Not one for making New Year Resolutions

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Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Personally I am not one for making New Year Resolutions. I am, however, one for creating a picture of what I want the coming year to look like, feel like and sound like. In the interest of disclosure and keeping things real I don’t always get to where I want to be. Life happens, other interesting things show up or sometimes it turns out that I just didn’t have what it takes to reach a particular goal. And then there are other times when I get that thing done. In 2015 that thing was having my book Disclosure picked up by a publisher and having it launched! That was a “float my boat kind” of goal!

So in thinking about the coming year and what I would like to achieve the first thing I make sure is in place is my headspace. I know that my headspace can be one of the biggest challenges I have to meet at any given point in time. Having a network of support or a board of directors around to check the viability of my ideas is a valuable part of keeping my head space on the level… the thing that will most likely get things happening. One important aspect of head space to keep in mind when thinking about goals for the coming year is to know that sometimes some things just won’t come together. Irrespective of the reason behind missing the goal remember to not be too hard on yourself. Look for the meaning in the failure to achieve your goal. What lesson have you learnt that you can apply in the next year?... to the next goal?

Once you have given due consideration to your head space being effective, the next cab off the rank is to consider where you want to be. As humans the majority of us have a tendency to want to belong to a group, organisation, family or partnership. Consequently when we start making plans we can be easily influenced by those around us, those we care about.

In giving thoughtful consideration to people in our world we often severely limit what is possible for us when we put other’s needs ahead of our own. It can be particularly tricky for parents… they want to give their all to their kids but somewhere along the way they can lose themselves and who they once thought they wanted to be. Either way, parent or not, there will be someone in your life that you’ll want to take care of. What I am inviting you to do in the next step of your imagining is to put that relationship aside for a minute.

If you could be anywhere you want to be, doing anything you want to be doing, free of any or all expectations of others, what would that be?

What things would you see happening?

What things would you be hearing people say around and about you? What would you be saying to yourself? What would you be saying about others?

How would you feel about it happening?

To give you an example of how it works I’ll share one of my 2016 goals and answer those questions.

The goal is to be speaking at as many local, national and international conferences, educational, community and corporate events making it ok to speak openly and comfortably about mind health matters.

I see crowds of people in front of me when I speak. I see me on many different stages. I see people nodding in acknowledgement of my experiences. People come and share their experiences after I speak. People are asking if I am available to speak at another event. People are asking where they can buy a copy of my book Disclosure. I feel fantastic, elated, like I am making a difference to people’s ability and willingness to speak openly and comfortably about mind health matters.

That’s an example of what I will see, hear and feel when I achieve my goal.

This ability to visualise, hear and feel how you want things to be is an essential part of getting to your goal. There’s a saying about it that I love and use a lot… “Your language generates your reality.”

Being about to talk and use all your senses to create the image of where you are heading will help you get there faster and more easily.

I’ve talked before about conserving and expanding tendencies. When it comes to going your own way, being able to tell when your conserving tendencies are in play and when your expansive tendencies are in play is crucial to being able to go your own way.

Conserving and expansive tendencies are neither good nor bad in and of themselves… however too much of either can be unhelpful. Depending on what you are going through at any given point in time leaning towards either your conserving or expanding tendencies can helpful.

Conserving tendencies are helpful when you are feeling challenged by life. Focusing on the things you do regularly and enjoy doing, the things that are familiar, can be helpful. Conserving the way your life operates in times of difficulty or rapid change can help you through. However if you get stuck there it becomes difficult to welcome anything new or different to your world.

Expansive tendencies are all about growing and changing… reaching out and experimenting and experiencing new ways of doing old things or doing completely new things. Expansive tendencies are helpful if you feel like you’ve been stuck in a rut and feel like it’s time to get out!

As with too much of the conserving tendencies, too much time spent cavorting in your expansive tendencies can be unhelpful. Constantly looking at new ideas, new actions can leave you feeling scattered, unfocused and disconnected. Not so helpful when you are seeking to achieve new goals.

So as you set about identifying your goals for 2016 remember to check that your head space is in the best place it can be. Ensure you have an identified Network of Support that know your goals and can help keep you on track. Before you think about where you want to be give some thought to the likely influences on you and release their influence on you for the duration of your imagining. Be aware of the role of conserving and expansive tendencies in succeeding in reaching your goals.

And just because you blaze a new trail it doesn’t mean you have to leave everyone else behind. It might just mean that you are able to quest out beyond what you and they might have previously thought possible.

Sometimes we have to step into unknown spaces to find our place and to go our own way!

Why? …because your mind health matters