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Remaining Present as 2018 Comes to an End

December 14, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and enjoyed being with friends and family. Hopefully you were able to navigate Thanksgiving with peace and ease, finding time to prioritize yourself and practice AWESOME self-care.

 

With fewer than 20 days left in 2018, we are in OVERDRIVE, and I am sure you’ve been feeling it! I encourage everyone to continue to prioritize self-care, even as things seem to be getting more and more crazed with family, work, and holiday commitments.  

 

The holidays can be a hard time of year. We often find ourselves feeling vulnerable and somewhat needier, looking to find some sort of closure when it comes to the way we spent our year; looking to find some kind of measurable way to evaluate it.

 

Unrealistic New Year's Resolutions

 

Did you stick to your 2018 resolution? If so, what does that feel like?  

 

If, like many of us, you might not have followed through completely on your resolution… how did that make you feel?

 

New year’s resolutions can be disheartening. It can feel as if we set ourselves up to fail. Have you noticed this? And if so, isn’t it a crappy way to feel, and an even crappier way to begin a new year?

 

I am going to challenge you this holiday season not to think so much about what you want to achieve or accomplish in 2019. Instead, I want to motivate you to think about how you want 2018 to end.  

 

What is going to give you peace of mind within the next 20 days? What will put you in a better position to be present when 2019 arrives?

 

Focusing on the present moment is so vital, but it is a fleeting practice within our society.  Practicing mindfulness can be integrated into our daily life, if we step aside and allow it. We often have trouble negotiating the present, when our minds almost always seem to be dominated either by the past or the future.

 

When discussing how we can focus more on the present moment, another one of my favorite therapeutic metaphors seems appropriate.

 

Think about driving your car. When we drive, we have to take inventory of so many different viewpoints. We have to balance looking both in front of us and behind us. Primarily, we are looking forward towards the windshield, but we are also using the rearview mirror, because we have to conscious of what's behind us. There is a lot to navigate on the road, and it is important not to get stuck on one viewpoint, but to be fluid, in order to see all angles. This same concept can be applied to our lives.

 

 

Sankalpa's as a Realistic Alternative to Resolutions

 

This year, I was introduced to the idea of creating a Sankalpa. “Sankalpa” is a Sanskrit word that translates into “will, determination, purpose…”

 

A Sankalpa is similar to the idea of a resolution in many ways, however, it offers us the opportunity to look at ideas and thought patterns that we may want to revisit and possibly enhance. Creating a Sankalpa is more focused on setting an intention, one which is often emotionally or spiritually linked to something that we find meaningful.

 

A Sankalpa, besides being an intention, can become a personal mantra articulating what you want to manifest and change within your life. Once you create your chosen Sankalpa, you may wish to use it for 12-18 months, or until you feel that it has been truly incorporated into your life.

 

Allowing ourselves time to truly focus on this one core mantra inevitably leads to a myriad of healthier changes.

 

Next year, instead of getting trapped in the pitfalls of the failed new year’s resolution, I encourage you to think about the greater long-term benefits of creating and committing to a Sankalpa.

 

In many ways, choosing to commit to a Sankalpa instead of a more typical and more superficial new year’s resolution is akin to choosing to live a healthy lifestyle as opposed to struggling through yo-yo dieting, which does not promote lasting or consistent change.

 

Formulating your Sankalpa is not hard, it just takes some self-awareness when it comes to knowing what you truly want to manifest more of in your life, and allowing these things to surface. Once you have identified the areas you want to infuse more self-love and care into, you can break them down into a concise statement. This becomes your Sankalpa.

 

For example, if you want to manifest a romantic relationship, your Sankalpa may be something along the lines of: “I focus on being available for connection, and being open to different types of relationships.”

       

Having this kind of self-awareness can be very powerful, and can help us to avoid the pitfalls of fleeting new year's resolutions, which again, can be discouraging and can lead us to feel as though we’ve failed.

 

As you commit more and more to practicing and incorporating your Sankalpa, other behavioral shifts are likely to happen. You may notice increased mental and physical functioning. The more we embrace our chosen Sankalpa, the more attainable it becomes, and the more it puts us into a space of empowerment. This is how we can make 2019 more meaningful and purposeful.

 

I encourage you to try it out, and let me know how it goes!

 

Wishing everyone a happy holiday season, and a great end of 2018.

 

Till 2019, take amazing care,

 

Hillary

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© 2018 Hillary Schoninger LCSW. All Rights Reserved.

1 E Superior Suite #506, Chicago, IL 60611