How to find Hope in the New Year
By Charity Hagains MA LPC-S
Each new year brings with it an opportunity for growth and change. Resolutions become cemented over a bowl of black-eyed peas for luck, in an effort to motivate us into becoming the “better” versions of ourselves. In my office, I encourage people to stay away from these hardened resolute goals. “Lose 10lbs, drink more water, eat healthier, save X amount of dollars, finally do that thing you’ve been putting off doing.” While these are not bad ideas, to the contrary they are great, they tend to set us on a path of perfectionism rather than motivate us for long lasting profound change. The idea that happiness lies just on the other side of this achievement and once there life can truly begin, is a potentially disastrous notion that keeps us from happiness in this moment.
This year I offer you hope, rather than resolve, as a means to achieve the changed version of yourself. The path you walk is filled with millions of moments which can be celebrated and enjoyed. Imagine if this year, instead of waiting for the end result, you dedicated your mental energy towards deepening every moment. For example, congratulating yourself for every bottle of water you finish, feeling joy after pushing your body through an intense workout and consciously acknowledging every sore muscle, for every dollar saved to add a smiley face to your register, for every healthy meal you cook savor each bite with the knowledge that it is fueling you.
In past years you may have had to wait to feel the thrill of achievement, or struggled with disappointment as your well-made plans never flourished. 2017 needn’t be this way. By leaning into each moment, even the uncomfortable ones, and bringing purposeful thought into your daily life you can enjoy the journey as much as the outcome of your change!
Tips for enjoying the journey:
- Stay Conscious: Don’t just go through the motions of your day, but instead, bring each active second into your conscious mind. Acknowledge every moment as often as possible. What are you doing? Why are you doing it? How do you feel about it? Even the simplest of acts can bring much-needed purpose to your life when truly thought about.
- Celebrate Every Step: While it may seem to do the laundry doesn’t qualify for a ticker tape parade, it may be a necessary part of bringing joy to your world. Most people are far more comfortable with celebrating their bigger accomplishments than the everyday activities. Unfortunately, it is the everyday activities and responsibilities that truly make up our lives. With this knowledge, think of how much you are missing out on when you don’t celebrate these everyday moments. It is a necessity to bring these celebrations and congratulations into your everyday. Don’t wait to feel accomplished, nurture that feeling now.
- Be Generous with yourself: Be generous with your compliments, your time, your love and your gratitude…to yourself. We are comfortable with the idea of giving ourselves to others, but it is more difficult for us to justify being generous with ourselves. The more you give to yourself the better equipped you will be to give of yourself.
Enjoy your journey this year! Embrace the ups and the downs because the only thing I can guarantee you about this new year is you will experience both. Nurture yourself in every moment you can because that is what creates growth!