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January often feels like a ‘lost month’ between Christmas and the ‘real start of the year’ in February, so I thought I’d take this time to reflect on the importance of transitions, and ways in which we can use them to shape our lives intentionally.

Like anything that indicates change, transitions can be challenging. They represent new opportunities, but they also carry with them echoes of past challenges, success, and failure. In any case, transitions (like any excitement or worry) take a toll on your mind, emotions, and body. You’ve probably noticed how you sometimes feel tired (even though you go to bed early, your mind races in so many directions that you can’t sleep) and lose some of your love of life during times of transition. It’s not just the busyness and stress of Christmas parties that wears you out, it’s also the sense of transition and, while many people set goals for the new year, few people take the step that really makes a difference….

I realised a few years ago that at New Year (and other times of transition) there was an important step I needed to take which made a huge difference to my mental, emotional, and physical energy: this was releasing the past before setting my intention for the next phase. I liken it to washing dishes: if you have a glass of red wine, you rinse it out before changing to water, white wine, or some other beverage. But when we start something new, we don’t often get closure on the old, so we carry around the ‘dregs’ with us – both good and bad – and this acts like a heavy chain, stopping us from really moving forward wholeheartedly.

I don’t usually plan a trip over Christmas and the early part of the year (too many people everywhere) but I do set aside time for 3 things:-

  1. Review the year past and release all the associated tensions;
  2. Take some spontaneous ‘mini-vacations’ – last minute day-trips or overnight trips to put something ‘new’ into the mix; and
  3. Set my intentions for the year ahead: major goals, ideas, challenges.

I do the same thing each day during my transition from one activity to another: just take a moment to release tension; create change (it might be as simple as stretching and drinking water); and setting my intention for the next activity. Try it! You’ll be surprised how something so simple can be so energising.

The Simple Man – Paul Mutimer
The image for this post is from Paul’s “Simple Man” series. You can follow Paul on instagram “paulmutimerbooks”  https://www.instagram.com/paulmutimerbooks/?hl=en