Happy New Year! Happy New Decade! Will you make a resolution this year? I have one: I will work more consciously this year.
I am hoping it carries into the rest of my life as well. To me, being more consistently conscious, moment-to-moment, is a worthy goal.
New Year’s Resolution: Work More Consciously
Some people set New Year’s Resolutions and others do not. I just read a research study that indicates two out of three Americans are making 2020 New Year’s Resolutions, and that younger folks are more likely to do so than older ones.
My guess is that older people have failed often enough they might perceive setting resolutions as either a waste of time or adding to negative perceptions they have about themselves already. It does not have to be that way.
This is a great article on how to make resolutions that feel good. In fact, a resolution to work more consciously can help you BAIL OUT of negativity. It is inherently rewarding.
I also find it helpful to realize that a resolve is not a rule or a law. I don’t expect myself to work more consciously every moment, and I know for sure I’ll fail to be fully conscious for entire days and weeks at a time. But that’s Okay.
Elements of Working Consciously
You will see here that BAIL OUT is an acronym for how I think of seven aspects of consciousness. To me, stress reactions like frustration, anger and other negative emotions leave me feeling like I am on a sinking ship.
So here are seven elements of being more conscious that can BAIL OUT that boat and lighten your mood. Remembering to BAIL OUT before the boat is underwater is ideal, but can help at any point.
Be aware – The foundation for consciousness is awareness or mindfulness – being in the present moment and aware of what’s happening both around you and inside of you. While this is very simple, it’s not easy. We are not trained to be aware in each moment, and our culture discourages it with distractions and a need for constant outside stimulation.
Accept reality – Once you are aware of reality, the next challenge is to accept it as it is. There will be pleasant and unpleasant aspects, but if you can accept that both are there – along with some neutral ones, you can begin to see what’s real or true. Only then can you see clearly what’s working – and what you want to change.
Invite joy – To counteract negativity, it’s useful to intentionally invite in joy. I find that by simply being conscious as I slow my breath and open my heart, I typically feel far more joy. Try wishing yourself joy, and notice what arises. Or you can visualize something or someone that does bring you joy and make that vivid.
Live with love – As with joy, love is a native emotion in every human being. As we become more aware of where our triggers and fears lie, we can bring more love to ourselves in those situations. At work, it’s also important to recognize which people you love to work with; what situations you love to handle, what you love about the work or results of your work.
Overcome negativity – When you notice that critical voice in your head, stop. For me, the voice is often saying something like: “You are so stupid! You deserve to feel bad.” So I stop and realize: that’s not true. Breathing back into the joy and the love that’s at the core of who I am can allow the negative thoughts to subside… most of the time.
Use your body – If you’re like me, you often live in your head, especially at work. Yet our bodies are a dashboard. Sense your body to learn how it feels when you’re starting to register stress in ways that are not helpful. When you feel shoulders rise or knots in the stomach, pay attention! It’s also important to move the body, rest it, or give it what it needs.
Try something new – While the unknown can trigger fear and stress, it can also shake us out of the ruts that can lead to that sinking feeling. Know that it’s okay to fail or do something poorly. Those are your best growth and learning opportunities. If you decide to do what you’ve always done, you can also just play out another possibility in your head. See how it might have felt.
Just as when someone is knocked out or has fainted, you can use these aspects to revive yourself. Regaining consciousness may not be instant – you may need to do something for a while before the negativity abates and you feel more stable in your consciousness.
And while each of those ways to work more consciously is simple, they are not easy. So you should not expect to sustain them. All you can expect to do is regain consciousness.
You still may not have 2020 vision for 2020, but consciousness can improve your clarity. We could all use more clarity.
This year, join me to work more consciously. And celebrate when you do. Even just a little. Once in a while.