A Note on New Year’s

Christmas is (sadly) over and New Year’s Eve is right around the corner which means we’re right in the thick of that exciting, scary, “how did the year go by so fast” season.  On one hand, the prospect of a new year and a fresh start is exhilarating and promising; on the other hand, the thought of the upcoming year and all the twists and turns that may unfold can become unsettling.
Another trademark of this “in-between-season” is the mounting pressure to create a set of resolutions for the year: activities you want to begin, changes you want to make, and dreams you want to realize.  Although I appreciate the general idea of New Year’s resolutions, I think the mindset of becoming a new person overnight and pressuring yourself to be a certain way or do certain things can become very dangerous.  Instead, I think we need to realize the importance of setting healthy, challenging goals, and making practical changes that we can actually maintain throughout the whole year.  So this year, let’s promise ourselves to:

Remember it all – whenever something fun, crazy, or exciting happens, grab any nearby paper and write a quick note about the event, including the date.  Gather the scraps of paper in a jar or bowl and go through them all at the end of the year.

Listen to our bodies – eat food that tastes good and makes you feel good.  Push yourself to get active; experiment until you find something that makes you want to stay active.  Sleep in when you need it.

Create quiet moments – read in bed until you fall asleep.  Burn incense and practice yoga.  Take a walk (or a hike).  Bake cookies and watch a movie.

Get uncomfortable – go to that party you’re unsure about.  Host your own event.  Talk to someone new.  Try an activity that secretly interests you.  Embrace embarrassment and laugh it off.

Adventure – explore a new, local area.  Take a mini road trip to a nearby town.  Travel out of the state, or out of the country.

Take care of yourself – get in tune with what you need, physically, emotionally, and mentally.  Open up to someone you love and trust about how you’ve been feeling.  Spend time with people that make you excited about life.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Explore your interests and find what you love: don’t just dream about it, figure out how to make it happen.  Organize your life once in a while: clean the house and do the laundry, even if you don’t want to.  Love yourself, especially when it seems impossible.  Be mindful of what you say, and the impact of your words.  Acknowledge your imperfections: identify and strive to improve those that you can influence, and move on from those that are beyond your control.  Laugh as often as you can.  Cry and scream until you’re exhausted and then pick yourself up and move forward.  Become the kind of person that you looked up to as a kid.  Try to accept that life is messy and terrifying and thrilling and rewarding and ultimately an opportunity to create and fail and experience and accomplish and learn and adventure.

Seize your opportunity, and have a beautiful year.

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