We’re hitting that time. An old year is ending and a new one begins. To some extent this change of the year is a bit meaningless. We increase the last digit when we write dates and life continues on as normal. In fact, when we even start the new year seems pretty arbitrary too. Especially when many other cultures celebrate the new year on completely different dates from us.
Despite all this, we actually attribute a lot to the change of the year. It’s symbolic to us and reminds us of the fact that time is passing. It forces us to step out of our own daily lives for just a moment and look at our lives on a bigger scale. To acknowledge this brief moment of mindfulness we have each year, I want to encourage you to not just create resolutions and look into the future, but to also reflect on the past. In essence, to look both ways.
Here’s a cool little exercise to do for your transition into the new year.
Step One: Identify one or two major areas of your life that have been a big focal point this past year.
For me, I’m going to look at my social life. A lot happened with me in regards to how I handle relationships.
Step Two: Look at how your life changed over that year
A year ago my social life was actually quite good. I had a close-knit group of friends, but I was also very scared of losing those people. Eventually that group did break up and I stayed friends with about half of them. Then I forged a lot of new friendships.
Step Three: Look at what major struggles you had.
For me, my biggest struggle was that fear of losing people. I often expected people to be unreliable, to not show up when I expected them to, and to be rather apathetic to my own needs.
Step Four: What would you have done differently?
Something I could have done differently was being more open to others possibly supporting me. I used to assume right off the bat that somebody was not going to be there for me, and it wasn’t until later that I realized I was incredibly wrong. I now know many of my friends would run through fire for me.
Step Five: What did you do right?
When a number of people left my life, I acknowledged that it had nothing to do with me. They had their own baggage that caused them to leave. In other words I was good at letting go of those people and did not internalize the situation. I also allowed myself to be more receptive to new people and allowed others become sources of support after that occurred.
Step Six: Knowing what you know now, how can you tackle your upcoming year?
Keep myself open to new people. Don’t assume that somebody can’t be there for you just because they don’t seem like an instant match for you. Recognize when people are supporting me and try to reciprocate that feeling. Let myself connect with people even if it means taking some risks.
Step Seven: Make a S.M.A.R.T. Goal
I’m going to identify at least once a week, if not daily, the ways others are actively supporting me.