A new year — time for fresh potential. Time for new beginnings, resolutions, decisions, lists. So many options can feel overwhelming, confusing, or discouraging — the antithesis of motivation. Yet, January is a tremendous opportunity for assessing our alignment, charting our route to happiness, and determining our goals.
There are few times automatically built in to our natural year and rhythm that provide this prime opportunity to reflect, assess, and potentially reset. The New Year is one of those times. (Birthdays and the Spring are others.)
How do you stay true to your own compass while being open to the greatest potential that is available to you?
Here are some ideas to consider an alternative approach to potential
Just consider a reset
Take time to reflect and assess. Don’t automatically assume your life will require a complete overhaul. Go into the exercise considering it an option rather than a foregone conclusion.
Choose a theme
Have you noticed a trend in your actions or thoughts that point to a some kind of pattern? If you are aware of a change you want to make, either to strengthen a behavior or change it, set a theme.
Choose a word or phrase to remind you of your goal. This can be a quick and easy way to remind and redirect yourself throughout the year what your intention is for yourself. It can also keep you on target.
By choosing one word or phrase, you clarify your list. At year end, this word or phrase is useful for assessing your success, also.
For example, perhaps the last six months you’ve become increasingly aware that you do believe you already have everything it takes to be happy. The only reason you become unhappy is you get caught up in surface anxiety or worries or other passing issues. The word “Allow” could signal letting go of the surface stress to allow your happiness to shine forward.
Every time you say it, you remind yourself of your objective. How you will achieve it will vary. You’re already underway.
(Need some examples to get started thinking? Consider: Relax, Sparkle, Thrive, Yes!, Connect, Inspire, Clarity, Love, Joy, Simple”)
Option: from the annual theme, create quarterly, then monthly themes.
Write a pledge to yourself for the year
Declare what you stand for, what you commit to, and what you promise yourself in order to live the life you want. What will you do for yourself in order to create the best chance of making that happen?
There are many examples of inspirational pledges — from the Giving Pledge to individuals committed to changing the direction of mental wellness. Make yours personal. Perhaps it’s raising children on healthy food, or maintaining a positive outlook. The benefit of making a pledge is that it is a solemn oath to yourself, and much stronger than a goal or resolution. You won’t want to break a pledge.
Create a Don’t List
If you aren’t feeling inspired to make a list of resolutions for whatever reason, perhaps you’d like to make a list of items of which you will not do anymore. Commit to letting go of specific items. That will leave room for priorities, surprises, or goals.
For your don’t list, consider:
where are you wasting time, and on what
what activities are resulting in you feeling bad rather than uplifted
what distractions keep you from where you want to go
who brings out the worst in you
what bad habits hold you back physically, emotionally and spiritually
Oddly, a don’t list can lift your spirits and energy in a way a to-do list sometimes fails you. By seeing responsibilities that you are relieved from, you can feel a sense of freedom.
Calendar your way
Set up your calendar but do it in a way that builds your excitement, then fill in the rest. Start by marking off your most enjoyable holiday, whether that’s your birthday, an anniversary, Valentine’s Day, etc. Continue with all the other holidays, birthdays, celebrations, etc., of which you are aware.
Add in vacations, goals, then responsibilities and obligations. If you use a monthly planner you will visually see how the time is quickly filled. It’s easier to make a commitment to what you want to fill your time with once you see the blocks filling up.
Think of your life in categories
It’s your life, so you determine the categories. Some possibilities are Home, Career or Work, Finances/Money, Health, Friends and Family, Significant Other/Spouse/Romance, Personal Growth/Spiritual, Fun/Leisure/Recreation. Or, you could segment into Body, Mind, Spirit, Emotions.
Once you’ve created your categories, give some thought to what you would like in each category for the coming year. Dream big. BIG! Write it down.
This is the moment you decide to act on your dreams. Not to make a big resolution, but just to say yes to moving forward. If you move forward, add one step per category to your calendar per week. Make it happen.
You may find you need support with some of the specifics of this as you progress. Right now is the time to decide to commit, … if that’s your decision. Up to you. (but why not?) Use the positive emotion and momentum of January and get started.
New Year’s Resolutions? Go ahead and write some. Call them whatever you prefer. Just make it personal and the new year will be a meaningful reset for this chapter in your life. As we each do that in our life, we come together collectively as better individuals. In that small but powerful way, we can all make a difference. Here’s to a meaningful 2018! May it be joyful!