For me, New Year’s is about reflection above all else. It doesn’t have to mean anything more than that. With reflection comes intentional living. Some people reflect on their birthday, a solstice day, or a Sunday. The top of the year is another reminder to reflect. As part of his reform, Caesar instituted January 1 as the first day of the year, partly to honor the month’s namesake: Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, whose two faces allowed him to look back into the past and forward into the future. What you make of January 1st is up to you.
Inboxes and social feeds are full of tips on how to start a habit or how to kick a habit. (Though, not a whole lot is written on how to maintain the good stuff we have in place.) I’m also seeing a resolution backlash where we are reminded that we are good enough and that resolutions can be triggering and imply that we are lacking in something. I pick option C–all of the above headline topics are true. We all probably should start something, stop something, and yes, of course, feel whole and complete regardless. So, how can we leverage the start of the year for something positive and not anxiety-inducing? We can reflect!
It’s not clickbait for social media, but that’s true of much content with substance. It doesn’t matter what you choose to do– be it stop, start, maintain, or do nothing–so long as you are intentional.
“To let oneself be carried on passively is unthinkable.”Virgina Woolf, The Waves
Curiousity Above Judgement
Reflecting is not about seeking dissatisfaction for the sake of drumming up a new goal. Living a life full of “shoulds” sounds like a tortured life ruled by your Judge. Sometimes, we just need a tweak of a habit, such as setting the alarm clock 10 minutes earlier. Reflection can also give us time to acknowledge what we have done well or what behavior patterns may have arisen. We know there is value in looking back before we look forward. Sadly, we tend to focus just on the forward part. If we do look back, it’s mostly to see where we “failed” with a self-loathing spirit. So, before jumping into (or bagging) the 2023 goals, be present and…reflect!
Below are some questions to help you reflect so you can be more intentional about setting (or not setting) goals for the future!
For a current status check, ask yourself:
- What’s working for me? (What do I want to continue)
- What’s not working for me? (That gets in the way of my bigger goals.)
- What’s ONE thing I can put in place that would have the greatest impact on my life?
For the goals where you felt short, ask yourself:
- Why did I want that goal last year?
- What became the greater priority or distraction from that goal?
- Was it too big?
- Was it sustainable?
- What was the deeper yearning behind that goal? (i.e. Initial goal: Lose 10 lbs. Yearning: To build confidence. Alternative question: What is another path to grow my confidence?)
- What support did I need that I didn’t have?
For the goals that you reached, ask yourself:
- How did I do that?
- How did I track it?
- What did that process do for me, for my confidence?
- What was it like working towards that goal?
- What habit worked for me?
- What support did I have in place?
All this reflection will give you a beautiful lens through which to live 2023 intentionally.
“Don’t stare out the window; run through the fields.”Marty Rubin