5 Ways to Start the New Year with Purpose and Passion
If the January return to work fills you with dread or boredom, here are five mindful suggestions to help put a little pep in your step and re-ignite those flames of purpose and passion.
1. Start by Making Your Resolutions Count This Year
If you want to create lasting resolutions, the key is to build them around realistic and genuine commitments to increased self-knowledge or personal development. So ditch the self-judgment and pressure to perfect yourself, and instead consider starting new activities that build community ties or new friendships and which bring you joy, happiness and fun. To ensure your resolutions last longer than the usual #JanuaryFantasy you might want to keep yourself accountable by adding monthly reminders to your diary to check in on your progress.
2. Clarify Your Values
Your values lie at the heart of your purpose, passion, joy and alignment so it is worth spending a little reflective time considering them. Identifying and taking ownership of personal values will offer you a compass to navigate the complexities of new decisions at work or for your career. Your values describe what is most important to you and what you stand for. When tough decisions arise, or in times of uncertainty or conflict, they can be consulted and will keep you centred in your purpose and integrity.
Start the process now by reflecting on this list and choosing the five values that are most important in your life today. Add your own words to the list if you wish:
ACHIEVEMENT / ADVENTURE / BEAUTY / COMMUNITY / CREATIVITY / FAMILY / FREEDOM / FRIENDSHIP / HARMONY / INTEGRITY / INNOVATION / KINDNESS / LEARNING / LOVE / ORDER / POWER / PLEASURE / RESULTS / SECURITY / SERVICE / SPIRITUALITY / TEAMWORK / TRUTH / WISDOM
3. Start with the Future in Mind
Those that live with vision have an intentional direction to head in and are committed to increasing their self-awareness; they open courageously to their potential, look with hope to the future and forgo playing small. Creating your life’s vision, therefore, requires a certain fearlessness and an open heart. If that resonates, have a go at the following exercise:
Take a deep breath, settle into your seat, and imagine for a moment that you are floating forwards in time. It is now some years ahead and your life has moved on in a wholly surprising and delightful way. As you see yourself in this future you notice that you look rested and happy. Your mannerisms and movements have an easy quality. Your body feels fluid. The tightness in your shoulders has opened. Your forehead feels relaxed and your mind feels spacious too. Your thinking has become more potent, mature, insightful.
As you open to this future, you feel connected, open and brimming with creativity. There is a sense of being surrounded by love and appreciation. In this future, you are seen, heard and supported in your dreams and ambitions.
You smile as you notice that you are happy, healthy, strong and vital. You feel energised, dynamic, bold and confident. More than this, you notice a new depth to your compassion and loving. You feel light.
As the vision clarifies further, to your delight you see that you are doing what you love, offering your unique contribution joyfully to the world. It feels effortless. Exactly right.
Take another deep inhale, giving the vision a little space to breathe, and then make a note of your answers to these questions:
- In this future, where are you?
- Who is with you, playing a part in this vision?
- How do you spend your time?
- What do you do?
- What else do you notice about yourself that looks or feels different?
- What else do you want to remember from the practice?
4. Create A Vision Statement for Your Life
Now that you have a little more information about where you might be headed you might choose to create a vision statement for your life. Your vision statement is a declaration of who you are becoming and describes the future you are stepping into. Businesses use vision statements to describe the future they hope to create. My own company, The Conscious Professional, holds a vision for conscious businesses populated by enlightened executives. While the vision may or may not come to fruition in my lifetime, it offers us a clear direction to move in and helps us make decisions that are in line with our intentions.
Holding a clear vision for your life can do the same for you. You already have some data from the previous exercises which you can draw upon. Your vision statement might focus on you, your hopes and dreams for the future, your family, friends, community, business, society, or even the planet.
- I hold a vision for a life filled with fun and adventure.
- I hold a vision of leading an innovative company.
- I hold a vision to be the best parent I can be.
- I hold a vision of becoming more confident.
- I hold a vision to be of service to my family and community.
- I hold a vision of working alongside the greatest minds in the world.
Reflect on all of the exercises so far and make a note of your vision statement.
‘I hold a vision…’
Now try saying it out loud.
5. Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself
And finally, if you are still feeling the January blues, or are confused about where life may be taking you I would urge you to remember two things:
- There are no wrong paths. All experiences help you grow in self-awareness and clarity.
- Wisdom is often preceded by confusion. If you are still full of questions you are likely on the right track. Be patient, wisdom is on the way.
Neil Seligman is a mindfulness teacher, speaker and the author of Conscious Leadership. Reveal your potential. Inspire excellence.