Okay, so I am approximately 13 days late on this New Year’s post – sorry! I hope you all had a wonderful, healthy and happy New Year, however you chose to celebrate. I have always found New Year’s to be an interesting time, perfect for reflecting on your achievements of the year that has passed whilst planning and setting goals for the year ahead. New Year’s is perhaps the only time that nearly everyone takes a good stock-take of their life and thinks about how/what/why they would like to change it. And to those people who don’t “believe” in New Year’s resolutions, I don’t care. I will take any opportunity I can to set goals and strive to always move in a positive direction. Sure it is clichéd and often doomed for failure, but all that matters is that you try. Did you set any resolutions? What were they and why are they important to you? How are you going so far with your goals?
First, let’s start with reflections on 2014 and the goals I set then. 2014 was certainly a big year for me, I finished high school, cemented my yoga practice as a daily thing and grew hopefully a little bit wiser with another year under my belt. My main focus of 2014 (naturally) was school and studying. It is fair to say I worked hard, spent hours studying and worried just a little about my impending “future”. However, I also managed my stress well, got plenty of sleep and stayed relatively healthy (give or take a few days of sniffles). I had a wonderful year, and my hard work did pay off, as I achieved a wonderful score at the end of my schooling which has set me in good stead for the future. However, success in my academic life is not all that was important to me (far from it, in fact). My health has been something I value highly and so as always this year I continued on my health-focussed journey, in order to achieve the best possible state of health possible. My New Year’s resolutions from last year were to practice hara hachi bu (eat until 80% full) and to practice genuine self-love. Did I achieve these two things… well not quite, if I am honest!
I have posted several times about my struggle with over-eating and emotional eating (see one post here). Hara hachi bu is a Japanese proverb that I adopted this year, in an aim to curb this excessive eating and learn how to stop when I have eaten enough. Although I didn’t fully achieve this as an every day practice, and continued to over-eat throughout the year (especially in times of stress or anxiety), I did make a conscious effort to pay more attention to how and what I ate. Towards the end of the year I did start to make progress in my efforts to practice hara hachi bu and gradually I was able to learn how to listen to my body and judge my hunger more accurately. After I finished Year 12 (and the stress of exams was gone), I found that my appetite naturally dropped and I began eating only as much as I needed. For the first time in a long time I wasn’t constantly battling my desire for food, even when I was full. Like all things worth mastering, hara hachi bu is challenging and something that will take time. Therefore, I have decided to renew it as my New Year’s resolution once again for 2015, and now that I will be totally in control of preparing my own meals I want to practice this philosophy as close to daily as I can manage.
On the other hand, my other 2014 New Year’s resolution of practicing self-love was undoubtedly more successful than hara hachi bu. I am not sure what exactly was the catalyst for this achievement, perhaps the meditations I did, the daily yoga, the positive affirmations I wrote all over my mirror, the (EFT) tapping or just becoming aware of my thought patterns, but I can honestly and whole-heartedly say I am much kinder and more loving to myself now than I was at the beginning of 2014. It is not an easy thing to do, love yourself, but golly gosh it is worth the effort! I had a few ups and downs, but certainly in the last few months my feeling of solid self-love has not waned. I used to believe I was not beautiful, that I was not the right size or shape, that I was not funny enough or pretty enough or cool enough to be accepted. I believed that no one would ever love me and at times I even doubted why my friends chose to be with me (yep, I had the negative self-talk down pact…). Ultimately, I believed I was unlovable. Now, everything has changed. I not only believe, but I know, that I am beautiful, loveable, kind, funny (in my own little way) and that I have an infinite power to achieve my dreams. And to all of you reading this, you too are beautiful, loveable, amazing and incredible. I promise. Just believe it.
And finally, to 2015. I have an amazing feeling about this year. It’s going to be great. For me personally, a lot is going to change and I have already been making some huge, life-altering decisions about where and what I want to study and live. Making these decisions has become a lot easier since I have learnt to trust my intuition, because it guides me to the place I know will be right. Occasionally, my mind, logic and ego try to fight these feelings, but in my heart I know to follow my “gut”. In 2015 I am becoming a yoga instructor, something I am very much looking forward to. I am starting the journey along the career path of my choice (Medicine, in case you were wondering). I am going to move again, to a new city and make new friends and have many new experiences. Lots is happening and for that I am so grateful. My resolutions for the year? So far this is it:
- Hara hachi bu
- Just trust your intuition
- Go with the flow
- Be open to everything – to love, friends, opportunities, experiences.
So, wonderful people, how was your 2014? Did you achieve all that you wanted to? If not, how can you change that this year? What are your 2015 resolutions? Let’s connect, chat, support and spread the love!
Keep healthy and happy,