A New Take on New Year’s Resolutions
The calendar turned over into a new year, and with the shift comes the opportunity to take stock of what went well in the last year, and what could be better in this new one. Our culture surrounds us with messages of constant improvement. The blank slate offered by the transition into January often is full of potential. However, for many of us on healing journeys, a start of a new year can be linked to increased anxiety, seasonal depression, and feelings of not being enough.
This year, we’re encouraging a different way of approaching the pressure that comes with the season of fresh starts and resolutions.
Poet Donna Ashworth writes,
“Why do we start a new year, with promises to improve?
Who began this tradition of never-ending pressure?
I say, the end of a year, should be filled with congratulation, for all we survived.
And I say a new year should start with promises to be kinder to ourselves, to understand better just how much we bear, as humans on this exhausting treadmill of life.”
She goes on to suggest there is another way to be present and kind to ourselves in a new year.
Yes, there are benefits to making resolutions, setting goals, and vocalizing your intentions for the new year. However, Discoverhealthyhabits.com shares, “According to a 2016 study, of the 41% of Americans who make New Years resolutions, by the end of the year only 9% feel they are successful in keeping them.” Something is not working in how we are setting goals and failing to follow through.
What if this year you could offer yourself more grace and compassion in the fresh month of January?
Clear outcomes and a strong support system can help make your intentions become realities in the year ahead. Too often, we set big, lofty goals without concrete ways of following through, or ways to know how to measure success.
Coach, business woman, and contributor to Forbes, Kathy Caprino suggests a new strategy for setting goals and intentions in the new year. She states, “What are the key themes that I want to expand on and bring into focus next year, and for what desired outcomes? Then I create a concrete plan with steps and milestones for achieving what I believe will generate more happiness and reward. And I get outside help when I need it, to continually assess these plans and steps.
This year, we invite you to start small, and think about one or two outcomes in each of the following categories that you’d like to experience.
Mind - How can you nourish and take care of your mind this year?
Finding emotional balance and working on mental health is no easy task. How can you partner with new supports as you work on your journey towards wellness?
Perhaps this is the year you find a caring therapist, or try new modalities to integrate past wounds and trauma. Healing work can be successful with intention and focus. Make a list of who you can call upon when stress is overwhelming.
You can also find a new activity to keep your brain working creatively. Find a crossword puzzle, or a book of logic, or embark on an art class to try something you’ve never done before. Giving yourself permission to be a beginner can be a beautiful way to get your neurons firing in positive ways.
Body - How can you nourish and take care of your body this year?
There are a multitude of choices on how to better care for your body. Often we think we need to sign up to run a marathon, or go all in on a new fitness routine to totally transform ourselves. How could you take a gentle approach instead?
Health.harvard.edu instead shares, “By working out, going on a meditative walk by yourself, or going for a synchronized walk with someone, you may gain access to a “back door” to the mental changes that you desire without having to “psych yourself” into feeling better.”
What are one or two small tweaks you could make to your daily schedule to add in more physical movement. Maybe you add a standing desk to your home office, or incorporate a stretching routine into your lunch break. Maybe you find a friend to walk with you around the neighborhood for fifteen minutes. There are also thousands of short, free, exercise clips on YouTube that you can try throughout the course of the week.
Taking care of your body also includes intention around diet, nutrition, and intake of foods and drinks that nourish your system. Be sure to eat a balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.
Spirit - How can you nourish and take care of your spirit this year?
Mark Hyman, MD, founder of The UltraWellness Center, writes, “Your spirit is your deepest sense of self, an invaluable aspect of life that, all too easily, can be pushed aside when things get hectic.”
In the noise of American culture, we sacrifice our inner voices and our deepest desires in the stream of busyness. How can you slow down with intention to listen to what your inner wisdom is guiding you towards?
How will you tune in to your deepest sense of self this year? Some ideas include using a meditation app, journaling, or writing Post-it Notes with affirmations and sticking them in places you frequently work. You are a beautiful human being. What forces get in the way of remembering that truth?
We’ll end this month with a quote from compassion researcher Kristen Neff. She shares, ““Rather than wandering around in problem-solving mode all day, thinking mainly of what you want to fix about yourself or your life, you can pause for a few moments throughout the day to marvel at what’s not broken.”
As you head into 2023, remember the many things that are going right. And for the areas you are looking to improve, the team at Aspen Ketamine Center is ready to partner with you on your goals, intentions, and resolutions for the year ahead. In true partnership, we are cheering you on.