I’m not really a big fan of January, in fact it’s my least favourite month. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE the palpable feeling of optimism and possibility that accompanies the start of a year but all the ‘new year, new you’ stuff that gets churned out every January leaves me cold.
The thing I dislike most about it is the way January is presented as the starting line of the race for the year ahead….
On your marks, get set, GO!
Trouble is, many of us find ourselves in no fit state to ‘GO’ anywhere in January! And what then? Do we simply give a resigned shrug of the shoulders and say, ‘Oh well, that’s it then… it’s all too late…. there’s no point in even entering the race now!
Or do we heave our weary bones up to the starting line regardless and risk falling at the first hurdle… or maybe even worse, come March, realise that this isn’t even the race we really wanted to run anyway?
There are many industries – like the diet, fitness and self help industries, to name just a few – for whom New Year is regarded as a key time to motivate people into action, but what I’ve learned from a over a decade of working in the coaching and personal development arena, is that change – ANY change – is first and foremost an inside job and it’s simply not possible to bypass or ignore this….. at New Year or any other time! Unless we’re fully aligned, clear and committed to the programme/solution on offer, our results are likely to be short lived and disappointing.
Aligned, clear and committed
This is exactly the state of readiness most of us would love to be in at the start of a brand new year – aligned, clear and committed but very often we find it all a bit of a struggle because, let’s be honest, January is a gloomy old month and it’s little wonder we’re attracted to ‘solutions’ which promise us a brighter future!
In reality, January is a natural time to take stock, regroup and transition into the year. It really ISN’T the best time to be forging ahead with new plans but that’s OK because there are still things we can work on – and one place to start is…writing.
For me, the start of a new year is a great time to renew my journaling practice to help me get positioned for the year ahead. Quite simply, writing helps me make sense of things; it’s the space where I can process my thoughts and emotions and where I find clarity, insights and motivation.
I first started doing this a few years ago when I participated in a group for 12 weeks using Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way as a guide. The idea is to write three pages a day, in longhand, first thing in the morning, about anything and everything that comes to mind without self censorship. She calls it your ‘Morning Pages’.
It’s a powerful daily practice that…
- helps you cut through the ‘monkey chatter’ that can so often hold you back
- allows your subconscious to ‘tune in’ and start working on ideas
- triggers new ideas and connections and reveals new possibilities
- helps you clear and sort your mental ‘clutter’ into coherent plans
- helps you find a different perspective
- offers a safe place to work through your struggles
- helps you explore your dreams and bring them to fruition
Start where you are
So if you’re looking for something gentle and easy to help make 2017 a fantastic year for you, I wholeheartedly encourage you to simply start writing – you’ve absolutely nothing to lose and SUCH a lot to gain. Allow some time for the magic to work and for the pearls of wisdom and sense of direction to reveal themselves on the page but rest assured, they WILL emerge. But for now, all you need do is this: get started.
Call to action:
Try writing every 3 pages every morning for a week and let me know how you get on. Has it helped you in any way? Has it provided clarity, understanding or direction for you? Has it been a valuable experience?
Or maybe you’re already a ‘Morning Pages’ convert? Share your thoughts in the comments below – I look forward to reading them!