Copyright (c) 2011 Karin Marcus

The holiday season has just ended. For weeks our lives have been embroiled in preparations, gift giving, reconnecting with family, neighbors, and friends, and hopefully sharing life’s blessings with our extended human community. It has been a season filled with high expectations and deep emotions, ranging from joy to sorrow, togetherness to loneliness.

The aftermath of all this to-do has been days of cleaning and packing things away until next year. As we struggle to get things in order and re-establish our normal routines, it is no wonder that we may feel the need for a vacation from our vacation.

But no sooner do we say goodbye to one year then we are told to jump right into action, setting resolutions for the year to come. And we are warned that these are doomed to failure unless we are firm in our resolve and fully committed to these actions. This makes no sense!

From my experience, New Year’s resolutions do not work for four main reasons:
1. They are based upon an external calendar not our internal clock.
2. They arise from society’s shoulds not from personal needs.
3. They are based upon something we don’t like about our selves or our lives rather than something that inspires and honors us.
4. They address the symptoms not the cause.

In my opinion, we need to do the exact opposite of what is unwisely expected of us. Rather than raising the bar and expelling energies in external pursuits, we need to slow down, breathe deeply, and turn inward. We need to reflect upon who and where we are before we start writing the next chapter.

I love the twist of the familiar saying, “Don’t just do something! Stand there!” It is important to give pause and reflect upon our options before we charge ahead. After all, if we don’t have a vision of where we want to go, how are we going to get there?

Winter is calling you to retreat into a cozy den for warmth and shelter. Listen to this seasonal wisdom and your instinctual need to slow down. Find an inviting and comfortable place to curl up with your journal and ask yourself some of life’s bigger questions. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

First mindfully, close the chapter of 2010:

What are my best memories of 2010? What important lessons did I learn? What unfinished business do I want to complete in the coming year? What chapters do I want to close and leave behind? What do I want to give thanks for as I move forward?

Then open the door to possibility in 2011:

Who is the person I want to be? How can I become more like that person? What gives me the most joy in life? How can I bring more of that joy into my life? What is really most important to me? How can I express that value in my daily life? What legacy do I want to leave? How can I start building that legacy now?

Rather than creating narrow-minded resolutions with too-specific goals, create a vision of where you are going and why. Once you have a clear picture of the landscape of your life, you can begin planning the garden you want to plant in the spring.

Karin Marcus, Professional Certified Life Coach / Retreat Leader
“Let the beauty of what you love, be what you do” Rumi 610-667-5247
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