Want to fail-proof your New Year’s Resolutions? Look to the moon.

So, it’s almost 2 weeks into January. I bet most of you set some resolutions, goals, aims, whatever you want to call them. I bet this isn’t the first year you’ve done it. And I bet some of you are already wavering on those lofty goals. That’s human nature – when we go all in and face a setback, it’s easy to throw in the towel. But it doesn’t have to be that way; I’ve found a way of setting my “resolutions” and goals that has meant that I’ve actually been achieving them, and it’s so much easier than I thought it’d be. Allow me to elaborate, because this might help you, too…

A little over a year ago, I came across this blog post written by the lovely Vanessa, and she instantly had my attention. She wrote beautifully about the meaning and importance of the cycles of the moon in her life, and it resonated with me incredibly strongly. After expressing interest in how she incorporated the moon phases in her life, Vanessa also kindly sent me an email, explaining a little more about how she lives by the moon. After a bit more reading of my own, I learned that as the moon goes through several phases while it orbits the earth, it is believed that each phase is a “good time” to do certain things or ask certain questions of yourself, starting on a new goal/dream/desire each new moon.

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It really hit me then – this was what I needed in my life. I’ve always been a goal setter, a list maker, a checker, someone who needs a target to aim for. I’m need my compass set in the directions of my dreams at all times, otherwise I’m totally lost. But it’s always been hard for me to know when to set aside to sit down and re-assess where I’m at – like most people, I tended not to do this until I was so lost and spun out of control, that 10 minutes of contemplation just wouldn’t cut it.

I’ve spent the last year living by the moon phases. And, unlike previous years, I’ve actually achieved a hell of a lot more than ever before; my typically unrealistic New Year’s resolutions hadn’t all fallen by the wayside a few weeks into 2016. By December 31st 2016, I had a lot to be proud of; physically, mentally, emotionally, materially, I’d made progress.

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There is a truckload of information on meanings and methods available online (just Google “moon phases”), so I won’t give you all of the opinions and options out there – instead, I just wanted to write about what’s working for me.

 

First, I like to write each phase of the moon into my diary, so it’s front of mind. This will obviously be different depending on where you live, but I find this calendar to be pretty helpful.

Then, when I open my diary on January 12th and see I’ve written in there that it’s a full moon night, I set aside a bit of time before I go to bed to sit quietly (maybe outside under the moon if the weather is working with me, or up in my book nook), light some candles or incense, and reflect.

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As I wrote before, it’s believed that specific moon phases align with specific situations and questions, and I did a lot of reading  about what was best to focus on in each phase. Again, there are a lot of different ideas out there, but I combined and condensed a few sources that made sense to me, and came up with the following list of questions; on each moon phase, I mull over the corresponding questions and write down anything I want to come back to…

NEW MOON
– a time of conception, new beginnings and starting new projects
what do you want to start? what are your goals? what do you desire?

 *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

CRESCENT MOON
– resolve is tested, time to grow and overcome fears
what do you fear? what do you need to guarantee the survival of your vision?

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

FIRST QUARTER MOON
– a time to decide who you are and where you intend to go, time to reach a major turning point but facing outer resistance
– set your intentions and create an action plan

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

GIBBOUS MOON
– a time of waiting, a period of adjustment as you adapt to reality and limitations, time to gain perspective and see where changes can be made
–  what isn’t working? how can it be fixed?

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

FULL MOON
– re-evaluate and come to a compromise between expectations and reality, any difficulties are learning opportunities whether you succeed or fail
– what difficulties have you encountered? what of your original goals have you manifested?

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

DISSEMINATING MOON
– time for introspection and review, ask questions, share ideas, gain clarity, time to deal with the outcome whether you’ve achieved your goals or not
– review your original goal; are there any questions that need to be asked and answered? is there anything that no longer serves you that you can let go?

