The beginning of a new year can bring with it a host of different feelings. Perhaps you’re relieved that last year is over, maybe you’re optimistic about what might be ahead of you. It may be you’ve decided your new year’s resolution for this year and you're feeling positive that you’ll stick at this one a bit longer. Maybe you already feel defeated, knowing that nothing is going to change.
The end of one year and the beginning of another is an opportunity though, a moment to pause and reflect. This blog aims to do just that. To give you a moment to reflect on the last year and think ahead to the next. It may be that you want to think this through for yourself, perhaps you think your child would benefit from taking some time to reflect in this way, or maybe it is something that might spark conversation in your family over the holidays. However you choose to use it, try to make the most of this opportunity, you won’t regret it.
Use the new year as an opportunity to reflect
The first thing the new year brings is an opportunity to reflect. A chance to look back on the year just gone, before rushing onto the next. Perhaps there have been difficult and challenging times this year, or it has been a season of loss. It might be that you’re really encouraged by a change you’ve seen this year or how you’ve handled situations differently. Whatever your year has been like, looking back and taking time to think about it will help you to see if there are things to celebrate, obstacles you’ve overcome, learning opportunities or things to be thankful for. In doing this, the aim is not to focus on what might have been or to feel defeated by mistakes from the past but to use this reflection in order to move forward.
Questions to consider: What’s gone well this year and what hasn’t? What have I enjoyed or what have I found hard? What am I most proud of? Do I have any regrets? What obstacles have I overcome?
Use the new year as an opportunity to look forward
As you’ve looked back and reflected on the last year, you’ll feel better able to look forward and think through what you’d like to accomplish this year. Perhaps there are areas of change you’d like to see or passions you’d like to pursue further.
Rather than resolutions, try to have some goals you’d like to work towards this year. Maybe there are people you’d like to spend more time with or things you’d like to say “no” to. Sometimes we can be fearful of not knowing what is ahead, leading us to feel anxious or despairing. As you look ahead remember the things that are within your control and those that aren’t your responsibility.
Question to consider: What would I like to achieve this year? Who would I like to spend more time with? What hobbies/activities or habits would I like to start? Is there anything I would like to stop? What am I worried about ahead of this year? What is in my control and what isn't? What help do I need this year?
Use the new year as an opportunity to prioritise
The moment to pause and reflect at the beginning of a new year also gives you the time to think about what your priorities are. Sometimes we become consumed by all that is expected of us, we fail to see whether our lives are supporting the things we value most. Prioritising means putting what’s most important first and making sure the other things in your life fall around this. This is important to think through within your family too, not just your own priorities but what is most important to you as a family and each member of it.
It’s not always easy to do this and there are many things in life that need our time and attention. But the purpose of thinking through your priorities, is to evaluate whether the things in your life are supporting this or becoming detrimental to it. Sometimes we theoretically believe our priorities are one thing but we subconsciously build our lives around something else.
Questions to consider: What do I value most in life? What’s most important to me? What am I passionate about? Where would I like to invest my time, energy and resources? How can I use my time, energy and resources to support these priorities?
Use the new year to cultivate habits that last
The final opportunity you have, at the beginning of a new year is to cultivate habits that last not only through the year but longer term too. Once you know what your priorities are, not only can you build habits and patterns that support them but you can also think about your wider wellbeing too. It’s helpful to think about habits that support your wellbeing in the following three categories: physical, mental and social. This will look different for everyone but might include exercise, diet, sleep, leisure, rest, relationships and use of technology.
Try to find one thing each day that does you good. That could be something as small as eating a piece of fruit, messaging a friend, going for a walk or having an early night. Whatever it might be for you, use this time at the start of a new year to think about what habits can support your priorities and your general wellbeing too.
Questions to consider: How can I look after myself physically, mentally and socially? How can I eat a more balanced diet? What can I do to sleep better? When do I rest during the week? What friendships are important to me? If I was given an hour a week, what would I want to do with that time?
However you might be feeling ahead of this new year, try to make the most of the opportunity you have. The opportunity to reflect, to look ahead, to prioritise and to form habits that last. Be realistic with these things, you will make mistakes and do things imperfectly. There will be lots you can’t control this year and much that will take you by surprise. But by pausing and reflecting for a moment, you’ll feel better prepared for all that might come your way this year.
Happy New Year!
If you think your year could be helped by getting support for your child, why not take a look at our team ofcounsellors, or get in touch to find out more.