Leaning Gently & Intentionally into the New Year
The new year can feel exciting. I've always felt this as I like new beginnings. But somewhere along the way, I could also feel myself getting overwhelmed.
The shift seems so abrupt to me - we're reflecting on the year that was and then POW! Here's the new one that we're supposed to have a clear path on.
Over the years, I've found a few things that seem to allow for a more gentle approach into the new year. These tools/approaches have supported both me and my clients.
Exhale in January:
The end of the year is usually so busy and marks a distinct end to a cycle. Give yourself some time and space to allow for the shift.
One of the ways I love to invite in and experience more space is to find a spacious place that really honors this idea of contemplation. Labyrinths are perfect for this and you might be surprised that you're closer to one than you may think. Here's a website to see if there is one near you or a place you'll be in the future.
And other than labyrinths, there are plenty other places that you can explore for this - a park, a tree-lined street, a room in your home, a garden (yours or a public one) and on and on.
Whatever you choose, allow yourself a little time here. Perhaps you begin with a question or an intention. Take some breaths and see what you notice.
How About a Power Word for 2024?
There are so many ideas about having more intention for the year - goal setting, vision boards, a theme, a word and so on. My favorite these days is simple and impactful - a Power Word. It allows for learning from the past and using that in a new direction for the upcoming year.
This is how you can choose a Power Word for 2024. Reflect on 2023. Thinking back, what is one thing that if you had more of, it would've made all the difference for you.
For me, there was too much worry in 2023. Without it, I know I would have had more Peace & Ease (I know that's 2 words, but rule-breaking is allowed!). That would've made a big difference in my experience of the year. So that/those are my Power Words for 2024.
I used this exercise with almost all of my clients this year. They appreciated being able to reflect on 2023 and see how that learning could support them in moving forward this year. I heard things like Balance, Confidence, Self Compassion, Abundance, Connection, Openness, Curiosity...
What about you - what is your Power Word for the year?
Use Who You Want to Be to Guide You
Whether or not you have specific goals, a Power Word or none of the above, this next tool can guide you now and throughout the year.
First off, let's do a quick time travel in your mind to the end of 2024. What are some values, adjectives, characteristics that you'd like to use to describe how you showed up during 2024?
You might use your 2023 reflection to help you. Were there some things you could've done differently last year that would've supported you? For example, for me, all those worry thoughts were unnecessary. And I have some excellent tools and practices to support me worry less when I (remember to) use them.
So I could use words like intentional or consistent if that's what feels most important for this year.
This is an excellent way to guide you through the year and help you focus.
And of course once you decide on your words, you can look at ways to honor those words throughout the day/month/year. This is something I do with clients throughout the year to support them and remind them of their direction, when necessary.
If you choose to do this, I invite you to have a check-in with yourself - perhaps monthly or quarterly. How are you doing? Do the words still feel relevant or are there others that are a better match right now?
We all know that even if we have great intentions, life is very good at surprising us. The powerful thing about this tool is that no matter what the challenge or how far it might take you off course, you can choose how you show up through it.
There's so much we can't control, and being intentional about how we're showing up is one thing we can.
If you have thoughts about how you'd like to use these suggestions or you have a favorite way to anchor into a new year, I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to reply to this message.
Enjoy exploring & experimenting the rest of this month and beyond!