Monday, December 28, 2009

How to Stay Inspired in the New Year

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful 
than the risk it took to blossom.
~Anais Nin

I love this quote by diarist Anais Nin. I love it because it’s so true. There comes a time in each of our lives when we know that we need to make a significant change. The prospect of change may feel risky, even frightening. Yet, we also know that this particular change must happen—now—because it is just too painful to remain as we are.

How can we motivate and inspire ourselves to make a lasting change? We begin by getting in touch with our deepest desire: What it is that we really, really want for ourselves. Any change to which we aspire will be successful only if it is sourced in heartfelt desire. Our passion is the fuel with which we propels this journey into change, no matter what that leg of the journey might be: enhancing our appearance, finding a new job, creating a loving relationship, or saving enough money to buy a house. The principle is the same.

Allow me to suggest three simple strategies to inspire and guide you on the road to personal change.

Give Yourself a Morning Infusion

The activities in which you engage the first thing in the morning will determine the tone of your day. Rise 15-minutes early to infuse your body, mind, and spirit with “good stuff.” Choose activities that enliven you, that create a positive mindset.

If you are a slow starter in the morning, you might prefer to sit quietly, admire the beauty outside your window, take a reflective walk in nature, read something inspirational, or journal. Leave the television off and listen to music, instead. If you are a more active type, engaging in exercise or taking a brisk walk, indoors or out, may be just what is needed to charge your battery. Either way, observe how these activities either energize you or create lethargy, then try to choose the former.

Choose the Company You Keep

The changes we wish to make can be buoyed or dashed by the sentiments of those around us. Simply put, it’s wise to spend time with those who support your desire for change and avoid those who may negate your cause. Don’t allow “Dream Stealers” to deflate your high hopes or dampen your enthusiasm.

Find a buddy who is willing to be a loyal and supportive traveling companion. Ask him or her if they are willing to help you be accountable; to be a cheerleader when things go well; to provide a shoulder to lean on when times get tough. Set up regular times when you can check in with them, over the telephone or in-person.

Perhaps your buddy might agree to make this change right along with you. There is tremendous power in having someone (or a group) join in your cause. This is why Twelve Step groups are formed and why they work so well. There is success in numbers. They know that inspiration and energy flow when “two or more are gathered.”

Make An Honest Assessment

At the end of your day, take time for reflection. Sit quietly and look back at how things went for you today. Did you stay true to your goal? Did your passion stay high? Did you make positive choices for yourself? Record your successes in a journal. If there weren’t any successes, that’s alright. Jot those down as well. Writing down our observations makes our choices “real,” their results more workable.

This exercise is important because it holds each of us accountable. We must begin to take responsibility for the choices we make. We admit how we may have let ourselves down; we pat ourselves on the back if we kept our spirits high. No matter what happened, we tell the truth about what we did and, if necessary, make a promise to start over tomorrow. This life principle, “one day at a time,” is the motto of many self-help groups. Step-by-step, one moment at a time, is how change happens, especially significant change. Truly, we can start over and begin again. It simply takes permission from our persistent self to do so.

Remember, it takes at least twenty-one days for a new habit to take hold; ninety days for a habit to become an important part of our lifestyle. In the words of the Chinese sage, Confucius, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” The first step is, indeed, the most important. Enhanced with daily infusions of inspiration, the support of loving companions, and a well-honed ability to be honest and true, we will move slowly, but steadily, in the direction of our dreams.

May the New Year bring you all that your heart desires ...

By the way, what does your heart desire this year? I'm eager to hear.

I'll start ...

Love and Blessings,


Jan said...

This year, 2010, I have a big heartfelt desire to strengthen my body. I have had a number of injuries over the past 4 years which have kept me from doing yoga and/or any type of strenuous exercise. The result is weakened muscles—from my heart to my shins! And because I am only 56-years-young, I do NOT want to get "old" (and incapable) before my time.

This is one of the reasons I am so excited about wintering in Florida instead of staying in the frigid north. My husband and I are investing in bikes, we're looking for a property with swimming pool access, and I am buying a new pair of walking tennies. I'm tired of huffing and puffing and saying, "I can't do that" when it comes to strenuous activity. I VOW to get my body stronger this year—though gently—as I know it will take time, patience, persistence to get all my gears up and running again. Wish me luck!

