So here we are. Another year has arrived and as always it’s up to each of us to decide what that means to us. It’s always a good time to look back at the year that has passed, to enjoy our successes, and to learn from those things that perhaps didn’t go the way we wanted or expected.

As a therapist I work on continuous improvement so I don’t set myself resolutions for the year ahead. I certainly have goals and plans, building upon what I’ve learnt from the year before and incorporating any new learning. If there is something that I want to try then the start of the year is a good time to do it.

This time last year I went for my first run in a very long time. I remember getting up early and walk/running along the river. That first time was for fifteen minutes and I didn’t think I was going to survive it. By building up slowly and methodically I managed to achieve my goal of running a 10k (SimplyHealth Great Run in Olympic Park) in July raising money for CHECT. I joined a running club near Richmond to hold myself accountable for keeping up the running. 10k became 10 miles and in March this year it becomes just over 13 miles as I have entered a half marathon. I’m not a fast runner, and as for a lot of runners a race seems to be enjoyable when you’ve finished running rather than during the actual run. The social aspect of the club is what motivates me to get out at least once a week and run at least five miles.

I also made the transition from being an employee to a full-time Cognitive Hypnotherapist. The original plan – to move gradually and slowly from one to the other – became stopping one at the end of one week and beginning the other the next. Why? Opportunity and circumstance. It made me face many fears and deal with many doubts. As I mentioned in my previous blog I didn’t do this alone and had the help and support of many people.

My life looks very different today than it did this time last year. If you had asked me a year ago whether I would be where I am now I may well have smiled and perhaps said something like, “If only…” As the year progressed I learned to see problems as obstacles and people helped me to see that my fears were something that I created in my head. This isn’t the same as unrealistic optimism. I still plan, but I don’t presume that the worst is going to happen and I know that there is no reason why I cannot be successful. I discovered a wonderful quote by Kierkegaard* that said, “Life is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be explored”. I love that. Immediately it changes the way I feel about things.

And so this year I’m exploring what my life might be like without alcohol. I don’t drink that much I believe and I enjoy drinking when I do, but I’m curious. What difference would it make to my life if I didn’t drink alcohol at all? It’s only a year in my life and so I’m indulging my curiosity.

One of the earliest things I learnt training as a therapist is to be and to remain curious. Asking ‘what’s that about’? It drives what I do. What are you curious about this year? And where could that curiosity lead you? Perhaps your life will look very different this time next year because you allowed your curiosity to let you try something different.

Happy New Year.

*Checking the source of the quote it seems to be, “Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced”, but somehow the quote as I discovered it works for me. Your mileage may vary of course.