How’s your “New Year Zen”?

How will you be “Managing the Madness” in 2015?

Like many people, my 2015 resolutions largely revolved around reducing stress, resetting boundaries for better work/life balance and making time for things that energise, nurture and sustain me. 

It’s only February, but I’d be fibbing if I didn’t admit to some regressions here and there; falling back into habits of doing too much, compromising on my wellbeing plans a little too quickly, feeling stretched and wondering “Uh-oh…how is this happening?...here I go again!”. 

You too?

It’s times like this, when we catch ourselves wobbling off track, we should take a moment and congratulate ourselves. That’s right. In fact, give yourself a big pat on the back and say “Well done!” or even a big woop and “High five, way to go!”

What for…? 

For being aware and noticing the start of familiar patterns returning. Because by observing ourselves falling back to old ways, we are no longer on “automatic pilot” believing we don’t have the time, energy or opportunity to be different. Instead, we are at conscious crossroads. We are awake to ourselves – our habits, thoughts, behaviours, feelings and choices. We can taste the sweet, positive flow that comes from creating change for ourselves yet we feel ourselves being drawn back into our “same old same old”. Congratulations! High Five! 

At this point, engaging in mindfulness can help us to consciously reflect, reset and reconnect with our motivations and desire for change and with our knowledge and beliefs of what’s possible when given our full focus and attention.

If you’ve started to juggle new intentions with old comfy ways, the Three C’s of Mindfulness are good to keep in mind - Concentration, Curiosity and Compassion.

Concentrate: Reflect again on the reasons you set yourself a new goal and bring it back into full focus when you are planning your activities and week, or making decisions throughout your day. Are you keeping your resolution and goals front of mind? Choose how you wish to concentrate your time, energy, thoughts and behaviours. Break down large, long term goals into smaller, achievable actions so you can concentrate on each one individually – one at a time. 

Curiosity – what’s been working well for you? And what’s getting in the way? Do you need to reassess how you’re approaching things and put more/less support or structure into play? Are you unconsciously sabotaging your own success to avoid vulnerability or the uncertainty of secondary opportunities that may flow? Consider a wider perspective of your situation with child-like curiosity and apply your creative problem solving ability to map your path forward.

Compassion – a wise mentor once told me, “you catch more bees with honey, Kat” and it’s true! Rather than giving yourself a hard time for “falling off the wagon”, be supportive and encouraging to yourself just as you’d be to a friend, young child or puppy learning something new. We know change is uncomfortable and can be challenging at first. It requires us to step out of our comfort zones and draw on our reserves of patience, persistence and grit. So reframe any negative self talk creeping in and be kind to yourself. “You’re making progress and doing well. Keep going, believe in yourself and you’ll do it”. 

Change is a process, not an event. So enjoy the journey and remember the Three C’s along the way.

If you’d like to learn about more mindfulness and how to integrate it into your daily life, Live Well’s next intake of “Managing the Madness” will be commencing on Wednesday 3rd March, 2015. 

It’s a 6 week group program, facilitated by Katrina Howard, qualified counsellor, coach and mindfulness teacher, and is for anyone wanting to learn mindfulness and meditation practices to manage anxiety and stress, build resilience and enjoy life with a greater sense of clarity and calm.

More information on the course, fees and dates, click here.