As we head into the new year, many of us have started thinking about what the next year holds in store. For some, it might be time for a new beginning. A new chapter in the journey. For others, the focus may be on an ending. A letting go or a saying good-bye. In the spirit of utilizing this annual rush of energy, hope, and reflection as the year winds down to an end, today’s post focuses on all things New Year’s resolutions!
Resolution Season is a time to think of what we want to do differently. Who we want to become. The behaviors we want to change, the habits we want to break, and the commitments we want to make during this small window of time that seems eager to give us a fresh start. The magical window that will motivate us into our best and brightest selves. That will send us into the space where we look, think, feel and do better. That will help us finally find our Zen. Sounds amazing, right?
Although I love that momentum, it seems that traditional resolutions lose their luster very quickly as the year progresses and end up being recycled into next year’s resolution. Wash, rinse, repeat without much or any growth to speak of.
Fear not! My aim here is to shine a light on the nature and potential pitfalls of resolutions, and to introduce the idea of evolution for our readers in the coming year. Instead of resolving to focus only on the destination, or the desired result of all our goals, let’s rebel and evolve this year by giving ourselves time to shift focus to the journey itself.
For those of you who are into this new and exciting experiment, here are 4 tips for shedding the resolutions, and moving toward true evolution in 2023:
- Goals should be small, realistic, and flexible.
There is nothing wrong with dreaming big! It encourages our creativity and helps us with motivation. However, when it comes to goals, it is important to create them as a series of smaller, more realistic and doable steps along the way. Also, it is important to build in some time and breathing room for when life happens. Kids get sick, jobs get stressful, and sometimes the unexpected creeps up and knocks the breath out of us. It is possible for two things to exist at once: structured goals, and the flexibility to change or tweak them throughout the year to fit your life as it happens to you.
- Get creative. Pick one word.
An alternative to creating specific goals for the new year is to pick one word for yourself. One word to describe the person you aspire to be or the life you want to lead in 2023. Take some quiet time to sit, reflect, and jot down whatever thoughts come to you. After choosing your word, post it in handy places where you can see it every day. When you hit a bump or a snag or notice a moment for growth and learning, you will be ready! In those moments, ask yourself, “What would the ______ me do right now?” Having a dialogue like this actually helps you evolve into that person!
- Take care of yourself along the way. Check in and reassess.
When your goals are created and you have started the work, it is important to take care of yourself during the process. This means regular check-ins. Ask yourself often how you are feeling physically, mentally, emotionally, and in any other area that might apply to you (for example spiritually, financially, occupationally, or socially). This boosts in-the-moment-awareness, also known as the practice of mindfulness. Pausing and checking in brings you into the present (instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future) and gives you a chance to notice how you are truly feeling. It can be difficult to do this when we lead hectic lives, have high stress jobs, or are just in a space of feeling overwhelmed, depressed, or anxious. If you can practice checking in, your mind and body will thank you and tell you what you need to continue taking good care of yourself while on your evolution journey.
- Rally your crew. Ask for support!
I know we have all been told that we don’t have to do things alone. And I also know from my own work with clients that asking for help can be easier said than done. But support is what will help you keep going, growing, and evolving this next year. Those supporters can provide encouragement and compassion when you need it the most. They can also be the ones to meet you at the local rage room with bat in hand, ready to help you smash away your frustrations when things get tough. Choose the ones who know you. Who love you. And who will give you the perfect dose of grace and accountability when you need it. Sometimes this is a friend or loved one. This is also a great way to use therapy or coaching!
No matter where you find yourself in the new year, remember that evolution takes time, support, and healthy quantities of grace and compassion. Missteps, overshooting, and missed goal posts are an important part of the process. Sometimes what we learn from these experiences are just as valuable as what we learn from hitting the mark or even going above and beyond what we hoped for in the first place. Please remember that you don’t have to do any of your goals or things or evolving alone. We are starting a new year collectively. All of us. And the team here at Therapy Charlotte is wishing all of our readers as much growth, healing, and joy as you can possibly stand in the coming year!
If you are interested in getting support from one of our therapists in your new year pursuits, contact us to make an initial appointment! We offer individual therapy and life coaching to adults in Charlotte and all of North Carolina.