Welcome back to January. A transitional month that so blatantly marks a new beginning after a much-anticipated end. Look around, things may look familiar. Well… you’ve been here before.
As we say good-bye to the event-filled holiday clamor, there is a distinctive pause in January, a moment to take stock and look at the big picture. A moment to reflect on the movement of the patterns in your life.
Though January is not so subtle about noting these patterns. It even acts as some funny anniversary, distinctively marking our own process, and sometimes not in a way we particularly like.
Noticing these patterns can be… unpleasant, they may make the most noise in our heads already. We find ourselves in these repetitive cycles like a broken record: we gain and lose weight, feel overwhelmed by our financial struggles or feel lost in the damaging effects of addiction.
But it’s also important to give yourself credit for your more positive cycles, perhaps an entire year of going above and beyond in your career, or sticking to a regular exercise regime, perhaps saving more money or being an empathic friend.
Whatever YOUR cycle, notice it, take a moment to tune inward and give it your attention. These are the aspects of your life that you are repeating, maybe they are trying to tell you something. What is the message in your cycles? What is the deeper meaning in your own brand of repetition?
This is not an easy question. Often folks enter therapy seeking out the answers to this question. “WHY do I do what I do??” These cycles may veer toward the self-destructive type and can make us feel out of control, like we are the passenger in our own lives. And often, in January, we try our darndest to break them. And often, the following January, we find ourselves similarly entrenched.
Breaking these cycles may take some time, patience, and perhaps you may need some help. Maybe begin by writing it down, your struggles and the feelings that come up. Perhaps doing some research on your particular cycle or connecting to a support group online or in person. Maybe speaking to someone you trust about what is bothering you. Imploring yourself to put words to a process you never have. Or consider connecting with a therapist, a trusted guide who has training and experience in just these types of issues.
Whatever your path, let it be yours. Embrace the struggle, as it is a part of you. Acceptance of ourselves is often the first step on the path toward change. And in 11 months, when January again rears its head, you will be there with a patient heart and calm mind ready to witness the cycles of your own process. Because this time, you’ve been tuning in all along.