At the Dawn of Your New Year…

Good morning Mamas, and Happy New Year!

Each Jan 1, it seems like pressure to make resolutions is everywhere, and unfortunately, resolutions often have the tendency to focus on what is ‘wrong’ with us or our lives: commit to stop doing something ‘bad’ even if it doesn’t really hurt us, or limit things we really enjoy, or force ourselves to do something we don’t like. Many people, me included, don’t do traditional ‘resolutions’ because the whole exercise can seem pretty negative. (Jamie over at The Poptart Diaries published a post just this morning that I found quite familiar on that front!)

On the flip side, I (also like many people) do enjoy the process of reflecting and getting inspired for bettering myself and my life. So I’ve pulled together a few ideas here for how to do some reflection – if you’re so inclined – without the pressure, negativity, or self-destruction that resolution-making can sometimes bring at the end of an otherwise jolly holiday season:

  1. This simple post from Instagram user elephantjournal (this is the one I’m personally going to give a go this year): Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 10.48.32
  2. Writings like this that reverse thinking on common resolutions: 7 Things Good Mothers Do That I’m Not Going to Do. (My favourite part is when Anderson explains she’s not going to be “eternally patient” because “It’s good for kids to recognize the incipient stages of someone losing their shit. This will serve them well in the world.”)
  3. Reframing resolutions as ‘intentions,’ which allows some general reflection without getting caught up in the quantifiable details that so often cause people to stumble and ultimately give up early on the goals they’ve set for themselves.
  4. Rather than making a list solely of goals you haven’t met yet, try a list of anticipations or excitements for the year ahead. My husband and I did this a few years ago (and we had a really good name for it, too, but as it was on a pre-crash computer and I have baby brain, I can’t remember it now!). It was a fun exercise because it reconnected us to our favourite activities, both separately and together, so that we were each reminded of the things that make our partner really happy, and renewed our desire to help the other person experience those things more often. It also allowed us to highlight all the things that were already going to be happening in the coming months that we were pumped about, and see what we already had going in an exciting light, rather than only thinking about things we wished or hoped might be different. The best tangible result was that it encouraged us to actually plan and take a fun road-trip that summer. We’d both been missing traveling a lot since moving home from overseas a couple of years before, and putting it in writing in January allowed us the time and momentum to make it happen by August!

I’d love to hear more ideas from my village community – what do you do at the dawn of a new year?

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