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    * 

THIRD QUARTER MOON
– do you enlarge, rethink or replace your original vision? pull things apart and see them from a broader point of view, search for meaning
– review your original goal – enlarge, rethink or review? have you let go of the things you needed to?

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

BALSAMIC MOON
– time to stop striving and rest/retreat, grieve any losses and let things come to their natural end
– spend some time alone to reflect on the cycle, consider what is coming to an end, clean your physical space, rest

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And that’s the bare bones of it. If you’re really into it and astrology is your jam, you may want to create a more elaborate ritual. If you’re not really into the “hippy dippy” stuff, you may want to just use this more as a goal setting guide. But whichever way you want to look at it, I’ve found that being guided by the moon phases has made it so much easier to break down what I want and work out how to get it. It’s forced me to slow down, think things through, focus, ask the right questions of myself, and commit to my goals (after all, each moon cycle only lasts 4 weeks before you can “reset” your goals).

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Eat. Travel. Blog. The 2016 highlights reel.

And here we are again, the end of another year. It’s funny how at this point, a lot of people tend to go down the path of “it’s been a shit year, I’m so ready to leave it behind and start again!” But the irony is that we can start again any time we please, be it the 1st of January or the 18th of August or any other day we choose.

It’s also a sad human trait that we seem to remember our hurts and pains so much more easily than the good times; I’m as guilty of that as anyone else. But I’m trying really hard not to be this time around. Yes, some crappy stuff happened this year. But some pretty amazing stuff happened, too.

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We went to Vietnam.
And started booking out trip around the world.
Added to my ever expanding tattoo collection.
Took at art class.
Took (and passed) a course on the history of medieval magic with the University of Barcelona.
Started drawing again.
Started water colouring.
Made a few hand-stitched, leather bound journals.
Started learning to paint my nails.
Completed and self-published my cookbook.
Took a mini road trip through Tasmania.
Went glamping.
Visited a ton of markets.
Brunched with my best friends.
Drank all of the tea.
Read many of the books.

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And once again, I got to write, here. And that’s pretty awesome 🙂
I thought I’d do a little recap again, like last year, and take a look back at my little blog’s 2016 highlights…

Most viewed Melbourne eats this year were:
1. Gellibrand Cafe, Melbourne (brunch/café)
2. Kitty Burns, Melbourne (brunch)
3. Mr Wednesday, Melbourne (brunch)
4. Ruby’s, Melbourne (café)
5. Sir Charles, Melbourne (café/brunch)

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My favourite new eats in Melbourne this year, in no particular order:
1. Kitty Burns (cafe/brunch)
2. Le Café Flo (French café)
3. The Old Milk Bar Café (brunch)
4. Umberto’s Espresso Bar (Italian)
5. Green Park Dining (all day)

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And my Melbourne favourites that continue to have my love over the years:
1. Sookie La La (diner/café)
2. 1090 (burgers)
3. Lievità (pizza)
4. The Vertue of the Coffee Drink (brunch) V.2
5. Sir Charles (café/brunch)

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This year’s most popular international eats posts:
1. Eat & shop here: Ameyoko Market, Tokyo, Japan
2. Eat here: Shinjuku Asia-yokochō (rooftop street food market), Tokyo, Japan
3. Eat here: Suzume no Oyado, Tokyo, Japan (okonomiyaki)
4. Eat here: Bale Well, Hoi An, Vietnam
5. One of the best meals of my life: late night street food in Bangkok

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Like last year, recipes not so popular, but most viewed were:
1. Pork, macadamia, cranberry & sage sausage rolls (again!)
2. White chocolate, raspberry & pistachio brownies
3. Cacao nib & oat cookies (sugar, lactose & gluten free)
4. Manchego & chorizo quiche
5. T2 lamington tea porridge

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And the recipes I most enjoyed eating and cooking were:
1. Brown sugar shortbread 
2. Nussecken (German nut biscuits)
3. Roast sweet potato, date & olive salad
4. Cacao, puffed quinoa & pistachio granola
5. Orange, cranberry & rosemary cake

