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A reflective start to the year (2024 edition)

A reflective start to the year (2024 edition)

Well, it’s almost time to shake off my holiday energy and gear back up to be back in the practice and back at Deakin University to continue my PhD, and as is my usual practice I’ve returned to my regular writing place on a Sunday with a strongly reflective mindset.  When I went back to look at what I’d written last year for my first blog of the year (and then the two previous years before that) I was amused, and yet not at all surprised, to find that it’s a very normal / usual experience for me to be super reflective at this point in the year.

In keeping with my habitual ‘do-list’ for the summer holidays I’ve worked through my annual reflective practice that I have been doing for I think nine years now.  I am a huge proponent of taking the time and space to retrospectively review and reflect on what the last 12 months has taught me, how I have grown as a human on this crazy earth, and what habits I have inadvertently picked up that I’d like to put back down and exploring new habits that I’d like to make room for.  I worked through a reflective practice; a core values review and a considered intention setting for the upcoming 12 months. For those of you who haven’t heard from me about this before it’s something that I’ve refined over the last nine years that has resulted in a very personalised practice (I’m a real create of habit!) that goes something like this:

  1. Review of my core values (see previous blogs HERE and HERE)
  2. Selection of my ‘word’ for 2024 (this year, it’s ‘soar’)
  3. Unravel your Year Workbook (click HERE for link)
  4. Annual intention setting (goals) for 2024

When we set aside time to reflect on our own experiences, we allow ourselves the space to grow.  If we want to be and feel different, we need to do different, but in my experience, this needs to be something we do in a considered manner – it is rarely successful when we leave it to chance.

In amongst my reflecting and exploring this year I was doing some podcast listening and reading and something struck me around the role of goals, habits and what I’ve settled on calling ‘non-negotiables’.  In a podcast I was listening to (Ten Percent Happier episode from 05/01/2024 with Bill Hader) there was a conversation that went something like, “so I was doing my daily meditation practice and I couldn’t understand why my whole life wasn’t just completely better” … “until I realised I was still drinking all the coffee which I knew didn’t help my anxiety, and eating all the junk food…etc.”  The interviewee (Bill Hader) was explaining that it took him a while to register that mediation and mindfulness were just two of the components in his life that needed to evolve in order to fully support his debilitating anxiety.

All this got me thinking about this quote from James Clear (author of Atomic Habits), “new goals don’t deliver new results. New lifestyles do. And a lifestyle is a process, not an outcome. For this reason, all of your energy should go into building better habits, not chasing better results” and how it connects to this idea of ‘non-negotiables’.  It’s these non-negotiable practices that become habits, which in turn help us to create or curate a different lifestyle, or way(s) of being.  The non-negotiables are things (practices / habits) that we need to come to decide upon for ourselves, they’re deeply personal like that.  And it’s really hard, even when we’re not navigating periods of mental ill-health or trauma responses, to develop these new habits but that is what growth looks like, it is what healing looks like.


If you have decided that 2024 is the year that you start therapy, or if you’d like someone to help you reflect and support you with your intentions, we have a team of therapists at Thea Baker Wellbeing and we have IMMEDIATE availability – please reach out to us at: / 03 9077 8194.