The end of the year tends to bring up a lot of positive and negative feelings and reflections.
The outside messages we’re constantly bombarded with tell us this time of year is about shopping and spending money, indulging in foods we know we shouldn’t and then crash dieting and gyming-it seven days a week to get a New Year, New You body.
But more importantly, it should be a time of reflection, of giving gratitude and of taking stock in what we want to improve upon in our lives and our relationships. This year, instead of it being around a New Year, New (External) You, make it about a New Year, New Attitude.
Make time between the hustle and bustle of travel, deadlines and family stresses to take an inventory of the past year in these three mindful ways:
Relationship with Self and Self-Care:
Reflect on your wins this year in the self-care department. What new habits have you adopted? What old self-sabotaging patterns have you let go of or at least become more aware of?
As you go into the new year, think about ways you can continue to strengthen and improve your relationship with yourself. Spend three to five minutes every evening for quiet reflection time. Start a gratitude journal. Find or maintain a relationship with a good therapist. Recommit to daily movement and pay more attention to choosing foods that nourish your body.
Relationships with Others:
What relationships deepened or improved this year? Which ones feel shaky, or even toxic? Give yourself credit for situations where you leaned into uncomfortable relationship moments, where you spoke up even if you wanted to shut down, where you clearly communicated your feelings or needs, where you established and held firm a healthy boundary. Now consider which dynamics you might try to steer into healthier territory.
Remember, you are only 50 percent of any given relationship, and as you start to do self-work and grow in this area, you might find some relationships can’t withstand your healthier sense of self and growth. Part of doing relationship work is also grieving the loss of the ones that no longer serve you, or worse, don’t respect a healthier, stronger you.
By nature, humans have a negativity bias. Meaning, we tend to see the negative quicker and beat ourselves up for things we didn’t do right rather than seeing the positive or giving ourselves credit for the wins, especially if they are small.
Challenge yourself to look at this past year through a set of positive lenses. Where can you pat yourself on the back for even tiny accomplishments that you feel moved you closer to your goals? Maybe in work, maybe in life. Write down and reflect on even the tiniest ones. Now, where do you see room for further growth and improvement? Be honest with yourself, but also notice how you speak to yourself.
Self-talk is a great indicator of mental and emotional well-being. If you find yourself using language that feels overly negative or even abusive, this is a good topic to bring into your personal therapy. And just like that, it all ties back together.
So, during this time of year, don’t stop yourself from having fun, getting some good shopping deals and eating a few pieces of pie you know you probably shouldn’t. But also make sure to carve out some time to reflect and go inward. The start of the year is a good time to reevaluate and make some small but impactful changes and commitments to yourself to continue on your journey of self-discovery and growth.