Moving Forward Into the New Year
It’s the start of another new year and we are called to reflect back on last year while looking forward to this new one. January is an interesting time of year in this way, and it’s a natural time to set intentions.
Take this time to reflect and renew. Now is a lovely time to review the past year and all it entailed. Think of all the wonderful things you have to be grateful for in 2016 and what you’d like to continue in 2017. Look back and assess how the year was and what might benefit from some improvement without being overly critical or attached. Though this new year transition is somewhat arbitrary, it’s useful to think of it as an opportunity to begin again.
Set your intentions for being your best self this year. Use the whole month, and really think about what is most important to you at this time, and how you can take action to prioritize those things. Create new habits of consistent morning and evening activities that ease you into and out of each day. Be kind to yourself. Light candles and create a serene mood in your home during these short, dark days.
Consider your health at this time. Can you take better care of yourself? Decide on a course of action you can stick to, and begin small, with every day activities. Maybe you resolve to eat breakfast every day as a start, or to fill half your plate with vegetables at every meal, or to drink more water throughout the day. No matter what it is, approach it in a way that is consistent, and feels affirming. Often times when we are trying to be more healthy we can become mired in what we are withholding from ourselves. Instead of thinking of what we say no to, ask yourself what you are saying yes to. Just this simple reframing is helpful to the success of a new habit.
Are you considering more physical activity at this time? Make it easy on yourself- take small steps, and again, keep them consistent. Maybe you choose to go for a walk outside every day no matter what. Those walks can range from 5 minutes to several hours depending on the weather, your schedule, or your mood, but when you dedicate even the smallest amount of time each day, you will feel bolstered by taking action. We can sometimes trick ourselves into doing more (or doing anything) by promising just a small sliver of time to it. Once we begin a task, oftentimes the momentum of it can carry us further than we initially expected, and we can enjoy it more because we are actively deciding to keep going versus feeling obliged to do more than felt good to begin with.
It’s also nice to think about time management. Are you feeling pulled in a million directions, or are you spending more time alone than you’d like? You can resolve to say no or say yes to various activities more. You can resolve to dedicate more time to yourself, even if it’s only 15 minutes of “me time” every day. Conversely, think about reaching out and connecting with friends you haven’t talked to in a long time or connecting more deeply with acquaintances you’d like to know more. Try to schedule one significant social “date” each week. Push yourself to do a little more of the thing that is not your regular mode of functioning and you can begin to bring more balance into your life.
Resolutions can sometimes feel like an all or nothing venture, but it needn’t be this way. Take on a little bit at a time, do what feels good to you, keep moving forward and taking the action you can while remembering you are making the changes for yourself. There is no need to pressure yourself into a million things at once, take your time. You have a year. This is about setting intentions, so be intentional. Look to create the life you want from a place of self acceptance and love.