On this cusp of a new year, you may not need me to remind you that this opportunity for fresh starts is a perfect time to engage in deeper reflection and, yes, goal setting. ~ I will, however, share some ideas on HOW to go about this in ways you may have not considered that I hope sparks inspiration for you.
It’s all too easy to continue going about our lives day-to-day, without much time or energy to stop and look at the bigger picture. (Believe me, I know!) However, it is often our ability to do so that enriches our lives with greater peace, clarity and will make it into more of what we have been desiring all along. (Isn’t that our goal, ultimately?!)
Here are a few ideas I feel are worth setting aside time for now around the new year or any time you want a fresh start, for that matter.
(I’ve personally been meaning to do some of these for some time now, so this is a list for me as much as you. I’d love to hear which ones speak most to and inspire you.)
1. Letter to Your Past, Present and/or Future Selves
Have you ever heard someone ask the question: if you could go back and give some advice to your 20 year-old self, what would you say? Or, what do you wish your 10 year-old self to know and remembered through your growing up years?
Alternatively, if you yourself in 20 years could speak to you now, what might they tell you? What can you muster up the compassion to say to yourself NOW that you really long to hear about your present life situation?
What will you do with these letters?
2. Letter to Others in Your Life
Same idea as above but with the subject being someone else important in your life: a parent, sibling, child, spouse, anyone you want to reflect on.
For example, for a young child, write to their 20 year old self, reflecting on the current year, their current hopes and dreams as well as yours for them. Share your current situation in a way they can’t understand now but in a way they may want to when they are older.
Writing to an aging parent that may not have the same vitality you remembered from your youth may be more meaningful than you realize. Putting some of your favorite childhood memories down on paper for them may be a deeply impactful way for them to feel that sense of LIFE again. It’s often easier for us to write something we are not used to saying, so go ahead and pour out the sentimentality here!
3. SlideShow With Music
Take advantage of one of those picture apps on your phone that compile some of the best pictures and videos from the past year, setting it to music,🎶 and enjoy it with friends and/or family! In person, ideally.
If you are visiting an elder who couldn’t be there for many of those captured moments, sharing with them in this way can give them that deeply needed sense of belonging we all need.
❤️ Laugh. Reminisce. Dream. Enjoy!
4. Nature Walk
Taking a walk through any of the wooded trails in the area can be a great way to clear your head before engaging in any of these other activities. (👍 TIP: There are some great paved rail trails as well for those who need!) Movement itself is excellent for mental health and clarity and the fresh outdoor air and surroundings are filled with a sense of renewal. Why not make it a regular part of your week!
5. Connect With People - In Person
Stop saying you want to catch up and actually call that person you’ve been thinking of. Schedule that “coffee date” or whatever fits into your life. Make it a priority. You may be amazed how nourishing it feels.
👍 TIP: Networking events count IF you actually follow up and build connections from them!
BONUS: Do That ONE Thing! JUST START
You know - that one thing you have been putting off for longer than you want to admit. Stop thinking of the WHOLE thing at once. Find the smallest possible step that’s needed to get you started. Do that. And so on! 👌 (You’ll thank yourself for it later! 😊)
These activities help us become more intentional, allowing us to slow down, connect with ourselves and those around us more authentically, and engage in the valuable process of growth and LIFE itself.
Here are a few things to keep in mind in the process:
~ Reflecting on our lives, there's grace in acknowledging areas we aim to expand, like nurturing relationships and chasing dreams.
~ Equally important is recognizing spaces we wish to diminish, letting go of negativity and self-limiting beliefs that hinders our growth.
~ Humbly seeking assistance where needed, understanding that letting in help is in fact a strength, not a weakness.
By engaging in the difficult work of identifying areas where personal responsibility can fuel greater positive change, the upcoming year can become a canvas where self-reflection paints a beautiful work of art, inspiring new growth, renewal and resilience in us and our world.