Who among us does not think about what we might do differently in the New Year?

Tied in to this thinking is the temptation to compare us to the cultural profile of how our lives should look at this age and this stage. I say temptation because it is not necessary, like so many other temptresses we encounter, but oh is it seductive.

Even those who practice meditation, have a deep connection with their source, their god, or their higher selves and go there first for guidance can get caught up in the comparison game.

So what? Is there anything wrong with comparing to see how far we’ve come, how much better off we are than some? In my humble opinion, yes, it is. It’s a form of judgment and judging others and ourselves creates negative feelings. These feelings have a hormonal consequence in the body in the form of stress and I don’t have to tell you that this is depleting your health.

Your health is not the only thing that suffers. Your spirit takes a beating. Little by little, judging yourself as not where you “should” be wears your spirit down like water running over a rock. Buying in when others judge you and judging others does the same thing.

Our default is to care for our bodies with the right food, exercise, lotions and potions. For 2010 I’d like to shine a light on the inner you, the part of you that holds your dreams, the place where joy is born. I’d like to pull spirit forward in terms of what needs to be protected and nurtured.

Here are 5 ways to honor, protect, and nurture the part of you that makes you and your gifts yours.

Live in the belief that you are perfect just as you are. Rather than point out what isn’t working, find what is and tell people that. Brag about your bad ass self and don’t attach any shame to sharing with someone just how your unique gifts benefit your life and the world.

When you get an idea that flies in the face of conventional wisdom pay attention to it in an open way. Maybe it’s just what your next step “should” be. Our tendency is to look at our sometimes odd ball ideas as just that rather than the out of the box, light bulb moment we’ve been waiting for.

As you plan your next year dream big and set goals you can accomplish so you practice having successes. Nothing kills the spirit like repeatedly letting ourselves down on things we say we want to do. Setting more milestones on the way to a goal will make it easy to build trust in your ability to show up for you.

Surround yourself with people who get you, support you, and hold you to the realization of your dreams. If someone close to you doesn’t think you can become a cellist “at this age” but it’s all you want to do, you must find it in yourself to tell that person their support is welcome but their limiting view of you is not. Try it, it’s freeing and your spirit will soar. When it does, your practice will flow, your results will come faster. This goes for any aspect of your desires and “wild hairs” to try something new.

Create your soup with awareness. Soup? It’s my favorite metaphor for life. (Thanks Linda!) When I make a literal soup in my kitchen I think carefully about what ingredients will go in to it. I have to consider texture, flavor, the balance of nutrients. What’s currently in your soup? Write down all of the ingredients that make up your life. Are you happy with all of them? Do you need more carrots and less garlic—more play time and less negative people who talk only about how life sucks? When you remove one thing will you replace it with something or just enjoy the less crowded look and feel of the soup?

Your soup will taste best when you write the recipe and choose your ingredients with care. There is an ingredient we get for free; joy. It’s the ultimate seasoning and it’s always just below the surface. Turn up the heat on creating your life your way and it will bubble up and maybe even overflow. I’ll take a joyful mess any day over nothing cooking at all.

Author's Bio: 

Gregory Anne Cox, Wellness Coach, Life Coaching, Midlife Wellness Consultant. We provide Midlife women's tools, tips and resources.