How did you walk into the new year? Were you running with energy and ready to enter the year with your goals and vision board? Or were you like me, moving a bit slower, somewhat crawling, and hoping that 2024 would be a bit gentler? I entered 2024 hoping it would be soft and peaceful.
There’s an unspoken expectation that we must start the year ready to accomplish tremendous goals. January is considered the perfect month of the year to leap into action, kickstart new habits, and go after our dreams. We make big, new plans for the year. People around me set intentions for the new year, make resolutions and re-evaluate their lives. Ultimately, some of us make promises to ourselves we can’t keep. Studies show New Year’s resolutions don’t work. Ninety percent of them fail, and more than half of them have been forgotten by the middle of February.
Since I crawled into this year, I’ve decided I would not go at full speed and would not focus on January as a month to leap into action from day one, but instead view January as a warm-up month. Often, people reflect on the closing year in a day or so. We are spending just twenty-four hours to reflect on 365 days of life. Then, we focus on making everything better or different for the new year. Are we missing the entire point of the turn of the new year?
I need to slow down into the new year to take an unhurried approach this year. Here are three steps to help you start the year slowly and use the first month to rest, reflect, and dream.
1. Reflect on what happened in your life in 2023
By taking things slow in January, you’ll allow yourself time to reflect on all you’ve been through over the past year. Sit and think about the joys, pains, and victories. What went well and what didn’t? How did you recover from the challenging moments? What is necessary for you to keep healing? Everything doesn’t have to be rushed, and you don’t have to rush yourself. Sometimes, we don’t sit with our wins or pain long enough. Doing this can help you process and acknowledge what you’ve been through while also helping you clarify what you want the next year to be all about.
2. Focus on filling up your cup
Somewhere in the goal setting and racing, we lose the sanctity of rest. We lose the ability to allow ourselves rest and recovery. Instead of entering the new year with a reset, we often enter the year feeling behind. Use January as a month to fill up your cup with relaxing and stimulating activities. Embrace the hibernation mode as much as possible. Snuggle in and enjoy candlelit baths, meditative walks out in nature, reading, making things, or watching your favorite movies. Enjoy the simple pleasures you don’t have much time for when rushing around for the rest of the year.
3. What do you want to fill your life with in 2024?
While you’re in a reflective mode, use it to create a list of the activities, people, and places you want to fill your life with over the coming year. What activities make you happy and feel alive? What people do you want to spend more time with, and what kind would you like to meet? What places do you want to spend more time in? That’s it. List the things that will fill your life and your simple pleasures. Now, you have a clear list of the areas of your life you will focus on during 2024.
Following these three steps will help you move slowly into the new year feeling rested, recharged, and clear on what you want from 2024.