Updated: Jan 8, 2022
2021, what a year, eh? We all thought this one will be much better than 2020, but I am pretty sure it is fair to say that it was actually much harder. For me anyway. So much confusion and so little control over anything. Not gonna lie, I am pretty proud of myself for getting through this. I created this website, worked with coaching clients for the first time and started my podcast. I also did six months meditation teacher training. It is fair to say that I am a very different person to who I was at the beginning of the year. On the flip-side, this year also brought probably some of the most miserable failures - applying and not getting jobs that I really wanted, constantly pushing uphill with very little reward at times. But I tell you what, kind words from people made all the difference. Kindness is everything.
New Year, New Me
How do you feel about New Year's resolutions? Some people love a resolution, the feeling of a clear page and a new start. And there are a very few who actually stick to their resolutions and manage to change their life starting on January the 1st. But for many it comes as a punishment after too much indulgence after festivities. And that's why most of us fail.
Most of resolutions come from a place of fear of not being good enough. So we are trying to force ourselves into change from a very negative, and often dark, place. It’s like shaming people to loose weight, which has been proven to have the opposite effect. You can’t shame yourself into being a better person. How about we swap it around? You are enough. Just as you are. You are wonderful and worthy if existence. And if nothing changes in the next year - you are still good. This is your permission to not to have a resolution if needed one.
Why new year resolutions don’t work
They come from the place of fear of not being good enough - ‘I must be better’. Try swapping to ‘I love myself and this is how I can be even better’
Very broad, for example ‘to loose weight’. It is just too big of a goal for our brain. Instead break it down - cook three meals every week, go on three big walks every week, go to sleep at 11pm every night etc.
Negative instead of positive - instead of ‘don’t do that’ change to ‘bring more of’.
New habits are really bloody hard! A great book about habits is called 'Atomic habits' by James Clear.
Top tips for setting resolutions (if you decide that you want change)
But for some, this feels like a great place to create change that we have been craving for a while. It just never felt like the right time, so naturally the start of the new year can be a great place to start. Here are some of the top tips if you crave change in the new year:
Being gentle to yourself (If you were chatting to a friend what would you say?)
Peel away layers of external expectations that are making your life heavy. (Why do you want to achieve this? What will happen when you get there?)
Gentle goals instead of regimented lists of impossible things that will end up making you feel worst about yourself
Envisioning a future you and go from there - What kind of person do you want to be? Someone who goes for a walk twice a week or drinks less coffee instead of 'be less lazy'.
Journaling questions to review the previous year
Every December I find it very therapeutic to do a review of the previous year. If this is something you fancy doing, here are a few journaling questions that you can ask yourself. I do recommend getting yourself a delicious hot drink, a beautiful notebook and finding a quiet spot, maybe even lighting a candle.
Questions to ask yourself:
What few words I would use to describe the past year? Why did I choose those words?
What are my most favourite moments that brought me joy?
What do I want to carry through to the next year? What do I want to continue doing?
What challenges I had in the last year? What have I learned from that? What wisdom have I gained?
If I was my best friend, what would I say to myself right now?
In what ways can I be more kind and gentle to myself next year?
How do I want to feel next year?
What brings me joy and light in life?
How can I bring more of that into my daily life?
Another thing that I like to do, is write myself a letter about where I want to be and more importantly how I want to feel during the year. I sometimes go back to it during the year but it is always nice to read it in December to see how far I managed to get. All I'm going to focus on this year - to stop trying to force myself into a box and focus on being simply happier every single day.
I have recorded a podcast episode about this topic, which you can listen to HERE.