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  • Writer's pictureBecca Guenther

A New Way To Do The New Year

For many, early January brings with it fresh starts, motivation, and anticipation for all that’s to come. We hope that the year ahead is the best one yet (or at least an upgrade from last year): that this is the year we finally meet that goal, complete that project, or make that big life change we’ve been contemplating for a while now. In fact, most of us have likely heard the phrase “new year, new me!” at some point or another. There’s something about January that can evoke motivation in a way that other months just can’t. However, sometimes the resolutions and goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year can be hard to accomplish for many reasons, some examples of why include; your resolution may be unrealistic, too specific (or not specific enough), or is based on shaming yourself for lacking something or having too much of something else. And as the year continues on often time’s motivation peters out, life gets busy, and soon enough we may find ourselves at the end of another year, criticizing ourselves for not sticking with the resolutions we set back in January. Thus continues a frustrating and painful cycle.

Whether you yourself have a tricky relationship with resolutions or if you’re simply looking to try something new, why not change up the way you plan for this New Year?

Instead of focusing on what you want to do (or not do) this year, consider centering your

goal(s) on how you want to feel. You can explore this through journaling, internally reflecting

quietly over your morning coffee, or in conversation with a loved one. Ask yourself what you

want to feel more of this year, or conversely, what you want to feel less of. Do you want to feel strong? Peaceful? Confident? Your answer(s) can serve as a powerful guiding force in how you navigate the year ahead and what you prioritize.

Another way of planning for the New Year is by selecting a word of the year. Once you choose your word or theme, you'll be using it to guide your decisions and plans for the year. For example, if your word of the year is “adventure”, you might use that as a reminder to

schedule in fun and exciting activities throughout the year; if you chose the words “peace” or “relax”, you may be reminded to seek out moments of respite and rest during the year.

Choosing a feeling or word to pursue this year may offer unique experiences as well as

take off some of the pressure of reaching highly specific goals that can be expressed through the traditional resolutions we are all familiar with – the ones that are wrought with

shame, criticism, and judgment of ourselves.

There's another way to welcome in the new year that honors and accepts yourself as you are right now, without feeling like you need to embrace the “new year, new me!” frame of mind in order to do so. Shifting your perspective away from criticism to one of compassion can create space to show yourself more grace, loving kindness, and to perhaps more easily connect back to your motivation once the newness of the year wears off.


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