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January + Thoughts about the New Year

A new year. To be honest, I really love the feeling of a new year. I really do. It’s hopeful and full of promise. There’s an electricity in the air. It feels really good to me. It’s like … cracking open a new novel … the first crisp page of a new notebook. A cool fall morning after a long summer. The sun breaking through a thick fog. A warm sunrise.

But, years ago, I found myself feeling sort of suffocated by January. I felt claustrophobic inside of my own skin. I realized that it was because I was laying out all of my goals, hopes, plans, and dreams for the year and then immediately feeling as if I were already too far behind. As if it all needed to happen immediately. As if my goals weren’t actually goals, but perceived failures because I hadn’t already accomplished them. I had it wrong. It was too much, too fast and not at all the point. But, it was (and is) unfortunately very on-brand for my personality.

Over the years though, my approach has evolved into a much quieter style of welcoming a new year. I now comfortably recognize that the beginning of a new year doesn’t bring any guarantees. A new year doesn’t automatically erase anything. And, it shouldn’t be an invitation for shame. January 1 is just another day, after all. It’s packaged up real pretty, but it often doesn’t feel like the “fresh new start” that it’s promised to be. If that’s what you are holding onto, disappointment often quickly follows. This year, the “fresh” new year immediately brought sickness and quarantine to our home. But it’s okay, because I’d already let go of all of those shiny expectations from years past, so I didn’t feel as let down as I might have. It felt … well, it felt like real day-to-day life. And, guess what? Letting go of those types of expectations didn’t take away any of the things that I love so much about a new year. It’s actually made them even sweeter.

Now, I ease into January. Slowly. Without the expectation of any type of grandiose entry into NEW. I wait until it’s actually January to write out my thoughts and goals … and I include a lot of stillness around that practice these days. What do I want to do and accomplish, sure … but also how do I want to feel? What feels right? What feels good and true and aligns with my values? I ease into the month before I jump into any type of new schedule or plan. January 1 is rarely a good day for me to start something new. I’m coming off of a whole holiday hangover and I need a minute. Sometimes it’s healthier for me to wait until the 5th … or the 15th … or the 25th … or February 1.

My point? I guess my point is … set goals and dreams and make lists and try something new … if you want to. If YOU want. I happen to be someone who likes all of that jazz, but I have to do it my own way to feel the freedom in it and from it and not feel caged by it. Don’t be afraid to go after this year YOUR OWN WAY. Even if that means not going after a single darn thing. I mean, who makes these rules anyway? Who are these January marketing gurus and what do they actually want from us? {our money or our submission usually – spoiler alert} Who says we have to dive in to something new immediately? Who says that it’s better for you this way? What if you don’t need to be a “new you” after all? It’s okay to give yourself a little bit of time. You don’t have to figure out your year right away. You don’t have to “figure out your year” ever. Maybe you don’t need a new schedule or new routine or anything new at all. Maybe you do. Maybe that’s okay. Maybe both ways are okay or an all new way that’s all for you.

Happy New Year, friends. Happy mid-January New Year.

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