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Want to make a change in 2014? Take a tip from nature

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As we ring in the New Year, it is hard not to reflect on the past year and think of what we want to change or do differently moving forward. This is the time when our hearts and minds are open to new possibilities. In the depths of winter we await the signs of spring as nature is open to new possibility with us. Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not we are in sync with the natural world around it and if we open our eyes just a bit more and expand our awareness we can use the model nature gives us to help us take this gift of hope and turn it into action for the New Year. There is a reason why nature follows a cycle of birth, death and rebirth. It allows for second chances. During the dark months we spend time thinking of those aspects of ourselves that we wish to change or are not comfortable with. The turn of the New Year brings that sense of hope and renewal giving us the motivation and will to apply what we have learned as we move forward. Here are a few tips to help move you along in the beginning phase of the change process.

Make a list It might sound a bit simple but you have to start somewhere. By making a list of things that are important to you, similar ideas will begin to emerge. By then focusing on the similar ideas, you can begin to clarify what is really important beyond the surface. Just making the list and taking some time to work with identifying what’s important will lead to more. In nature, there is no time wasted on the past. There is a lesson in that. The list is just the start for you getting through the muck to what really matters.

Let go of expectations As you begin to get down to what you really want out of your life, you will undoubtedly begin to form judgments and expectations in your mind about those goals you set. Nature doesn’t expect things to happen. It lets things evolve as they may, adapting and changing for the best results. Take some time to identify what those expectations are then make a commitment to let them go. Expectations are usually based on past experience and can lead to negative thinking and self-sabotage.

Get quiet Meditation gets thrown around often as a cure-all for what ails you. But it is more than that, it requires discipline and consistency. But the rewards of taking time every day to sit and get quiet in your mind and heart will offer far more benefits than you can imagine. Nature is in a constant state of change but there are always times of stillness and quiet like the reflection of still water. Again let go of your expectations and do some research on meditation styles to find what works for you. To start just spend 10 minutes a day to sit in a quiet space with your eyes closed and just be. Thoughts will come and you can let them go. When you get sidetracked thinking about a project or kids or whatever, just bring your attention back to empty silence. Try this for a week and you will want to sit for longer!

Get inspired There are many ways to inspire change. Finding inspiration in the world around you isn’t hard if you take the time to look. Take a walk outside and look for signs of transformation and change in nature. Surround yourself with art, quotes, friends and activities that inspire you to move toward the life you want.

Do No matter what, change isn't going to happen sitting on the couch. Nothing changes if you don’t. Even a small step forward each day is a step closer to where you want to go. Remember that even the smallest steps will add up to the greatest change. Nowhere in the handbook of life does it say you have to make changes all the time and do it all at once.

Ultimately making a change is all up to you. It takes energy, momentum, motivation and courage. But the good news is that nature has already built that into you. It takes an act of faith just to get up and get the ball rolling. But once it does, you won’t want to stop!

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