“Get busy. Be more productive. Accomplish more. Work hard. You gotta do this to succeed”. Do you hear these messages ringing in your ears? Me too. Most of the time it works to my advantage; it motives me. I like getting things done and feeling like I’m doing good things with my time. But lately, I just want to tell that voice to shut the hell up.
The holidays bring about a different kind of chaos. Our to-do lists grow longer as we squeeze in extra deadlines to meet and places to be. Parties, shopping, wrapping, writing out Christmas Cards, seeing Santa at the mall, making travel plans, decorating the tree, the cookie exchange…we find ourselves with endless ways to spend our precious, little time. All the while, there’s an unspoken nagging to ALSO plan and prepare for the new year. “Set intentions. Make new goals. Create your resolutions”. The pressure builds.
Shawn and I both felt this weight press down on us. For weeks, we’ve been intending to brainstorm next year’s plans for the wellness center. We just couldn’t find any room in our schedules to get working on it. And neither one of us was all that excited about it either. It felt overwhelming and exhausting to be simultaneously wrapping up 2016, trying to enjoy the holiday season, and prepping for the new year.
One day at the office, we both stopped, looked at each other, and let out long sighs. In that moment, I turned to her and said, “Let’s not do it right now. Let’s pace ourselves. Take our time”. Right then, we agreed we weren’t going to force ourselves to devote attention to 2017 until we reflected on the past year and felt in a good place, free from pressure and overwhelm, to envision what is yet to come. There was almost instant relief.
Now, 2017 is upon us…and we still haven’t started planning for the year. And we’re totally ok with that. It will come. It will all get done. It will be good…but only when we’re ready to take it on. You can’t force or push good ideas to the surface. You can’t squeeze motivation from your veins. When we feel pulled and pressured it’s time to stop and breathe. The moments when we feel we have to keep going are the very moments to pause.
Can you feel it? Is there a voice inside of you pressuring you to hurry up and get to the gym? Hurry up and take down the decorations? Hurry up and submit that proposal, draw up those plans, make the decision, book the reservations? “You should be losing weight, eating better, sleeping more, spending more time with friends, spending less time on Facebook. You should ____________ (fill in the blank with all the things you wish you were better at and will probably set as New Year’s Resolutions).”
Before you get all caught up in this rhetoric and launch into 2017, slow down and take a minute. Here’s why and how you should PACE YOURSELF:
LIFE ISN’T A RACE TO THE FINISH LINE.
It’s a journey to be experienced and savored. There is no “there”. You’ll never arrive at a destination. The meaning of life is to give life meaning. Every moment, every minute, every breath contains a precious gift, but if you’re flying through it, you’ll miss the beauty of it all. With each step you take, immerse yourself in that moment rather than thinking ahead to what is yet to come. Slow, gradual, consistent growth is ALWAYS better than sharp, rapid (and often fleeting) changes. You’re in this life for the long haul. Build your life on a strong foundation, brick by brick, block by block, one step at a time. Pay attention to every detail and love what you’re creating as you’re making it.
2. REFLECTION ON THE PAST CAN MAKE FOR A STUNNING FUTURE.
Our experiences are designed to teach us valuable lessons; to guide and direct us toward the path we’re meant to travel. The road we’ve already walked down serves as a compass. If we’re so caught up in looking forward, we’ll never learn from what’s behind us. Before setting intentions for 2017 and setting a new course, reflect on 2016 and see how far you’ve come.
Ask yourself: “What am I proud of from 2016? What goals did I achieve? What mistakes did I make? What lessons did I learn?” Gleaning insight into yourself, where you’ve been, and where you want to go next is sure to awaken your soul voice. The best way to gain clarity and bring forth vision for a prosperous future is to remember who you are and what you’re truly capable of. Our past crusades show us how strong we are.
3. LETTING GO NEEDS TO HAPPEN BEFORE ADDING MORE.
This applies to SO. MANY. THINGS. What old, un-useful stories do you need to let go of? I’ll tell you, 2016 did a great job of helping me to let go of my fear of failure. What I once viewed as failure, I now simply view as learning and adjusting.
Letting go of my old definition of failure has helped me learn not to judge myself by other people’s expectations and to focus more on my own opinion of what I’m doing and why. This simple shift makes me feel curious, excited, and eager to see what 2017 has to offer, rather than feeling anxious, fearful, and intimidated.
Let go of the unhappy relationship. Let go of drama. Let go of the closet full of clothes you don’t wear anymore. Let go of the number on the scale. Let go of all the “shoulds” you apply to yourself and others (“I should be further along at this point in my life”). Throw em’ all out. Gone.
There’s no room for wonderful if it’s all filled up with mediocre (at best).
4. TAKE THE REINS FROM YOUR EGO AND HAND EM’ OVER TO YOUR SOUL.
Your ego is going to attempt to convince you the most important thing is that promotion, impressing people, the perfectly picked up home, the ripped abs, the BMW in the driveway, the honor roll kids. Your ego is going to tell you to press on, keep going, push harder, overextend, overspend. Your soul knows better.
Your soul knows you’re fueled by love, kindness, and generosity. Your soul knows seeing the sunrise, smelling the fresh pressed coffee brew, and hearing laughter in the next room is what makes you come alive. Your soul holds the key to your biggest dreams and desires. It knows what makes your heart beat, what lights you up, what ignites the fire that sets everything in motion.
Before setting your intentions for 2017, make sure your intentions are good. Make sure your listening to your soul voice and not your ego message. Allowing your ego to guide your future will leave you feeling empty. Tune in closely to your heart’s desires and let that voice guide you through the new year.
The start of a new year seems like a natural time to take off on new goals and aspirations, and in all honesty, it is. But if you aren’t feeling inspired or driven to create an action plan yet, don’t worry. Pace yourself. It will come. It will all get done. It will be beautiful and challenging and messy and surprising because that’s how life is. So, to prepare yourself (your soul) for the journey ahead and to set a new life course, slow it all down, take it all in, steep in this very moment and then set a slow and steady pace as you take your first steps into 2017.
Happy New Year!
Nicole Iacovoni is a psychotherapist, author, wealth building coach, and personal empowerment fanatic dedicated to helping you create a life of happiness & prosperity. Her work is centered around personal growth and holistic health and wealth building. Nicole takes an honest, straight-forward approach to helping clients identify where they currently are in their life’s journey. With expertise in how our DESIRES, EMOTIONS, THOUGHTS, and BELIEFS influence our success, Nicole helps clients create a concrete action plan for living the life of their dreams. Contact Nicole for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION.