Reflect, refocus, resolve for a HAPPY New Year

What’s your favorite holiday? When asked that question, you may expect to hear Christmas, Thanksgiving, or even 4th of July. Often, people are surprised when my response is New Years, followed by a “really, why?” question. My response? It’s all about perspective! I find that renewal and hope that the New Year can bring is joyful. Reflect, refocus, resolve can help us use the power of our thoughts to truly make it a great New Year!

Reflect

Was it a great year? Was it a terrible year? Take a few moments to reflect on this last year. Think back to where you started- did you have certain goals or hopes for this year? Did you make progress or achieve them? Did you completely lose sight of those goals? Either way, you went through different experiences. Good, bad, or both- what did you learn? How did these experiences change you? We are all constantly changing, but personal growth does not only come from positive activities or experiences. The happy ones are easiest to reflect on, it feels good to think about our successes and joyful moments. However, it’s also sometimes those difficult moments or periods that can reveal a lot about ourselves and show inner strengths or other characteristics we maybe underestimated. Or possibly, we also learned about a characteristic we might not like about ourselves.

Reflection is important as it helps us to examine our journey over the last year and allows us to take inventory of our experiences. Then, leading us to be aware of where we are now.  Self-awareness is a precursor to change. In order to get to where we want to go, we first have to know where we are!

Refocus

Did you have a bad year? Guess what- it’s over! Did you have a great year? Celebrate the great year you had! Though the change from one year to the next happens just like every other day (e.g. midnight happens every night and we have a new day), yet there is a lot of great symbolism in the new year transition. The new year means that we are closing the door on one year and opening the door to the next. Use this symbolism to your advantage by directing your mental focus. Closing the door on a challenging year feels good and  can give a sense of relief and closure for those difficulties. On the other hand, it may bittersweet to look at year end as closing on a great year. In this case, it might help to refocus on this being a transition and not a complete closure. You’ve had a great year and can think about continuing on with the positive feelings into the new year.

Now, start to think about the upcoming year. What would like to accomplish in the new year? What would you like to be different? The new year is a great time to refocus ourselves and set goals for things we would like to work on in the new year.

Resolve

New Years’ resolutions often get a bad rep, usually because of the association with failed and short-lived attempts at achieving goals. I like the notion of resolutions but more so in combining refocusing with hopes for the new year. The new year is a type of reset button, a chance for us to start a new year. New beginnings and continuing achievements provides us with a sense of hope. When thinking about new years goals, make them “SMART”- Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based. For example, want to lose weight in the new year? Here’s what your SMART goals might look like:

  • Specific- I will lose 20 lbs by increasing my exercise activity and watching my diet.
  • Measurable- I will lose 20 lbs exercise 3 times a week and keep my daily caloric intake at 1,300 calories
  • Achievable & Realistic-I already exercise twice a week and eat 1,700 calories/day so changing to 3 times/week exercise and decrease of daily calories is both achievable and realistic
  • Time-based-  I will lose 20 lbs over the next 6 months by exercising 3 times a week and keep my daily caloric intake at 1,300 calories

Click here for a form that we find helpful in creating SMART goals. So embrace the new year! A new year means 365 new days of opportunities! Life is about progress, not perfection.

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