Learning and Growing in the New Year

Happy New Year! I’m sure you don’t need to read another post from me about how I feel about New Year’s resolutions; I can save that song and dance for another year. Instead, what I’d like to focus on today is how I’m hoping to approach the year: what I can bring to the table, how I’m hoping to grow, and trying to build on what I’ve learned about myself in 2022.

How Have You Grown This Year?

I won’t lie to you; whether it’s a list or an article, a video or a podcast, I love listening to a ‘Year in Review’ from people and artists I enjoy. It’s nice to see what people were up to in a calendar year, and oftentimes we’re so busy with our day-to-day lives that it’s difficult to step back and see the bigger picture (FWIW, here is my 2022 in Review on My Brain’s Not Broken!).

But one thing that I don’t love about a Year in Review is that the focus is inherently on quantity. There are many aspects of our lives that we can count and quantify, but numbers don’t often tell the whole story. Tracking the number of times I went to therapy is a useful measure of success, but it doesn’t speak to the growth I made from my sessions. It doesn’t show the way I felt in working on myself in ways that were challenging and uncomfortable. Just because I can’t quantify that, does it make that accomplishment any less meaningful to me? No.

Whether it’s a ‘year in review’ or New Year’s resolutions, a lot of the ways we measure success is in quantifiable, measurable data. And while there is certainly room for that, it doesn’t speak to the many ways that people have grown this year. It doesn’t speak to the way a person might’ve made strides in their mental, physical or emotional health. Sometimes, those aren’t even changes we can see, but changes that others see in us.

My Approach to the New Year

Which leads me to my approach to 2023. I tried to come up with quantifiable goals for this new year in December, but a number of times I came away empty. I know what I’d like to accomplish in a broad sense, but the road to get there is definitely unpaved at the moment. And thought it took longer than I would have liked, I’m at a place where I’m okay with that. I have goals for who I want to be in 2023. Who I want to be as a partner, a brother, a friend, an uncle, a co-worker, a mental health advocate…the list goes on and on. This list will grow and change but as time goes on, I’m confident that it will become clearer.

Time certainly moves fast (I don’t know how it happened, but I’m turning 30 this year!), but we have the ability to slow ourselves down. We can name the important things in our lives, and figure out ways to prioritize them. That’s what I plan on doing in 2023, and I hope you find that for yourself as well. And also, even if it’s only for a few minutes or once in a while, I hope you take some time for yourself this year; you deserve it. Here’s to good days ahead and good mental health in 2023.

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