As we emerge into the new year,most of us have at least contemplated making a resolution or two. It’s one of those traditions that stays with us, every year we confront ourselves and examine what we are lacking, what we need more of. Most of us struggle and fret and wonder how to achieve your goals.While often lauded, the ritual has a pretty significant flaw – its inclination towards acknowledging shortcomings instead of celebrating achievements. What would it be like if instead of starting the new year focused on your shortcomings, you switched things up and decided to use a process that embraces reflection, celebration and aspiration?
What if we started the year by revisiting the past?
What did you achieve last year? Perhaps you might shrug this question off, minimising your achievements by saying merely ‘I survived’. Which is all well and good, if you’re reading this you definitely did! But why not take a more thorough look back through your year? Maybe using calendars or diaries, emails, or conversations with partners, family or friends. Hidden within even the toughest of years are moments of joy, of celebration and success.
Take a Look Backwards Before Looking Forwards
What happened in 2023 that when you think about it makes you smile? Taking the time to reflect and savour what went well requires a significant mindset shift, but you might notice that you’re suddenly feeling happier. Even if you don’t do anything else, this step will bring you mental health benefits.
Thinking about what your happy memories are from last year can also provide you with clues about what’s actually important to you. Tuning in to what’s meaningful for us can help us begin to make plans to do more of it. A totally different way of approaching resolutions than the usual thought process about what’s missing. What realisations about yourself emerged during these moments? By reliving and embracing these memories, you give yourself the gift of appreciation and self-recognition.What would life be like if you did more of the things that brought you joy? More moments of spontaneous silliness or planned connections.
Amidst the chaos of everyday life, there lie pearls of wisdom, acts of bravery, and bursts of creativity waiting to be acknowledged and celebrated. Take a moment to really remember each event. Engage your senses – recall the fragrances that lingered, the sights that captivated, the sounds that resonated, the feel of the ground underneath you and all the things that touched you. Really focus in on those experiences, embracing the emotions they evoke. Letting everything wash over you like a wave, clearing away extraneous thoughts and niggling worries.
When you’re engaged in reflecting on the year, it’s also important to contemplate the challenges you encountered, what hurdles you faced and what you withstood or overcame. Appreciate how resilient you are to still be here, still standing. Think about the strength you’ve displayed and the things you’ve learned, about yourself and about the world as a result of your experiences. Give yourself permission to examine your narrative and if it’s serving you.
The Beauty of Letting Go
As we say goodbye to 2023, what do you want to let go of? what regrets have you been carrying around that are acting like burdens, stopping you having the space to do things differently this year? By being compassionate with ourselves about what we’ve done. or not accomplished, we make space for the ability to change. Rather than being tied into a story about ‘how I always do x’ or ‘I never manage y’ we can start to change that narrative.
Perhaps we might even discover that the thing that sits in our mind as a massive failure wasn’t actually anything you want anymore. It’s a relic from someone you used to be or someone else’s dream for you that you absorbed.
What Resources Do You have To Draw On To Help Achieve Your Goals?
So after doing all of that serious thinking. It’s time to relax. To spend a bit of time visualising the year ahead. Maybe it’s helpful for you to consider all the different facets of your life – family, friendships, career, health. Then organise your dreams into tangible goals.
Identify the pillars of support within your life; who are your cheerleaders across the different domains? Take a while to contemplate your unique strengths and attributes that will guide you through uncharted territories.
You might even find it helpful to distill your goals for the year down to a single word or symbol. Something that when you look at it reminds you of where you’re going. This talisman will serve as a beacon, a reminder of your worth and the vastness of your potential
By redefining the conventional notion of New Year’s resolutions, shifting from a mindset of scarcity to one of reflection and celebration, a more authentic and enduring path towards personal evolution unfolds. It’s about honouring progress, acknowledging resilience, and daring to dream without limitations. Bid adieu to played out resolutions that never materialise and embark on a voyage of self-reflection, celebration, and expansive dreaming. Honour your achievements, glean wisdom from challenges, and set intentions that resonate with your deepest aspirations. You are worthy of every dream, every celebration, and every step towards a more fulfilling life.
The canvas of the new year awaits, ready for the strokes of your aspirations and the vibrant hues of your celebrations. Dream big, for in your dreams lie the seeds of your transformation.
You can use this handy resource as a guide to help you as you close the book on 2023, and open up something new for yourself. It’s something I’ve done myself and found huge benefit from. When we work on ourselves, work with ourselves, the goal is always to be moving towards our values. My hope is that you find this process useful, the reflective nature of it speeding you on the way to achieve your goals.