I did not make resolutions this year, and I invite you to do the same.
With social media flooding in 2018 recaps and gym promises, I’ve decided to add my 2 cents right here. My 2019 has goals, drive and open suitcases that I am getting ready to leave behind.
I’m not sure what’s different or special about this number – 2019. I can’t seem to put my finger on it. When I woke up on new years’ day, I sat on the bed my friend had lent me for the night. The bedroom I stayed in was on the first floor of this old house. I heard the wooden staircase crack, the wind blow in the leaves outside the window. I can hear my friend is up and getting ready.
Alone, sat cross-legged on this old wooden bed, I closed my eyes and took three deep breaths.
Inhale as low as you can.
Let your arms reach to the sky as you draw breath.
Exhale, joining the hands my heart before putting them back on my knees.
This time, a thought crept in:
I wasn’t cold overnight. I am not feeling cold now.
The air in the room is crisp and cool. It’s rather pleasant.
One last breath.
This cooling sensation ran through my lungs, my bones, my veins.
Go to the window.
Getting up, I crossed the room, drew the curtains open and pushed the blinds. The sky is white and grey but full of light. The wind is still blowing. It’s the type of weather that leaves you in hopes of snow.
2019 seems full of new energy. And that’s what I’m taking in as I get ready and start reflecting on what 2019 Ségolène will be. And thus the discussion of resolutions begins.
What have I become and Who do I want to be?
Instead of wishing for yourself to do more or to be different, think about what you want to achieve in a year’s time.
A simple mindful exercise I have made my friends do is to do a list of 5 to 10 things they are proud of it themselves: are you proud of what you’ve achieved at work or in your personal life? What do you love about yourself? What memory will you treasure? Reminiscing of the positive in our lives floods our brain with positive energy and helps decrease the overdose of cortisol that our stressful life has imposed on us.
Strong from this first reflection, let’s dare to ask ourselves the difficult question: what do I dislike about my current situation / myself? Once again, 5 to 10 answers. Maybe you’ll have less, and that’s fine too! However, don’t exceed 10 and know when to hold back.
Maybe you’re in a stage of your life where you’re feeling deeply unsettled and struggle to see the end of the tunnel. That heavyweight in your chest or whirlwind in your head is trying to force you to the dark place. If this feeling latches on too hard, stop what you’re doing and grab hold of the positive list. Remind yourself of what you love and what makes you who you are.
What do I want to achieve by this time next year?
I am cheating here a little because I had already put down my 2019 goals in writing in my diary before Christmas. Time flies between 22nd and 31st December.
To set my goals, I took my lists out again. I was not going to write a very long list, because life always gets in the way. Rather than arriving at the end of the year disappointed by having “only” achieved 4 out of 10 goals, I opted for 6:
one related to work
one related to my training
one related to my love-life and relationships
one related to an aspect of my mind
one related to a trait of character I want to see grow
one related to a need.
They are all equally important. All equally doable and in line with a mindful and encouraging way of thinking.
I choose them because they each meant something to me. Because they touch upon elements of my life that I want to see a change in. I took an hour, an hour and a half maybe, to reflect on my lists and the experiences that shaped me until now. I am grateful for each of them: the good, the bad, the fun, the ugly. Strong from those, I have decided to make of 2019 the year of Victory.
The name Ségolène is the French variation of the German name Sieglind / Sieglinde which literally translates as “Sweet Victory”. With my goals, I am reconnecting with what I perceive as the essence of what makes me who I am. We spend too much time worrying about how others can perceive us. Reconnecting to what is essentially and authentically you is the biggest favour you could grant yourself. You should always be able to recognise yourself in the mirror, no matter what. Give yourself permission to be you. You have probably seen many social media post with a similar note, but it bears repeating.
Open suitcases and letting go.
New year, fresh start. For me, it was fairly literal considering how cold it was outside on that morning. January for a lot of you is a period of decision-making and promises. Some you may hold, others you will discard after a few months and do it all again next year. What if you took control of what you decide to discard?
In this time of transition, change and renewal, ask yourself what you would like to part from; what shouldn’t join you on this 2019 journey.
I like the image of open suitcases.
They’re open, empty, lying on the floor of your room, waiting.
Take a deep breath and visualise what you feel is cumbersome, heavy, draining. Be they thoughts, memories, voices, objects: see them. Remind yourself why you see those elements as such.
One by one, take them into your hands and say your goodbyes: “You’re too heavy, I don’t want you in my life for the next part of my journey. Friend or foe – I am thankful for having experienced/known you. But the time has come for me to let you go.”
One last look or embrace, then place them individually inside the suitcase. When you deem the suitcase to be full, kneel down to close it.
Then stand up, grabbing hold of it firmly in one hand. Take a deep breath.
Visualise yourself somewhere peaceful: on top of a mountain, on the bank of a river, at the end of a pier.
Take another breath, and when you’re ready, place the suitcase on the ground. Take one last look before stepping away and going back to your room.
It’s important to dispose of those parts of ourselves in a loving manner. The Japanese genius Marie Kondo encourages a similar attitude when tidying up. A friend got me her book for Christmas – I’ll let you know my thoughts on it very soon!
All in all, use your January wisely to set achievable goals and place your head in the right mindset for your 2019 journey. Remember, the road is easier when the backpack is lighter. Take a breath, check in with yourself and don’t forget to breathe.