dahlia in my garden: Rio Fuego in Coleus leaves

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Learning From The ‘Old’ Year Before Facing the ‘New’

Here we are, right on the cusp of a New Year. Instead of talking about resolutions, I want to look at the transition of 2011 to 2012 in reverse. Before we can move forward and encounter our future it’s important to evaluate the past to learn from our mistakes, celebrate our successes, and let go of fears.

“YES, the New Year is going to be pretty much 
like the old one - unless YOU change that. 
YES, this means you must ignore or let go of your fear, 
take a chance and do something new. 
And YES, it's scary; but YES you can do it, 
because it's YOUR life 
where YOU get to choose that you want to LIVE! 
Or not.”
~by Soren Lauritzen

Think about the six biggest struggles, physical or emotional, that you faced in 2011. Instead of focusing on what went wrong, consider how you dealt with the problem. Did you show courage, conquer a fear, defeat a difficult medical issue, make it a teaching moment for someone who didn’t understand, find a solution where none seemingly existed, or  (you fill in the blank) ?

Stop for a moment to honor your efforts and acknowledge your triumphs. If you keep a journal (and I hope you do!) go back through those pages and put a star in the margin where you see an achievement. Make a quick note of what positive you see, such as *faced my fear*, *made a positive change in attitude*, or *followed through and made it work*.  When you look back, you’ll be able to reminisce not about the negative situation but your positive reaction to it - which is what should be remembered! 

If there were situations you were stuck in which ended in disaster, you should also evaluate your actions. Did fear make you freeze, did you buckle under pressure, did you let your illness pull you down in the moment, did you allow someone else the power to make you doubt yourself, or  (you fill in the blank) ? As hard as it might be, reflect on the  feelings of each event and try to determine where it began to go wrong. Was it in your attitude or did you procrastinate and drag your feet too long? Were you too timid or over-dramatic? Did you underestimate the other person or did you just throw up your hands and give in? 

It might feel uncomfortable, but taking the time to discern what preceded your mistakes can teach you a great deal and help you avoid the same undesirable result next time. Write those difficult words in the margin, such as *gave in too easily*, *should have spoken up right away* or *need to follow through on commitments*.

Later on, when you flip back through the journal pages, you’ll have more than just glimpse of what you did through the year. You’ll have your own little ‘cheerleading memos’ which point out the things you need to work on as well as little affirmations celebrating your successes.

So as we prepare to welcome in the new year, let’s face our past with an honest look inside ourselves and discover how we can meet 2012 with a brighter focus. Although we cannot avoid our illnesses and chronic pain, we can most definitely change how we encounter and react to what life throws at us. 

I wish you all a Happy - and Healthier - New Year!
~* Shannon *~

Here are two other insightful New Year pieces you might like to read:
-Reflecting on our Successes in 2011 by Dr. Laurie Ferguson for the Creaky Joints Newsletter

"Another fresh new year is here ... 
Another year to live! 
To banish worry, doubt, and fear, 
To love and laugh and give!
This bright new year is given me 
To live each day with zest 
To daily grow and try to be 
My highest and my best!
I have the opportunity 
Once more to right some wrongs, 
To pray for peace, to plant a tree, 
And sing more joyful songs!"
~by William Arthur Ward

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