been available. We simply need to connect.This is a helpful perspective. My dreams can come true, but I don’t need to chase after them. Instead, I have only to unravel the tangled strands of thought and behavior that prevent me from seeing those dreams. I must change habits that distract, as well as attitudes and beliefs that are keeping me “small” and may unconsciously be sabotaging my projects. “How am I standing in my own way?” becomes the question rather than, “What do I want”?
When we seek to achieve, changing how we look at or respond to a situation can often bring results beyond our expectations. We may pull off something we previously believed was impossible. If you want to write a book, for instance, writing a little bit every day is a better strategy than talking about your ambitions over drinks with friends or beating yourself up for not finding the time or inspiration.
The layers we must unravel are made up of habit, attitude and belief. Writing every day (habit), being confident about your skills and talent (belief) and making writing a priority (attitude) will bring you closer to your dream of being a published author. My friend would tell you that your book is actually already there. By “being” with your book every day in the act of writing, you are allowing it to slowly come into existence, word by word, one page at a time.
Research has shown that traditional resolutions tend to fail because they are not creative (read: boring) and over-focused on shortcomings. I tend to agree. I like to organize the changes I am after under themes. It helps me create context and focus for what I want to achieve. Under the umbrella of a theme, I can define vision (the bigger picture), identify obstacles (the layers: habits, believes, etc), decide on action (a change in habit, a different attitude). I can be really creative, include any idea, even the crazy ones. Some 2014 themes I have come up with so far are ‘simplify’, ‘peace’, ‘connect’, ‘speak up’ and ‘believe in magic’.
I realize I won’t succeed in all areas in one year (or ever). But the goal is not to achieve a perfect score. The purpose of my New Year intentions is to infuse life with fresh energy. To awaken dormant tools and stay engaged with all that life has to offer and all I have to offer to life. My themes are uniquely mine. What are yours? What will help you unravel the layers that are in between you and your dreams?
Jacinta Hin was born in the Netherlands and has been living in Tokyo, Japan, since 1989. Her professional background is in human resources, career management and coaching. She is passionate about helping people, herself included, discover new perspectives of possibility, move to embracing and working with their transitions, and designing and realizing changes aligned with who they truly are and what they truly want from their lives.