As you may have noticed, we’re a few days away from the start of a new year. I’m not going to tell you whether or not you should set resolutions or goals or challenges. Partly because I did that last year, and partly because only you know what your mindset is right now. Maybe it’s the year for a resolution and maybe that just won’t work for you.
I’m just going to talk. Because sometimes it’s good to pause and think about how you feel about the new year. Whether you feel confident, optimistic, anxious or fearful, or have a mixture of feelings.
Success and happiness don’t always look like we expect them to
Sometimes life doesn’t go to plan. And sometimes it does, but we don’t expect it to feel as it does.
In 2016, my husband and I had our most financially successful year in our then 5 years of marriage.
It was also the hardest due to a period of unemployment, ill health, family crises and a life lost too early.
I have been extraordinarily fortunate in many respects, but life isn’t plain sailing for anyone. Our huge financial achievement seemed irrelevant and unimportant.
This time last year, I couldn’t muster excitement for the new year. I couldn’t orientate my thoughts towards moving forward with greater purpose, or clarify my goals. Maybe you know this feeling too. You don’t have to feel like you have to kick start, reboot, triangulate, or any other fancy word for changing your life. You can just keep tackling each day, because in the tough seasons of life, that is more difficult that broaching a life altering mission in the good seasons.
Do you feel ready for the new year?
You don’t have to feel ready for the new year. Most years, I haven’t. It is only having a different feeling, an excitement for January, that has made me recognise that I don’t normally have the same thirst for a new year that many writers at least have you believe.
This year is different. I don’t know why, and if I work it out, I’ll share the secret! But for possibly the first time ever, I’m actually excited about January.
But you don’t have to feel ready. You don’t have to be excited or feel like you need some life altering challenge to tackle. If January is a month to get through that gets you closer to spring, then know that you aren’t the only person to have ever felt this way. You will get through it and spring will be a month closer.
You don’t have to deprive yourself of niceties or burden yourself with a challenge that you feel that you’re supposed to do in the most miserable month of the year, which is how January has always felt to me.
Take care of yourself. Keep tackling each day. And if periods of time come when you feel energised and excited, seize them as they appear.
This new year, I don’t have a resolution, but I have a renewed enthusiasm for looking after myself.
I don’t understand why the start of this year feels different and I don’t feel like January is going to be a chore. Nothing ‘amazing’ is expected to happen, there are no big events, and the main thing on my mind as a ‘2018 must-do’ is re-potting my cactus without a) prickling my fingers and b) killing it. Suggestions in this regard most appreciated!
Take time to appreciate what you have
This isn’t a golden bullet and some days, in spite of everything I have, I find myself feeling a little lost and lifeless. Honestly though, the most powerful way of creating happiness is recognising how lucky you are.
After that challenges of 2016, I know that I’ve never appreciated any year as much as I’ve appreciated 2017. Rather than telling myself not to count my chickens until they’d hatched, I realised that many of them had already.
That doesn’t stop me getting more chickens in the future and maybe I won’t keep all my chickens forever. But it does mean I’m going to enjoy and appreciate the good times. Even when they may be a little mundane to outsiders!
You’ve heard this before because it’s true
Increasingly over this year, I have become more and more aware of the abundance and opportunity in my life. I’m far from the first person to say this, but recognising the good things in your life and being genuinely grateful for them does much more for happiness than measures and metrics.
I’ve always hit (or come extremely close to) the financial targets I’ve set myself but finally I may have learned that money doesn’t equal happiness. And when you look a little beyond the numbers, life is altogether more exciting.
How are you feeling about the new year?