One Woman's Journey said...

Jan, the desire of my heart is to be able to sit still. I have always been super active and always doing. That is one reason why writing and the computer for the last 2 years is good for me.
I am sitting - but - my mind is still going 100 miles an hours.
I will meditate longer and several times a day and that will help.

Sarah said...

Oh oh oh yes we are on the same page!! Wonderful ideas..I have several online buddies with whom we share support of each other..keep each other going. hearts have more balance this was really out of wack this last year. The rest will follow!! A vacation ..two full weeks would be nice too!!
LOL hon - no worries...I think I only slpwed down the last couple of days..I totally understand hon!!
Hugs, Sarah

Jan said...

Oh, I hear you on this one, though I do love to sit and ponder...I had a naturopath prescribe 20-minutes a day of laying down in my bed and breathing when my anxiety was at an all time high. It really did help, like mini-enforced rest sessions. I think that doing so faithfully forged some new neural pathways. Perhaps it will for you too!

Jan said...

I am glad to hear that you have supportive friends who walk with you, especially during times of change. So important! I will hold your intention in my heart that balance will be yours this coming year. Blessings!

LoveCompanion said...

Jan, I love this post! My favorite part is the morning infusion! I adore the way you worded that and yes, I know what that feels like! Lately, well for months to be honest I have stopped waking up early because its just more difficult in the winter.. but I feel so refreshed when I sleep on time and wake up early for my tea and journaling! I am so much more grounded this way! So, certainly this is one of my heart's desires to align with this ritual in the new year and stick to it with a disciplined loveknot - to enjoy this stillness! ;)
The other overflowing heart desires are to be a full-time author; to see my first book: The Dawn of Tomorrow: Love's Leading Companion published (digitally and traditionally) and to complete my second manuscript by 2011. A writer's desk - a room to call my own in this way. Also, to initiate a healing lifestyle for myself this next year and hold this position lovingly while helping others do the same. That's about it, I do have a strong passion for India but we will see ;) I plan to adventure more within in the coming year and to find and serve with my authentic voice :) in these areas mentioned. Thank you for opening this up,.. it feels so sacred and I am honored to be a part of this sharing as always,..
blessings to you my dear friend as we cross this threshold into 2010! luv Jenn

Sharmila II said...

Jan, I love what you also shared here in more self-care and expressing your courage to lean into a healthier lifestyle as well as (climate change) to respect your bodies needs sort of like a reward ;) beautiful!, and I believe you will see this through well! (hug) ~Jenn

shiny mamaof6 said...

My heart desires to fully embrace the person that I am. To eliminate all doubt about who I am to be. I am drawn to nature and the seasons and I am going to start allowing myself to connect with that more. I also desire to take better care of my self. I would love to be able to lose the weight that is slowing me down. So it is my hearts desire to make 2010 all about becoming my truest self and sharing that part of me.

CordieB said...

What a great post. So full of ideas that I'm eager to start! I can feel myself feeling better and accomplishing more already! Thanks for sharing!!!

I have two desires for 2010: 1. To stop smoking. 2. To save some money. I'm feeling success with number 1, will automatically bring about success with number 2. :)

Peace, Light and Love, CordieB (AKA, she who reflects light)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jan .. excellent post and ideas for getting our daily lives going and then accounting for our day.

To become myself and begin to realise my dreams .. these mass of ideas that are revolving in my head .. to put them into gear and bring them to fruition; along with personal development - meditation, reading, exercise ..

All will happen .. each day by day, each hour by minute .. living forward, while learning and growing as I go - learning to love to the full .. giving gratitude and smiles ..

Love to you for 2010 -
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Anonymous said...

Jan this post is inspiring, Love the quote at the beginning.
Lovely the hear from you also.
The images on my blog, if you click on them to make them big and then drag them onto your desktop.
If you wish to make them your screen saver, which thank you so much for liking this art so much to do this!
Right click on the image scroll down to screen saver.
Hope this helps?

