New year’s eve presents us with the edge of a new year, a fresh start! And who doesn’t love a fresh start right?
Well you’re in luck. There are lots of different new year celebrations in a ‘year’. For example Chinese new year follows a lunar calendar and begins on January 25th and runs for 15 days. Welcome to the year of the rat by the way!
There are many cultures who also follow a lunar calender instead of the Gregoarian. Korean people might celebrate Seollal on February 8th.
Many Wiccan and pagans consider Samhain on Oct 31st to be the start of the new year. It’s my understanding that the Jewish calendar has four different days dedicated to the celebration of a new year!
So it’s pretty common to enjoy the idea of a fresh start. So why do I ask in the title of this piece is it over yet?
Because it is also a common thing for many people to get depressed and stressed out just after their ‘fresh start’. In fact, so much so that there is a phenomenon called “blue Monday” that is supposed to be the saddest day of the year. This year it falls on January 20th.
Why does this occur? While there are many reasons, I know of one big one that is totally NOT necessary and can easily be mitigated!
That one reason simply because of the outlandish, meaningless goals people tend to set for themselves when all fired up about a ‘new year’. The same ones that later they falter on and then beat themselves up for.
This is why I refuse to set resolutions or intentions or whatever you call them during the new year burst of energy. I gave that up, on purpose, a number of years back. For a while I tried to replace resolutions with ‘intentions’. While that was better because it was a slight mindset shift, at the end of it was the same issue root problem!
I’m just not in the right frame of mind to be setting goals for myself during this time. Period.
The frustration of not getting things accomplished or realizing I had simply forgotten all about what I swore up and down I would change, shift, do or get rid of is not how I want to start or end my year. The goals I made either weren’t my own or lost meaning quite quickly.
I just wasn’t ready to be choosing the direction for my life yet. I hadn’t done the work I needed to do…yet.
I’ve found it far more useful to use this time to reflect. To specifically spend some time thinking about how the last year went, where I am in all the different aspects of my life and the lessons I’ve learned. (Even the ouchy lessons!) I spend time with the good, the bad and the ugly and I try to sit with gratitude during it all.
Mind you, if inspirations show up, I write things down so I don’t forget them, but they are not goals…yet.
You see, very few of us actually take the time to purposely reflect on things that happen (or don’t happen) in our lives. Most of us just kind of find ourselves being carried along and muddling through.
While there many be many reason why many of us don’t spend the time to think about what has gone well or what we can learn from what didn’t go well, I think they generally have their roots in a few basic ones.
For one thing it isn’t something that we are generally taught, or see adults spending time doing. In fact, how often do you just sit and think about things? While doing nothing else? Or when was the last time you saw or talk to someone about just taking some time to think? Like REAL time?
It’s just not happening much, if at all. And we NEED it to happen. We need to stop judging the idea of stopping and thinking as a waste of time. We are worrying that we ‘should’ be doing something when in fact, we are doing something really important!
Then there is the ‘how’. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a coaching client get around to this point. They feel silly but the truth is many of us feel unsure about how to reflect on things. What do we DO? When do we do it? How do you know if you’re done? How often? It goes on and on.
So let me give you a few tips okay?
- You can set aside a quiet hour or whenever you might have pulled out your phone or laptop to entertain you. Finding time to think isn’t hard. It’s just paying attention to the opportunities. Personally like to have a cup of hot coffee or tea and just sit in my arm chair and let my mind wander every once in a while.
- Journals can also be really helpful if you practice writing in flow. And you will need to practice a little. Don’t worry there are TONS of writing prompts to get you going. The trick is to write without editing your thoughts or judging them and to write often.
- Set a regular time to review or reflect on your actual progress towards your goals. Not only does this keep you motivated and excited (I mean who doesn’t like celebrating successes?) but it also keeps you on track and ensuring that these goals are still meaningful. I do this monthly and quarterly for different goals. Look for progress and then really ask yourself how it went, what was good and what could you have truly done better.
- Having goals for every aspect of your life, along with writing down the next few steps along the way is an incredible way to kick start the process of getting the life you want. Be sure to write down where you are right now so you can look and see your progress. When you’re in the trenches progress and be tough to see without notes!
Reflecting is a vital part of creating a life you want, and success. It’s an aspect that is too often over looked by people. You can’t do better if you never stop to take in the lesson!
So now it’s your turn.
How often you get really purposeful about checking in with yourself about how your life, dreams and goals are going? Do you have any tips you can share with us?