January, and New Years Day in particular, is synonymous with New Years resolutions, a time to throw out the old and welcome the new, a time to set new goals, to start off on the right foot, to change old habits that do not serve us anymore. That just sounds to me like a whole lot of pressure to “get it right”. What happens when life throws you a curve ball straight up? What happens when all your best intentions are put to the test in the first few weeks of the new year? Usually this can mean the stalling or the end of keeping those resolutions, leaving you feeling flat, defeated and unmotivated.

But what if we looked at the New Year differently? What if we used the power of being in a state of gratitude to shift our perceptions of those resolutions, change our reactions to the bumps in the road? What I am suggesting is a kinder, more practical approach to the start of each new year. An approach where you honor the past year and set intentions for the year ahead that are manageable, realistic and more resilient to the times when you come across the bumps in the road that inevitably happen in life. I don’t always end the year with the same goals that I started with.  I usually sit and reassess my goals each month, giving thanks for those experiences that have helped me grow. I take the pressure off by being open to those goals changing and evolving as the year progresses.

Instead of having strict Resolutions lets start thinking of the New Year as a time for New Beginnings. This is my practice at the end of each year and beginning of the new year but can be done at any time of the year, any time you feel the need to reset, to regroup and reframe.

During the last couple of days of each year I reflect on the year that has been, either silently or in my art journal, acknowledging the experiences that I have had. I sit down and write a gratitude list, and reflect on the moments in the year that made it memorable in my inner landscape. I list the obvious, like things I accomplished, but then go deeper and focus on positive changes in attitude that have arisen out of these experiences. Then, at the start of the new year, I light some White Sage incense (which is great for space clearing), sit and meditate for a short time to ground myself, connect to my spirit and soul and chose my word of the year. For me the word of the year is usually a feeling that I would like to have for the coming and forthcoming years. I then sit down with my gratitude list and my reflections on the previous year, and begin to plant new seeds of desire by creating the first art journal page of the year. This usually involves making a brand new journal and setting intentions for my artwork in that journal. It also usually involves expression of my chosen word of the year.

This year my word is “Trust” as seen in the image above. Already there have been challenges for myself and those around me, so my resolve has been tested from day one. My practice of being in an attitude of gratitude has helped me adapt to change, stay open to new possibilities and open to accepting what the universe has planned for me. So lets not get all caught up in having to set strict resolutions that add pressure to our lives, lets think of new beginnings, exciting new challenges and reasons to be grateful that we are alive right here and right now.

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I am an artist, a bookkeeper, a wife and mother living in Melbourne, Australia. I am a seeker of all things creative, beautiful and joyful. I believe that life is to be lived passionately and enthusiastically. Life is an adventure and you just have to choose to live it.

I am a bookkeeper by day and an artist at night and weekends, teaching monthly art journal classes at a local scrapbook shop. I am always striving for that balance between work, art, play and spiritual practice.

I am an avid reader of fiction and non fiction. My favourite non fiction authors include Louise L Hay, Caroline Myss and Wayne W Dyer.

I am a student, constantly eager to learn. I love meditation and learning all about metaphysical and spiritual practices that can help my soul’s growth and understanding.

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