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New Year Same Old (Lovely) You

When I met my husband, I had no idea how bad I was a handling transitions. Every single time a season changes, I'm nostalgic for the one that's over. I get sad leaving my parents' house at the end of a visit. I spend the last day of vacation grouchy. And don't even talk to me about pre-k graduation. (So. Many. Kleenex.)

So it's no surprise that, for me, the whole New Year New You thing doesn't resonate. I liked the old me and the old year. And what does this new year really have to offer me? I'll admit there have been New Year's Days when I've stepped up, made some resolutions, and then intently followed them, but most years I'm continuing in the same vein I was previously in, or I'm desperately trying to figure out what vein I want to be in.

If you're like me and the new year leaves you feeling a little lost, overwhelmed, or obligated to declare some wild resolutions, take heart. There are some simple, gentle things that we can do to make the transition to 2023 a little easier.

Celebrate the year that passed

Too often we move on to the next thing without bidding farewell (or even sometimes mourning) the thing that came before. Before diving into 2023, ask yourself some questions:

  • What did you love about 2022?

  • What are you happy to be rid of?

  • What are you proud of yourself for doing in 2022?

  • What feelings, practices, routines, connections, or behaviors do you want to continue in 2023?

Lots of year-end retrospectives are about races you ran, books you read, movies you watched, or goals you hit. That's great, but there's also space to review how you felt, how you aligned or didn't align with what you value, and what the year meant to you.

Decide if anything actually needs to change

After looking back at the year that's passed, think about what support you might need to continue the feelings, practices, etc. that you identified in the earlier question. Have you been able to spend the kind of time you wanted with your family last year? If not, what needs to change to make that possible? What might you do to set up more opportunities for you to be proud of yourself in the upcoming year? What do you need to do to keep out the things you want to be rid of?

Maybe the answer's nothing. Maybe you're on it, and you just need to keep on keeping on. That's great! Just because it's January doesn't mean you need to do something differently. (Maybe that will change in March, but let it change when it does, or when you're ready.)

Consider intentions instead of goals

Resolutions are usually goals -- outcomes you want to see by a certain date in the upcoming year. I think goals are great and I support lots of clients in setting them, but they can come with a lot of pressure, and now might not be the right time to make them. If you're already in the middle of a project, it doesn't make sense to randomly create goals -- you've likely already done it.

If you're feeling pressure to do a whole New Year's thing, consider intentions. To me, intentions are about who I want to be, how I want life to look, and what I want to cultivate or focus on in the new year. So instead of setting a goal to see a new movie every month, I might set an intention to consume more media. Or instead of setting a goal to go on a date with my husband every week, I might set an intention to have more of a social life.

Goals generally need to be specific and measurable to be effective. And there are lots of roles and times for goals in life. (And for some people that time is January 1st.) Intentions can be more fluid, more focusing, and generally cause less pressure to change yourself. And they can happen any time -- whenever you see an opportunity, you can set an intention. And best of all, they come with no pass/fail mentality. Any time you're not living in alignment with the intention, you can just intend again!

Work with me

I almost have to say this, but if you're feeling lost, overwhelmed, out of sync, in the wrong job, or otherwise not where you want to be, working with a coach can help you get clarity on the direction you want to go before setting all kinds of goals to get you there. One thing I've cultivated in my practice in the last year is helping people better understand what's important to them as they make changes and move forward. I'd love to help you, too!

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