How To Start the New Year Off Right

I’ve said it too many times on this blog, but it’s another new year (and another new year during a pandemic!) and I thought it would be good to share this message again: I don’t like New Year’s Resolutions. It’s not that I think they’re foolish or misguided – to be honest I don’t have many opinions on them as a concept – but I know that they are not a realistic way for me to achieve my goals. Crafting New Year’s Resolutions and telling myself “this year I’ll start…” never created an impactful change on my life or how I do things. A few years ago, I finally owned up to the fact that ‘New Year, New Me’ just wasn’t for me, and that it would be better to focus on other things. So here’s how I start off my new year right.

I reflect on how I spend my time. That’s right, before I think about doing or trying anything new, I think about what I’m currently doing. Am I spending enough time doing what I love, with the people I love? This is when I try to be as honest as possible with myself, while leaving room for context about why I make the decisions I do.

I reflect on what I’m working toward. One of the biggest sources of my anxiety is not knowing why things happen, which is why it’s so important to me to understand why I do what I do. If I know what I’m working toward in the future, I can enjoy it more in the present.

I prioritize my wellness. Starting the new year off right isn’t just about doing more and being more. I take time every winter to think about how I’ve been treating myself in the past year, and if I don’t see improvement, I think about how I can work on that. Some years, that’s meant finding a new form of therapy. Other times, it’s meant finding a hobby that’s different than anything I’m currently doing. But putting wellness ahead of productivity has always helped when it’s come to bringing my whole self into the new year.

I understand I won’t do everything I set out to do. A while back, I decided to change the way I set my goals. I used to love the quote “A goal without a plan is just a wish,” but one day, I realized how unhealthy that mindset can be for some people. Goals, plans, wishes – all this language that usually ends up being used to make people feel like they failed. Doing (or not doing) something doesn’t make you any more or less of a person than anyone else, and it’s exhausting to think otherwise. I have wild, ambitious plans for this new year, as I do every year, and I’ll work hard to accomplish as much as I can. And whatever I don’t do? I’ll just add it to the list next year.

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