As I emerge from my ‘Covid Cocoon’ (like so many others) this January, I’m choosing to embrace ‘NEW YEAR, no new you necessary’. While January is traditionally a time for New Years Resolutions, a time to pressurise ourselves into thinking about how we can improve our lives and take action, lets not forget that Winter is also associated with rest and recovery (let’s take guidance from mother nature on this!)
This January, I’m reminded of the power of pace and the importance of building resilience rather than setting unrealistic resolutions.
In his fantastic book “Atomic Habits”, James Clear says that we “do not rise to the level of our goals, we fall to the level of our systems”. In this case ‘systems’ represent our habits and actions. So, in the spirit of the new year and positive change, I’m sharing ways that you can invite a meaningful route to resilience into your life by regularly adopting the following granular habits and activities (it’s also a reminder to myself!):
- Presence – pay attention to what you’re paying attention to! What are you allowing ‘in’? It’s great to be informed but do you need to know every twist and turn of the pandemic? Social Media can be great fun, but studies also link it with low self- esteem. How do you speak to yourself? Numb the negative narrative and speak to yourself as you would a good friend.
- Get active – we often note folks ‘pounding the roads’ in January and how it drops off mid- February. James Clear (aforementioned) advocates consistency over intensity when creating meaningful habits. Start small. Introduce 20 mins of activity into your daily practise and go from there!
- Journal – there are many advantages to journaling. As a process, it enables you to gain clarity and understanding over your thoughts and feelings by writing them down. If, like many others at this time, you are struggling with stress or a loss of focus, journaling can help you to regain control which can only improve your outlook and mental health.
- Plan something to look forward to – I’m great believer in seizing small moments of joy. If we have learned anything from the last 2 years it’s that life is fragile and so, it’s important to take the joy when we can! A walk or coffee with a friend, or go mad and book a holiday!
- Bring people in – Tell some close friends or colleagues about the new habits you are trying to institute. I see first hand the value of support and accountability through my coaching practise. Don’t do it alone. This will transform your motivation and your tribe will be there for you for accountability and support.
- Pay attention to your immune system – I am not qualified in this area, but again, on a granular level, how much sleep are you getting? Are you introducing movement into your day? Do a diet check (are you getting sufficient protein and fibre?) What’s your water intake like? Also don’t underestimate the impact of stress (especially the low- level kind) These all impact our immune system so take small steps to address these!
- False starts and slip- ups are normal when you’re creating new habits. One or two won’t undo your hard work. Back yourself and Be kind to yourself and you will get back on track.
- And finally, choose acceptance. Acceptance does not mean resignation. Rather, it’s about approaching life from a place of peace and not pain.
My clients know that I’m a big fan of ‘tea- spoon size’ changes and whatever these are for you, seek to bring these intentionally and regularly into your day to day. Worry less about shifting gears and instead favour a more empowering set of habits that will support you as you navigate the weeks and months ahead. Don’t leave it to chance, make it a choice, and curate your route to resilience seizing each day in 2022!
Gillian McGrath is a Cork based life and business Coach and experienced facilitator and public speaker. For more information, go to http://www.changegrowsucceed.com