10 Jan, 2013
What Can We Learn From Janus The Roman God Of Reflection And New Opportunities? – Bev James
I’m your best friend; I’m your worst enemy,
I’m Janus, God of Doorways. Beginnings. Endings. Choices.
I’ve just returned from BBC Radio Bristol where I joined presenter Jemma Cooper to talk about the challenge of New Year’s resolutions: why people set them, why most of us don’t stick to them and what can we do to change our approach so we increase our chances of success. New Year is a great time to start afresh, to create a new chapter in our lives – and resolutions can be a great way to kick-start change, provided we make sure our goals are ones we really want to achieve.
For many people January is a time for reflection. Another year has passed: we have lived for 365 days since we last made a resolution – but what exactly have we done with the time we’ve been given? On New Year’s Eve did you find yourself saying, “Gosh – where did that year go? Time just flew by, I didn’t do half the things I had planned to do!” Or did you say, “Wow, what a year that was. How am I going to top it this year?”
Statistically, most people have ditched their New Year’s resolutions by the end of January each year – so why do we persist in setting new ones? And what can we do to make sure that, this year, the outcome will be different?
I have found an interesting piece of trivia that I would like to share with you. Janus was a Roman god, whose name comes from the Latin word ianua which means ‘door’. He is the god of doors, gates and bridges. The month of January was named after Janus because the month represents new beginnings. Janus is shown having two faces looking in opposite directions, one at the past and one at the future.
I like the symbolism of Janus because January is the doorway to a new year, where anything is possible should we choose to create or take opportunities.
It can be all too easy to jump into a new year without taking a moment to reflect on what we have learnt – whether good or bad – from the last year. Each year I create a learning log for myself. This consists of events, experiences and people who have impacted my life in the previous 12 months. Even bad experiences can hold valuable lessons – so everything goes in the log. Even though some experiences may have been negative the lessons learned can be positive.
Reflecting on personal highlights from the previous year can be very motivational. Just as TV talent shows often run summary clips of contestants’ best dancing, singing, sporting achievements or comedy moments, so too, you can focus on your own performance highlights and replay in your mind a short show reel of your personal best bits. What would your highlights look like for last year? What were your personal podium moments?
If you don’t have as many as you would have liked, don’t give yourself a hard time. Instead, create in your mind a preview of the year ahead. What do you want your personal show reel to feature at the end of this year? What will your highlights look like?
Like Janus we can look back and look ahead at the same time – to learn from the past, while creating a vision of the future that excites us, motivates us and make us want to be better than we are today.
There are many reasons that people don’t stick to their New Year’s resolutions. I think one of the main reasons is that few people truly believe that they can achieve their goal. (How often have you heard someone say, “I’ve decided to go on a diet, but I know I’ll never stick to it.”) Worrying that we may fail before we have even started just creates a preview of a future that we don’t want. So why not change the picture in your mind to one that paints a future that you really do want. Make sure that your goal truly is your goal, and not something you feel you should be aiming for, because someone else would like you to.
Other tips for success:
1. Don’t create a long shopping list of goals that can overwhelm you. Instead, focus on just one thing to start with, and apply laser like focus to achieving it.
2. Make sure your goal is one you are committed to and not just something you feel you ‘should’ do.
3. Write your goals down – or better still, create a vision board with pictures and statements that can you can look at for inspiration, every day.
4. Remember that a single setback does not make you a failure. If you stray from your path, just get back on track as soon as you can. A single bump in the road doesn’t have to derail your whole plan.
5. Consider who can support you. Is it time to hire a life coach to help you clarify your goals and help you turn your ideas and plans into action?
Finally – fine tune your self-belief and practice getting out of your own way. The most powerful resolution of all may simply be to keep telling yourself, “I will achieve my goals.”
I wish you well.