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Positive Changes with Columnist Joanne Callan

Why do New Year Resolutions rarely work?
The answer is simple; it’s mainly because we don’t expect them to.

Henry Ford is quoted as having said “whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you are probably right.”
We also start them at a time of year when it is particularly difficult to focus on anything new, we are in the darkest time of year, the chaos of Christmas and the couple of months beforehand are still very much alive, we can be tired, vulnerable and in hibernation mode. Many of us can relate to year-in and year-out making the same resolutions and by the end of January they are all a distant memory and subconsciously we feel like we have failed again. However, change is always possible, and having things to motivate us is really important. We need to do it in the right way and for the right reasons.

How do we make changes this year so we can achieve the things we want to, and feel the way we want to?
I personally begin to envision and focus on the year ahead at the start of February, or at least after the Lunar New Year also known as Chinese New Year. Imbolc /St Brigid’s Day have always felt significant for me. For ancient Celts this marked the beginning of Spring although interesting it is believed that for them New Year began at Samhain (Halloween). Snow drops are starting to appear and nature is beginning to emerge after all the work that has been done beneath the surface over winter.

I like to focus on a vision for the year, by creating a vision board, this helps me to get clear on what my intentions are and on how I want to feel. I also focus on few specific goals; this helps balance the yin and yang energies within me. A lovely activity to do with children is to get them to choose their word for the year and create a vision board as family included pictures and words that are important to you all.

Here are some other tips:

• Set goals, instead of resolutions – then create a step-by-step plan to achieve your goal.
• Include some intentions. My intention this year is to have more fun.
• Make them fun, enjoyable and rewarding. • Remove the word “try”, sounds simple however it is powerful. By saying “I am going to be healthier” rather than “I am going to try to be healthier” you are making a commitment to yourself. Try gives us permission not to succeed. As Yoda said: “Do or do not, there is no try”
• Focus on what you do want, rather than what you don’t want.
• Do it because you “want” to, not because you “have” to.
• Get support from people who will encourage and motivate you.
• Spend time focusing on the feeling. How will you feel when you achieve your goal? Use as much description as possible, and focus on the positive feelings.
• Think about getting the support of a life coach.
• Read some personal development books around goal setting and how to make it work for you.
• Make your goals specific and achievable/ believable, they can always evolve and change as you do.
• Set yourself up for success, so be realistic.
• Connect with your ‘why’.
• Remember feelings are our best motivator.

Here are some examples that might be helpful:
“When I walk three times I week, I will feel proud of myself for prioritising the time to support my health I will feel fitter and more mobile. My physical and mental health will improve.”

“When I prioritise the quality of my sleep it will make a difference to my energy levels and my emotional wellbeing.”

“When I reduce my screen time, I will have more time to read the books that I want
to read and communicate with the people around me. “

Another thing can be to focus on less ‘doing’ and more ‘being’. Resting is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves so maybe this year instead of focusing on what more you can do, see if you can aim to do less, to slow down, to increase quality time with the people you love (including you) with this in mind you might want to have a look at Changing Cycles Community Interest Company and the Moon Lodge Retreat Days they have coming up. These are the perfect opportunity to go at your slow down, rest and move at your own pace.

Joanne Callan is a Holistic Therapist, Relax Kids coach and founder of Changing Cycles Social Enterprise. She is passionate about educating, supporting and empowering people to be the healthiest that they can be.

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