The beginning of the year is all about setting up goals! Deep inside, we all feel a new year is an opportunity for change.
What is going to change for you? Do you want more money? More work? More time with yourself? with your children? More fun? More friends?
But more importantly maybe, how would you like to FEEL this year?
Are you ready for a year that will bring you the inner peace and outer success you deserve?
In western societies, time is linear, meaning it has the shape of a one dimensional straight line:
past present future _____________________________________________________________________
In Ancient Chinese societies, time is cyclical, it has a round, dynamic three dimensional spiral shape.
« A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving » says Lao Tzu
Humm… Lao Tzu doesn’t sound like the best source of inspiration and motivation for our « New Year goal setting plan », does he?
I can see how Lao Tzu’s words can be easily misinterpreted and therefore misleading… Let’s take a deeper look at this.
He didn’t mean to say that you should just float around randomly, with no sense of time or direction (although it can be beneficial to sometimes do that for short periods of time). It is important to have a sense of direction, to have plans and goals to keep us alive and motivated.
What he really means is: While you are busy setting up your goals and completing the steps that lead to them, don’t forget that the getting to the goal is not what matters the most, the WAY to your goals is the most important element, the present moment is your only home, the only time you are actually living your life, the only thing you can almost say is yours.
So, what is the benefit of following Lao Tzu’s advice?
A MEANINGFUL LIFE
Your life is now, in this very second and what you are making of it is your choice. If your mind is focused on the future you are missing the point, you are not living your life, if you are too obsessed about the past you are living in your mind, not in your life… Being aware of the present moment is the key to happiness. In the present there is no stress, no fear that you will not achieve your goal, no regrets about what you may have done « wrong », there is just focus on where you are, doing what you are doing, being with whom you are being with… This is the best gift you could give ever give yourself! No one else can give it to you.
Now how can you transform these old wise words into tangible solutions when setting up your goals and plans for the New Year? 1- BALANCING YOUR LIFE
You can, for example, rearrange your weekly schedule so that it encompasses not only your work, projects, house/family chores, or admin tasks, but also:
Your physical health
Your emotional health
Make a list for the year of one BIG goal you would like to achieve in each category. Then divide each goal into smaller pieces : the steps, the actions you are willing to take in order to reach these goals. You can design one action per month per category. For the first month, alocate even smaller steps that you will take and allocate a time for them in your weekly schedule.
It is only an example of how you can get there, but if you have other suggestions, please feel free to share, it could help!
2- GOOD TIMING
Do you sometimes feel that Time is working against you? In our modern societies time tends to be apprehended as a component of life that has to be used « effectively », even « efficiently », something that has to be mastered, that you have to take control of…
Time becomes a stressor, an enemy that you have to beat, you live in a world of deadlines and emergencies, where priorities accumulate and are all equally important.
Time is in reality a wonderful companion you could work with, which will act in your favour and support you along the way, will empower your actions, and save your precious energy, if you only let it…
Life’s rhythm becomes frantic, you skip breakfast, run to be on time at work or to drop your children at school (or both), struggle all day to meet your deadlines, to live up to your boss’s expectations, to deal with all the unexpected « crises » which arise throughout the day, then you rush home, late, take care of the children, put them to bed, end up staying up late because it is the only time you can finally complete your pending personal tasks, or just collapsing in front of the TV to put your mind at rest.
Now How can you make time your ally rather than your enemy?
Chinese Medicine is all about living according to the rhythm of nature, time, and your body in order to preserve your energy and to increase the quality of your accomplishments; not necessarily the quantity.
Time can play in your favour if you respect it and work with it rather than against it. When you race against time, the quality of your work, your actions in general diminishes, and often results in you having to re-do whatever you were doing and is not working, and that is a « waste » of time.
Here is a how we can work with time so that time helps us improve the quality of our energy, and therefore the quality of our health, our achievements, our relationships, etc.
Timing is Key here.
Timing your year:
- Plan your activities, holiday or business trips, different phases of your projects, according to the time of the year. Do you remember the post about Autumn, the one about Winter… I highly recommend you have a look at them before carrying on reading. Seasons have specific energy qualities which will influence your own (and whatever you do) in a positive way if you are aligned with them.
- If you can, plan the launch of a project, the action phase in spring and summer, where the exhuberant and outgoing energy will be supporting the growth and expansion of your project and relationships. Plan to meet people and organize parties and celebrations during these seasons. Same, if you are planning to move, especially if you are an Expat, Spring and Summer will be perfect seasons for that.
- Leave the shadow part of your work for the autumn and the winter where the energy will be great for introspection, preparation of details, writing, researching…
Timing your day:
- `Likewise, by timing your day well, you can optimize its quality. Day is yang (bright, lively) as opposed to night which is yin (dark, deep). You can plan your physical, cerebral activities in the morning or around lunch time, and your less demanding tasks or activities in the afternoon. The evenings can be dedicated to family life, quiet restoring activities like meditation are recommended, but sports activities are to be avoided (morning and lunch time are ideal times for these). Sitting in front of the tv or the computer before going to bed are all yang activities which will deplete your energy at that time of the day. Ensure you go to bed early so you can fully restore and renew your energy during sleep, and enjoy an easier happier and more fulfilling day.
Consulting the I-Ching
- Consulting an I-Ching coach will help you see more clearly and align your actions so they are in optimal harmony with the energy of the present time, ensuring the best possible outcome for your endeavours.
Sayings like « time will tell » which we sometimes use lightly, are there to show that a lot of us believe that time and timing are powerful elements, most certainly as powerful as our actions, let’s trust them!
What do you think? Do you have other tricks or tips to plan for a great year? Do you have questions? Please let me know!
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