The new year is a popular time to reflect on our short-term and long-term goals. However, the pressure of setting resolutions and entering the new year with the ambitious goal of making it better than the last can be overwhelming. We often throw ourselves into the new year with big aspirations and vague ideas of wanting to improve our lives, without a useful starting point. So what is the best way to welcome the new year, mindfully and realistically?
Instead of jumping to what we want for the future, we can instead approach it from the viewpoint of working with what we already have.
What in your life and habits is currently serving you, what’s holding you back, and what can help you grow more in the coming year?
Maybe you have a specific goal of wanting to learn a new skill. In this case, it could be helpful to reflect on what at this moment is driving you to pursue learning. It could be the result of being around other creative like-minded people, or admiring work others have done. Next, you can evaluate what has stopped you from taking up this skill up until this point. Perhaps you have been lacking confidence or support, or have felt paralyzed by a fear of failure. The simple act of recognizing those roadblocks is a powerful step in overcoming them. Once you find the source of resistance, you can locate the tools you already possess to work with your resistance instead of against it. What resources do you already have that could help you on this path? Maybe it’s a friend with the same interest that you could collaborate with, or a free day and a library card. Recognizing these resources will make pursuing your goal less intimidating and more accessible. You aren’t starting from scratch.
If you plan to use the new year as a push to work toward your goals, try exploring these questions in a journal or with a friend or therapist. You may be surprised to discover all the ways you are already set up to succeed in the next year.
By: Mel Signore
Mental Health Counseling Intern