You know on New Year’s Eve when you resolved to drink kale smoothies and work out 5x a week starting January 1 while perhaps in a drunken, and most certainly depleted state. Your December may have been full of merriment and good sentiment. Perhaps it was a good holiday—not too many family upsets (because you’ve been practicing Upset is Optional).  But it was likely busy, hectic, without a lot of grounding or deep restfulness or listening to your inner wisdom. Or, maybe it was. All I know is that when I have made resolutions in years past, they felt like a heavy weight on my head because they weren’t well thought out.  And, if I did feel excited during the first week of the brand-spanking-New Year, something interfered. Maybe the reasons were legitimate, but most likely they were excuses to cease the activity I really didn’t want to do in the first place.

A few years ago, a colleague said that she ended the “Resolution Nonsense” by taking all of January to figure out what she wanted out of the New Year. Ah! Hearing this, I recall relief flooding through my body. This made sense because I had a bodily sensation which I call relief. Relief = no tension, ease. Ease = Yes! And, my mind was satisfied because I know that according to the practices and wisdom of Chinese Medicine, winter is a time of deep rest, of going deep into the well. There’s not a lot of action. There is less light to remind us to go inward. The landscape reflects our bodies.

Each season asks us to pivot and adjust, to mirror what nature is doing. Right now, nature is in retreat. Unless it warms up again, the trees won’t flower or bloom until Spring—which is closer than you think.  In the Chinese calendar, inklings of Spring start in February, coinciding with the Chinese New Year. And, this is another reason to take a hiatus on your resolutions.

Here is what I do and I suggest it for you: Take all of January to figure out a theme for your year (mine is Gratitude) and then line up your wishes and desires under that theme. Consider January your dream-time. Once you take the time to imagine and visualize what really inspires you, then your actions will be in alignment with them. Then, when we ease up to the Chinese New Year—the Year of the Fire Monkey on February 8—you will be rested and ready to take action. You won’t be operating on fumes, but rather on deep nourishment you’ve cultivated until this point. This is the soil for you to bloom brilliantly in Spring.  Your desires will have a solid foundation because you’ve done sufficient work on reflecting and listening to yourself on what 2016 will look like FOR YOU.  How will you know? You will be practicing listening to your body. A body at ease is your indicator for “YES, let’s go!” A tense body is a signal for “NO, there’s another way!”

So, no kale smoothies, okay? Unless you like kale. Or smoothies. No gym 5x a week if that feels like that might break you physically or mentally. What works for someone else doesn’t mean it’ll work for you.

My wish for you this New Year is to find out what lights your inner fire for you, and only you. Stay tuned for information on the Fire Monkey Year. Think mischievousness and fun!