If there’s one thing we’re not supposed to do during the darkest, coldest, harshest month of the year (January!), it’s try to change our lives.
There is a time for change. But despite all the marketing messages you’ll be assaulted with this month, It’s not now.
You know when Spring hits us and the weather begins to warm up a little and there’s more light and more general optimism? Usually somewhere around the start of March, I’ll begin to feel a rising urge to clean up my house, clean up my diet and clean up my life.
The freshness and optimism of spring has given me wind in my sails and I’m ready for change.
But not January, people!
January is dark, quiet and low energy. All we really want to do this time of year is sleep, eat heavy, wholesome food and light fires to curl up beside. And that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
We are SUPPOSED to slow down in January. We are supposed to go inside and wait a while. It’s not time yet for new beginnings. It’s time for incubation.
Life gets so much easier when, instead of fighting the natural energy of the seasons, you actually go with them.
Our problems come from our being so out of touch with our bodies’ natural rhythms. Even though our bodies have monthly and seasonal cycles, our culture is built around ignoring them.
We are not allowed to have downtime, or unproductive periods. We’ve no time for rest or day-dreaming. We are expected to keep up the same energy levels, whether it’s summer or winter, dark or light.
Our lives can feel out of control when we fight our bodies. We need rest, but we forge on ahead. We need to retreat inside, but we keep our social calendars full.
And then we get frustrated when we (of course!) get sick or run down.
New Year, New You? (Sigh…)
You may be feeling a surge of hope and resolve right now – it’s a fresh new year full of possibilities, after all. But it won’t last. And that’s okay.
Winter will take us back down to where we should be, by forcing us back inside out of perishing weather, making us sleepy by 9pm and bringing us down with colds.
So why fight it?!
Since I decided to give in to winter, I’ve been enjoying it so much. (And I am someone who usually curses the cold and rain each year!!) There’s actually so much relief and joy in not fighting the seasons…but instead, resting, getting cosy and just dressing – very! – warm.
What each season demands from you…
A little summary of the energies of each season.
What’s Better than Resolutions?
Before I even think of setting goals, I like to use a few tools that fit far better with my January mood!
You might like to try them too:
How Do You Want to Feel?
Before you set any goals, think about how you would like to feel.
Are your goals really about making you happy – or about doing what you think is expected of you (while you feel miserable and unmotivated!)?
Instead of setting the same old goals that you rarely stick to, first think about how you would like to feel in your day-to-day life.
Do you really want to lose weight….or do you just want to feel comfortable and confident in your body?
Do you want to join a gym…or do you just want to feel like you’re strong and in control of your life?
Do you truly want a new job…or do you just need to have more time for your creativity and ideas?
Getting to the bottom of what you actually want helps us get on the right track. (Danielle La Porte has done some beautiful work on this with her Desire Map. It’s worth checking out!)
Choose a Word of the Year
Every year, I go through Susannah Conway’s lovely little 5-day course to identify my word of the year (it’s FREE!)
Instead of creating New Year’s resolutions (which can feel great…until we, inevitably, fail a few weeks in!) we choose a word of the year.
This word can be used as a guiding light for your year ahead. Whenever you get off course, or have a decision to make, you can see if you are still in line with this guiding word. We can also just use the word as an intention or meditation for the year ahead.
It helps us get clear on where we are in our lives and what it is we want to manifest over the coming 12 months.
The first year I did this was 2015 and my word was ‘courage’. I really needed it! I had given up my well-paid job and was embarking on starting a new business…with all the crazy doubts and fears about putting myself out there that come with that!
Last year, my word was ‘openness’ (if that’s a word?!). Instead of being closed in fear, I wanted to open myself up to new possibilities, abundance and support. And this is what happened!
Choose a Goddess
Okay, so this will sound petty woo woo – and not for everyone! So if the idea of picking a goddess to guide you seems totally crazy, please skip this bit 😉
But, if you’re intrigued, I wanted to let you know that this is actually my favourite practice of all! I came across Amy Palko two years ago. She’s based in Edinburgh and is a poet and a lecturer on English literature. And also, she’s very intuitive.
She uses her wonderful intuition combined with her knowledge of goddesses to help you identify who your guiding goddess for each year is.
The ‘goddesses’ are really just archetypes or symbols of feminine wisdom and experience. Unfortunately, most of us have been brought up in a world where the only idea of a God or higher intelligence has been male.
Very few representations of female spiritual guidance exist. Mother Mary is the only one I was educated about – and even her story was deeply sanitised.
So, learning about and connecting with the stories of ‘goddesses’ from around the world has been really interesting, as they speak more to our uniquely female experience.
In 2015, when I picked ‘courage’ as my word of the year, I was also given Durga as my goddess guide – a Hindu warrior goddess who is not to be messed with 🙂
Last year, it was Maya and the theme was ‘unveiling’ (which was also closely connected to my ‘openness’) – unveiling the truth about many issues and relationships in my life. And what a year it was for exactly this!
But I could make sense of what was happening all along, through knowing my goddess theme.
My 2017 goddess is Hathor…and I’m soooo ready for the abundance she is calling in for me 🙂
Why not try your own reading this year?
Permission to Not Bother!
But if you’re still not feeling motivated in any way, well, I hear ya!
In fact, let me give you permission right here and right now to do nothing; to not have any big goals and to have absolutely no answers. Because you’re in the gestation phase of the year. And that’s exactly how it should be.
If what sounds best to you for the coming weeks is just some time out…well, go for it!
If you do nothing much at all over the next few weeks of winter other than rest, sleep, get cosy, read good books and dream…well that will have been a January very well lived.
Enjoy your rest!
And let me know if you plan to try any of the above…or have your own version of anti-goals 🙂
P.S.: If you liked this, you’ll enjoy Why You Don’t Need a Celebrity Diet and How to Actually Feel Good this Year
P.P.S.: Sign up for my free relaxation and meditation tracks below to support you through the darkness of January 🙂