My favorite holiday is New Year’s. I don’t party. There is no bottle of champagne at my house. If I’m awake at midnight it’s probably only because of my neighbors setting off fireworks.
I just like the feeling that it is a new year. It seems to invite quiet reflection on the last year and plans and hopes for the one ahead.
I have started a few big changes in my life on January 1st in varying years that have actually been lasting and permanent. I don’t use the term New Year’s Resolutions.
I like to take some time around the New Year to write out a review of the last year. I break it down by category- health, finances, work, relationships, social, miscellaneous, etc. I write about things like:
- progress on big goals
- ways I’ve grown or improved
- things that aren’t going how I want
Normally it comes out to be a few pages. Then I pull out a few more pages and start in on my hopes, dreams and goals for the next year.
Some of these are the same year after year- wanting to eat healthy and exercise, continuing to save money for retirement and other on-going things. Others change depending on how my life is going. Sometimes even the major categories change.
Some of the things are big goals. Others are small. Some of them are well-defined. Others are vague things that I want to happen.
These aren’t things that are prone to failure like New Year’s Resolutions. They’re guides. I pick things like “I want to live an active lifestyle” rather than “I’m going to go to the gym every day.”
Through-out the year, I’ll sometimes come back to this and make notes on the things I’ve accomplished.
When I get to the end of the year, there will be things that I didn’t get to at all. There will be other areas where I’ve made huge progress. Sometimes the things I didn’t get to go on the next year’s list.
I like this time of reflection. It’s a time filled with gratitude for the past year and promise for the next one.
I feel like it’s important to think about where I’ve been and where I’m going. I know that I can’t control the future. Unexpected things happen.
I do believe that doing my part to plan for the future and work for the things I want DOES make a difference.
P.S. I also recently read a great article on thinking about the things we quit at this time of year. All of those things that we want to do need time, energy and money. If we don’t find places we can cut back, there isn’t much chance we’ll make progress on new goals.