January is the king of months for those looking to make new beginnings. After the reflections and indulgences of December, the excitement of a new year unfolding brings contemplation of better days ahead. Unfortunately for many, contemplation is where the party ends. As the clock ticks over into February and then unwinds into March, hopes of transformation begin to fade, the habits of old return, together with the routines of years past. Not because of a lack of enthusiasm or good intentions mind you, but rather a lack of knowing where to start.
What I am going to say now may sound radical as well as a little simplistic, but the best place for you to start is from exactly where you are right now. Take some time to actually let these words sink in, as they contain the seeds of your own personal greatness.
You've probably caught yourself contemplating at one stage or another what it would be like "if only" you could start somewhere else. I know that I have felt this way at various stages in the past. The type of internal ponderings I am talking about here are things such as, "If only I'd gone to University," "If only my parents hadn't got divorced," "If only I had more experience, then maybe, just maybe I'd have what it takes to go after my dreams."
If you find yourself engaging in this kind of dialogue, then start to build your awareness around it. Regardless of the experiences that you've either had to relish or endure in the past, they have given you one magical ingredient. They have prepared you for now. All your disappointments, triumphs, hopes and fears have brought you to this moment. In acknowledging and accepting them as they are, you consciously begin to reclaim your power to take control of your own life.
Know where you want to go
Once you have accepted where you are, you have to decide where it is you want to go. If no particular course of action immediately resonates with you, then begin to more fully explore the things that you enjoy doing most. Think about what your life would be like if you spent more of your life experiencing the things that you really love. We all have the power to achieve this within us, you just have to be prepared to be open to it.
If on the other hand you're not enjoying anything at this present time in life then it is time for you to start being a little more experimental. Begin to do things that you've never done before. Enroll on a photography course, strike up a conservation with someone you don't know or go and spend some time in nature. Make sure whatever you choose to do is outside of your present comfort zone. When you continually broaden your experience of life, you create the opportunities necessary to re-ignite your passion for living.
What are you prepared to change?
To get from where you are now to where you want to go you have to go through a process of transformation. It doesn't mean you have to change everything all at once but it does mean you have to change. Take some time to think about what it is you are 'prepared' to change in order to move in the direction of your dreams. So many of us focus on what we feel we 'should' change. For example, if you are a smoker and for whatever reason you feel it is something you 'should' change, just ask yourself whether it is something you are 'prepared' to change. As soon as you are 'prepared' to change, you will find a way to give up smoking forever.
When you are making changes in your life one of the most important things you can do is find yourself support. Support can come in many different forms. It may come in the form of an inspirational book, a workshop, a community group, an evening class, a trusted friend or family member, a work mentor, a personal trainer, a website forum or even a coach. Whatever the source, make sure that it feels comfortable for you, not just at an intellectual level but also from an intuitive level as well.
Having your essential support structures in place will give you the confidence to stride boldly in the direction of your dreams. All you have to do next is start from exactly where you are.