Tune in to past success

2nd January 2004 at 00:00
Roxanne Clark offers tips to help you kick-start the new term in style

You can almost hear the collective sigh of relief across the land as the festive brouhaha subsides. And no matter how much you enjoy the seasonal celebrations, it's great to have a few days' respite before the new term begins.

We all start the year with great plans to look after ourselves, but our good intentions often puff out just as the gym membership becomes a permanent monthly payment.

So before you sign on the dotted line, give yourself some time to relax and focus on what you have already achieved, and think how the successes of 2003 can help you create what you need and want this year. Use these visualisation techniques to create a supportive strategy for the new term and beyond.

Sit comfortably in a quiet room, close your eyes and listen to some soothing music. Have a diary or journal beside you.

Become aware of your breath, counting to four as you inhale and exhale, gradually letting go. Turn your thoughts inward, focus on your successes over the past year - big and small.

Gradually move your thoughts to your accumulated experience and what it is that enthuses you. Enjoy these feelings. Stay aware of your breathing, letting it become slow and even.

Still sitting comfortably, and with eyes closed, ask yourself:

* What am I looking forward to in the next term?

* What gives me the energy to do my work?

* What have I created to support myself in the past year?

* What would I like to include in my life, which is purely for me?

Explore these questions, acknowledging any resistance without letting it interfere.

Become aware of the music and how you're sitting. Slowly open your eyes and stretch your arms upwards, inhaling deeply and exhaling as you bring your hands gently to your lap Write down your achievements over the past year and how you feel about them, what it is that you feel enthusiastic about at work, what you are looking forward to in the new term and what gives you energy in your work, and all the supportive activitiesprocesses you have created in your life.

Write down too one regular activity, just for you, that is nourishing and energising.

Regard this journal as a personal template, reading it to remind yourself of the positive things you can and have created. Continually update it, develop a strong, self-supporting foundation for the future.

Roxanne Clark teaches Pilates, yoga and holistic stress management in business, adult education and schools. Contact: yogawithatwist@yahoo.co.uk

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