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Restore to renew

In years past, I usually felt overwhelmed by a new year. The expectations of “new”, “better” when making resolutions seemed daunting. Replacing “bad” with “good” was just another process of self-criticism that I already participated in all year long. Why am I doing this after all the fun I just had during the holidays?  It just seemed like punishment. I also live in the Midwest. I think whoever started this resolution nonsense must have lived where winter didn’t exist. Have you experienced January in the Midwest? The last thing I wanted to do was leave my apartment, start something new that involved movement or focus. This is hibernation season! The lack of motivation experienced through the January & February winter months should be its own designation. The bears have it right.

 

We just came out of a time of year that can be very stressful for many of us. Whether you enjoy the holiday season or not there are many “have to’s” and plans and people.  This is a time when we may experience the heaviest waves of grief and loss. November and December can be depleting. And here we go into January, full blast, making all kinds of resolutions and changes and starting new habits.  Ugh. No thanks.  Slowing down after the hustle of the holidays is more likely what most of us need and what we often avoid.

 

As I grew older and somewhat wiser through practicing some self-compassion, I realized that January & February could still be very useful months. Instead of fighting my way into self-improvement through self-judgment, why not take this time for some self-reflection? For me, there is no change without a deeper connection to why I need to change and grow. Approaching a new year and resolving myself to invest in my own growth has been a much more productive avenue for change.  Perhaps it’s more productive to ask ourselves “Why do I want to make this change?”.  When we take the time to dig deeper within, we may discover what we think we need is not true.

 

If we look at these early months in the year as an opportunity for reflection, we are able to take the time to connect to a deeper self within us that can help guide us forward into discovering what we truly need.  We are constantly consuming external variables that often direct us into a place that is not meant for us.  We become impulsive and unaware. We wake up and ask ourselves "how did I get here?”. 

 

Taking the time to restore ourselves, to slow down, to reflect may not feel comfortable but it is helpful. If we connect to our “whys”, we can visualize change, we can find more commitment to our growth and we can motivate ourselves towards growth.  I suggest taking this time to ask yourself what you really need emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially. Not want - but NEED. From that place we can begin the process of fulfilling our needs with intentionality. Perhaps this will set us on a path of true transformation that doesn’t stop and restart on January 1st.  We can know ourselves so that we are able to continue growing and live each day in a more helpful way for our overall well-being.  Restore to renew. That is my resolution for every new year.



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