As we approach the new year we acknowledge a time for change and commitment to goals. In doing so I begin to think about the preparation involved in yielding success as well as a healthy balanced daily life. In most cases success isn’t something grand happening everyday. More reasonably it is an ebb and flow rather than a consistent repetition of outward proof or accomplishment.
The plague of questioning ourselves at every turn challenges progress and gives power to nuisances like impostor syndrome or a lack of productivity. Similarly, I have been consciously considering how to actively and consistently feed the progress of a new or enhanced life. Gaining from past experiences and recognizing negative behaviors and patterns in our lives especially when masked by new circumstances is critical for our self awareness. This will assist in prioritizing actions for being our best selves. The more we acknowledge complacency or old positivity that is lacking the more we are feeding the past or attempting to coddle ourselves in our comfort zone. Without inward or outward blame realizing these changes and making adjustments towards your new fulfillment is key, but how? In preparation for a successful start and finish to the new year here are some things to consider.
1.) Setting incremental goals
A lot of times we hear people telling us to “jump” or make these big faith-based changes. While this approach has its place in some capacities it can be impractical for many people to do all at once in a big grand gesture when changing their lives. However, making small commitments to change and sticking to them can add up as well without jeopardizing your current well-being. Chipping away at actions large and small day by day or changing our surroundings and the company we keep can suffice. One simple practice to try is using your personal calendar daily and planning your personal time for the week in advance with the core tasks scheduled as an outline. This way even if you postpone something it can be done consciously by actively rescheduling it.
Making incremental changes will lots of times be invisible to people around you or even unwelcome when not accompanied by a fuller picture. It is important to not need outward validation for incremental progress. Incremental shifts can be more manageable and sustainable over time for feeding the new in a steady incline of growth. The imagery I have for this is like feeding a baby bird. Preparing a small mixture doing everything just right one important step at a time and in the end what seems like the tiniest amount providing enough sustenance.
2.) Giving less power to circumstances that no longer serve your goals or well-being.
This can also be a challenge since we tend to contextualize our lives with familiar people places and things. This does not mean you need to eradicate all your life structures. However, community and interconnectedness should be navigated with care and self preservation in mind. Not needing to appease people’s expectations or places they have for you in their lives can create friction, but the greater good is your own personal progress. This includes not being dragged into character roles of other people’s lives thereby negating your own truth and existence. This is a form of self respect. In doing so we may need to give up our need to be understood. This can be difficult, since we want to be accepted and reaffirmed with agreement. This may become an opportunity to change your hierarchy of personal need or check your ego. Potentially, this will be painful or cause feelings of betrayal and deceit, but change is real. Attempt to be observant rather than reactive or participatory in thoughts or feelings. Keep in mind that you want to strategize the pieces more like a game of chess. This will require the capacity to have a removed perspective otherwise we can become easily overtaken by distraction. In this way our only opponent is our own self. Attention and thought process can give way to creating aspects of our life and awareness that require us to live in stress in order to maintain, but consequently are unnecessary.
3.) Take action
A big reliever of stress is rooted in action. Once you start to do something fears like inadequacy begin to shift into growth of knowledge and new capabilities. Akin to putting one foot in front of the other task oriented progress is results driven. Staying rooted in action or tasks will be very important in carrying on beyond imperfections and perceived lack in comparison to our end goals
4.) Our existence as people is both big and small.
Even though we are microscopic in comparison to the vastness of the universe at times we put so much pressure on ourselves to meet goals and achievements that once met still leave us standing in the dark. Therefore even when we are “not there yet” we still have to reinforce the same inner work and self care as what we think we deserve or will feel when “we are there.” That is because “there” is relative.
It is likely that your destination is not what you imagined or that once reached there will be a new ceiling or more that’s required to garner the full capacity of what you want to obtain. In all these scenarios it’s imperative that we master the art of feeding the new. It should be approached in a multifaceted way that encourages longevity rather than perfection. Every year at the same time we make promises and start new endeavors or strive for more. When doing this it’s important to prepare yourself and plan for longevity. When the “going gets rough” you will need a plan or reserve for self preservation. This plan should include tools for creating perspective. This will be helpful in not allowing circumstances or perception of self to diminish progress. One tool for creating perspective is being careful not to expect or require more than what something presents at its base level for satisfaction. Some examples are a social situation or a job. Each has the capacity to contribute more than the base offering to our lives which is great, but we also need to be comfortable at the base when add ons or “perks” whether social or financial are not present. This practice also assists in feeding gratitude. Often times the things we enjoy exist outside of the base level. Acknowledging them and being grateful no matter how small or seemingly insignificant is a healthy practice.
In greatness or defeat our true self is the consistent baseline which can be compromised in both capacities if we allow ourselves to be defined solely by circumstance. Feeding the new requires a long term sustainable approach. Strategizing consistent incremental progress is critical for navigating a life of our choosing, and is best supported by acceptance of self.
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Originally published at medium.com