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Your favourite travel related posts?
1. Eat & shop here: Ameyoko Market, Tokyo, Japan
2. Shop here: Kiddy Land & Character Street, Tokyo, Japan
3. Ben Thanh Night Market, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
4. Morning Glory Cooking Class, Hoi An, Vietnam
5. TBT: Crawling through the Cu Chi Tunnels in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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I love writing, and would do it even if I were the only one reading. But it looks like there are quite a few of you out there who’ve been reading along, too, and I can’t thank you enough for that 🙂 Thank you for making me smile with every “like” and comment, for your kind words, and those of you who also blog, thank you for your posts, too 🙂

 

Here’s to another big year!

My (meaningful) New Year’s Resolutions for 2016

Happy New Year amazing people 🙂 While I don’t actually really celebrate the night in a big way anymore, I am a big one for fresh starts and planning to succeed. I’m also sick and f-ing tired of making the same idiotic resolution every year to “finally lose weight and be skinny.” Because that absurd sentence has robbed me of so much time and happiness and sanity over the years, it’s embarrassing. So, this year, I’m making a very strong and conscious effort to remember who I was before the world told me who I should be, and making some more realistic and meaningful resolutions.

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I miss the girl I used to be. I never gave a shit what anyone else thought of me. I wasn’t religious, but I was very spiritual, and that gave me great comfort when I was practicing regularly with candles and crystals and oils and what not. Things that used to make me feel good on bad days were going for a walk with my camera and photographing random things on the way, and collating those photos in little notebooks. Braiding my hair and painting my nails made me feel prettier on my ugly days. Cooking and eating weren’t obsessions and sources of anxiety, they were enjoyable. I was so creative. I still am, but I stifle it a lot more now, because the world tells me that making money and working and doing the socially acceptable things are more important than following the passions that make your heart sing. I wore what made me feel good, even if the fashion disciples would have died laughing at me. I didn’t apologise for my introversion, and if I wanted to stay at home and read for 3 hours instead of going out for a big group dinner, that’s what I damn well did. I studied for fun, things that I enjoyed studying, like Egyptology and mythology.

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That’s who I am, really. That’s who I was. That’s when I was a little happier. It was hard to realise that, actually. I think I’m done wasting time trying to be who the world wants me to be. I think I know that being happy means being me, unapologetically and unashamedly. It’ll be hard at first, changing this much while battling depression and anxiety and disordered eating. It’ll mean I’ll lose some “friends.” It’ll mean I’ll get frustrated. But without the dark, you can’t see the stars, and I think it’s finally my time to shine now.

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This year, my resolutions are all centered around getting back to that girl. This year, I will:
• take 10 regional Victorian road trips
• take 2 solo writing/yoga retreats
• meet 8 new bloggers in the attempt to find my tribe
• visit 10 different markets in Melbourne
• read at least 30 new books
• move my body for 30 minutes each day
• move back towards daily yoga practice and meditation, knowing that it will help my depression and anxiety
• take a course to learn something new, just because I want to, not because I “need” it for a career or job
• make more of an effort to dress up every day, braid my hair more and paint my nails, because looking lovely makes you feel better
• minimalise materialism & clutter
• live more by the moon cycles (thank you for the suggestion Vanessa!)
• cook a new recipe each week from one of the dozens of cook books on my shelf
• spend more time in my book nook
• finish that little (big) project I’ve been working on all of 2015 (you’ll find out more soon, don’t worry – I’m gonna need your help with it!)
• find new ways to channel my creativity

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I hope everyone else has some time over the weekend to give themselves some realistic goals for the year ahead, goals that don’t involve changing yourselves to fit in with society’s bullshit expectations, but goals that bring you back to who you truly are at your core. Because there’s only one of you, and if you’re the best version of that possible, how could you be anything but happy, successful and totally at peace?

Happy New Year, friends 🙂 xoxo