06 Jan Ringing in the New Year!
Ringing In the New Year!
Page Brockwell, LCSW
Happy New Year! The new year is often a time of reflection and renewal. People spend time reviewing the events of the past year and begin to think about the future and possible commitments for the year ahead. For many people that means making resolutions. A resolution is defined as “a firm decision to do or not do something”. People often resolve to lose 10 lbs, volunteer weekly, stop smoking, or start meditating. All of these resolutions come from the desire to create positive change in a person’s life. However, most, if not all resolutions create guilt and negativity once the year begins and people fall short of their goals.
I used to be one of those people. I am a list person. I love making a list, on my phone, in my planner, and on post-it notes. I love the satisfaction of checking off an item on one my lists and declaring it done. The idea of making resolutions to me was like making my ultimate list for the new year. I didn’t just make one resolution I made several because like I said I love lists. I would make sure my resolutions were complete with specific and measurable steps towards my goals and would be set to conquer the world and create a new me. I greeted the new year with eager anticipation of all I would be after these goals were met… and then life happened, and all of those rigid specific measurable items were hard to stick with. As soon as I fell behind on any of my resolutions, I would become frustrated and feel stuck in a negative cycle about not reaching my goals. I would often try to salvage a goal by making some changes, but usually by March my resolutions were over, and I was actively avoiding those New Year lists. All of that changed when I began to set intentions rather than resolutions.
An intention is defined by Merriam Webster as a “determination to act in a certain way, resolve”. I love this definition and the “intent” behind it. An intention is an awareness of something you want to create in your life, you can cultivate an intention and watch it grow. The following outlines the simple way you can begin to use intention in your own life.
Examples of Intentions might be
- I will live a healthier lifestyle
- I will practice being present
- I will increase my connection with others
- I will practice gratitude
- I will practice kindness towards myself and others
After you have picked an intention to focus on, your next step is to find a way to commit to that intention. One way to do this that I love is to write a letter to yourself for the new year, outline the ways you have grown and what you would like to see for your future self, then read the letter at the end of the year and see what has changed in your life. The process can be repeated year after year. Another great way to commit to your intention is to create a vision board, a visual representation of how your life would be with your intention at the center of it. If you are looking for something simple, you can just write a sentence or two about your intention and keep it somewhere you will regularly see it.
Now comes the fun part! You have your intention and you have spent time reflecting and focusing on what that will look like for your life. The next step is figuring out ways manifest that intention in your daily life. This is where you get to be creative, an intention is about focusing on the journey not the outcome.
I hope your new year is full of personal growth and fulfillment. If you are feeling stuck or looking for ways to support your goals, you may find it helpful to have a therapist support you on your path. Contact our team at Empowered Life Counseling to help!
Page Brockwell, LCSW