Hugs and blessings!


Jan said...

Love what you say about finding and using your authentic voice is marvelous. :-) No matter how you find yourself doing that --blogging, writing a new book (yeah!), traveling, sharing yourself with others--this, to me, truly is the gift and privilege of being human...sharing living and sharing our truest selves. I hope that 2010 is a stellar year for you and that you love yourself and life even more. May we all....

And, yes, honoring our bodies as sacred is a very important part of this journey....Glad you are on it!

Well, it sounds like we are on kindred paths. Another of my New Year's vows, other than the one I wrote about at is definitely to honor my body more. To treat it like the sacred vessel it is. For me that also means to lose some weight (though I don't have tons to lose, 10 pounds would do very nicely!) it feels vital to me to "reclaim" myself in this way in my mid-50s. I want to create maximum health for the last 1/4 of my life. I've always struggled with exercise so I am determined to find ways to build more into my life in a fun-filled way.

So I am cheering YOU on too and will hope that we both find our way to greater health and well-being in 2010. Yes, living as our truest selves through and through!

Jan said...

Welcome! Your intentions for the New Year sound very important (esp. for health) and for overall well-being. I am glad that you arrived to be part of this supportive community of women. We are all on the path to living as our best selves. :-)

I appreciate how you share that this journey of "self-improvement" is definitely a day-by-day journey. Our lives are so full and busy that if we can just begin with a baby step or two and keep ourselves inspired around that, we WILL have success. I'm keen on doing things gently, as you know. So as you continue to take good care of you , a little more each day, everything does fall into place. Love to you too for a stellar 2010!

Jan said...

May you and your art continue to be inspired in the New Year. What a lovely gift you have! Blessings...

Peggy said...

Hi Jan,

I really love the quote you chose - it speaks volumes!

I've been talking the past few days/weeks about changing my morning reading your first suggestion is yet another sign to make the change I know needs makin'!

Happy New Year Jan!


Nadia - Happy Lotus said...

Hi Jan,

Happy New Year to you! I love the advice you shared in this post. The point that sticks out most to me is in regard to the company that we keep. It is so vital to be surrounded by people who help us to grow and allow us to shine bright.

There was a time in my life where I was surrounded by people who just were so negative, it ate away at my soul. Thankfully, I did what I had to do and changed things around.

Life is to be enjoyed and not endured!

As for what my heart desires this year, to sum it up simply, it is to become more of my authentic self and have my reality reflect that truth in every way. I pretty much have that in all areas except for my career. So I will change that. :)

Meredith said...

All great ideas for the New Year, Jan. I especially have to get better about the morning one. I was waking up easily all summer at 5:00 a.m. so I could go right out into the garden, but now I just want to huddle under the duvet and hit snooze. Part of that is seasonal, of course. A big part of my passion is dormant in this season.

May your new year be inspired and joyous :) Here's to awakened living in 2010!

Jan said...

I'm so glad that the "morning infusion" will help! Yes, restructuring our morning, I believe, is one of the most powerful and potent things we can do for ourselves. That morning time can set the tone for our entire day. :-) Happy New Year to you, too!

Wonderful thought: Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured. :-) I am heartened to hear that you had the awareness early on to move away from toxic others. Now I will look forward with joy to your journey in 2010, that of aligning your truest self with your career. Onward!
Love to you in the New Year. :-)

mermaid said...

I love everyone's desires here. My desire is to continue to support my autonomy, my need for periodic silence and reflection though the environment around me does not always agree.

Jan said...

I completely understand about your creativity feeling dormant this time of year (northern climes?). Interestingly, since I started writing about 12 years ago, my books wanted to be gestated during this time and birthed in the spring. So I learned not to mind the darker months too much. In the spring, summer and fall, all I want to do is be outside in my garden. :-) So here's to your creativity receiving a jumpstart and being more of an early bird. Enjoy!

These intentions for yourself are potent and powerful. It IS difficult to attend to our inner selves as a contemplative person when others around us are not necessarily of that bent. My hope is that you will continue to stay faithful to this journey of yours...xo