How To Really Set Your New Year Off Right
Doesn't everyone just love New Year's Eve?
I look forward to New Year’s Eve every year. Not because of the parties, or anticipation of a kiss, but with the impending magic that looms. I skip around to all my friends, eager to hear what they learned from this year and to celebrate both their accomplished goals, and their intentions for the year to come.
My husband is in private security and a first responder, so I can count on one hand how many holidays we have actually been able to spend together. Nevertheless, I enjoy New Year's Eve because it gives me time to reflect and set goals. It is a grand opportunity to set myself up for success, and leave a lasting legacy for my boys. My sparkling new life begins tomorrow! Right?!
Then January happens, and work, and life, and the glorious complications that come with each of those. My beloved list of goals eventually turns into reminders and sweet suggestions that I will get to after feeding the baby, meeting this deadline, doing the groceries, and showing up for my family. Before I know it, I am watching the countdown of yet another December 31.
Most New Year’s resolutions fail because they are too pretentious or not tied to a meaningful goal to begin with. This is why I prefer to set intentions. This gives me a chance to really tune in to what worked this year, and what didn’t, and focus on what I want to get out of the year to come.
Resolutions, goals and intentions all have one thing in common though…they all need to be poked and prodded, to be poured over and dug into. We have to take time to get to the bottom of why we give weight to any particular goal. We have to be brave and push through the familiar and the comfortable in order to get to the new and the necessary.
One of the biggest things that have helped me stay on track as the year progresses is choosing a word to sum up my goals for the year. For example, in 2017, my word was Restore. I wanted to get to a place where I felt like myself again, where I knew who I was and what I liked. I wanted to get to a place where I knew my strengths and aligned myself only with what played to them. It also happened to be the year that God restored my marriage, so that word ended up having extra weight by the end of the year.
In 2018, my word was Inspire. Having found fresh direction for my passions, business and skill sets, I set out to inspire others to do the same. I wanted women to find confidence and freedom and strength from their faith, their choices and in their lives—just as I had. After some of the sweet notes I have received recently, I would say that I have had the honor to do just that. I am so very grateful.
People always seem to ask how I go about choosing an anchor word each year. If you are one of those curious individuals looking to breathe some new life into your New Year intentions, let’s do it together!
I like to look back over the year and break it down a bit by asking a few probing questions
(no self- editing allowed!)
What could I use more/less of in my life?
What character traits would I like to develop/have?
By the end of the day, I feel _______.
How do I want to look/feel each day?
Asking questions like these allows me to take inventory of where I am, and where I would like to be. This also gives me a good sense of direction when narrowing down my anchor words.
Unless you live under a rock somewhere, I am sure by now that you have heard of Vision Boards. They are tangible or digital versions of what you want your life to include. This is a similar step in that, I like to visualize how I want my entire day(s) to look: from my morning routine, to my day at work or home, how I want to interact with others, how I want to behave towards my spouse and family and how I want to feel when I place my head on the pillow each night. I like to do this in the morning when my house is quiet and I am free of interruptions, because let’s be real, I am a mom of four boys and can barely make a trip to the bathroom without interruption! If you’re like me and interruption is inevitable, maybe carve out some time and go for a walk. Getting outside and connecting with nature can be both revitalizing and inspiring!
3. Write it Down
There is something powerful and even therapeutic about writing things down. The things we write down are more likely to be committed to memory, and more likely for our brains to set into motion.
I like to set a timer for 10-15 minutes and write down all the words that come to mind when considering an anchor word for the year ahead. Just write them down as you think of them, no self-editing. When you are done, set your list aside and walk away for a bit. This will help prevent any obsessive tendencies and self-imposing a word out of turn.
4. Fine Tune
Take your list and take some time to pray or meditate over the words and the year ahead. When ready, circle your favorites. I would try to keep it simple by circling only 3-5 words. Take time to look at the ones you’ve circled. How do they make you feel? From my own experience, often the words that scare me slightly, or get me super excited are the ones that tell me I am on to something. Trust your heart, pray it over as you narrow things down. Try them on as you go, and see what feels right. We are women, we have great intuition! Trust the process. When you finally find your word, you will feel a great deal of peace and empowerment.
5. Cool or Committed?
Finally, I like to take the time to really do some inner inventory and consider if I am choosing a word(s) because its cool, or because I am really committed to it. Remember before how I mentioned that my word this year was Inspire? That meant that every project I said yes to, everything that demanded my time and/or attention had to either be inspiring/life-giving to me, or through my actions to someone else. I like to make sure I am making choices that are best for me, and not just because my word looks really cool stamped on a key hanging around my neck.
Did you do it? What did you come up with? Once you have chosen the word that you can wholeheartedly commit to, write it down everywhere! Seriously, write it down on your bathroom mirror, your car dashboard, your journal, your Bible, your computer, your phone lock screen, wherever you will see it regularly. This will keep it fresh on your mind and help you visualize your goals more clearly.
I hope this helped you as you prepare to start a new year all shiny and new.
I’d love to hear what your words are! Comment below or tag me on IG and show me what you came up with.