Begin Again

Just Breathe

New beginnings are a natural for January. It’s the time to formally start – resolutions, diets, the breaking old habits and the beginning shiny new ones. At my local gym, there tends to be a fitness spike and the place is brimming with good intentions as new (or returning) members make a New Year’s resolution to exercise. I have certainly followed that impulse to let January 1st be the day to begin anew.

There are tons of online articles and resources to be found that can help you make and keep sensible New Year’s resolutions but let’s face the fact that we may stumble. Even with the best of intentions, inevitably our resolve falters, we slip and miss a day which turns into two which turns into falling back into the old habitual patterns that we wanted to leave in the old year. The reason why this happens varies from person to person but we aren’t perfect and we stumble. We struggle to stay motivated when the “new” gets challenging and our commitment to it and more importantly to ourselves and our well being waivers. Then what do you do?

Begin again (and again and again and again)

Over the years, one of my favorite sessions to have with clients centers around giving themselves permission to begin again. The first step is always to just breathe and to come back to your body. The part of you that shows up when you stumble can be your best friend or worst enemy and it is up to you who you let in the door.

The critical, harsh voice is not your friend but is instead all about pushing down the part of you that wanted to make change in the first place.

In it’s own perverse way, it is trying to protect you from the unknown and from potential disappointment, heartache, and pain but it is keeping you from your best life by keeping you small.

After you come back to your body through your breath, your second step is to give yourself 100% full credit for showing up in your life by simply beginning.

That’s right, 100% full, standing ovation, credit!

And, if you do happen to miss a day (or a week or a month or even a year) then you get to move to the third important step which is to begin again (and again and again and again).

At first, when I introduce the idea of beginning again, it is met with a lot of resistance. It is a challenge because we are conditioned to believe that we have to get it right the first time, we have to be the very best from the start or else we are a complete and total failure. We jump into comparison mode when we notice that someone else (who almost always has been at it longer) is so much better and we completely skip over the part where we give ourselves a break because we are a beginner.

Within you, there is a nurturing, supportive, loving part. It is the part of you that set the resolution in the first place.It is the part that wants you to lose weight or eat healthier or quit smoking or exercise more all so that you can live longer and stronger and happier.

That voice is your best friend and is the part to listen for – the voice that gently reminds you of your beginner’s status and can remind you that no matter what happens, no matter how long it has been that in the very next moment you always have the opportunity to begin again.

So as you take the first steps into 2013, I encourage you to allow yourself to be filled with sheer excitement and anticipation.

If resolutions are your thing then make some. If choosing a word for the year begins your year with hope, clarity and focus then choose one. (My word for 2013 is permission.) Give yourself 100% full credit for committing both to your well being and to becoming the best version of yourself that you can be and remember that no matter what the next moment brings, you can always take a deep breath, give your credit for what you have done and begin again (and again and again).