Lessons for the New Year

It’s not about resolutions, it’s about making sure we carry the lessons onwards.

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Music and Festivities (Image Source: mmm.dk)

inThere are many trending articles regarding the utility of resolutions; why they’re pointless, how or why they can instigate real change. In an ideal world, perhaps we wouldn’t need to reach the end or beginning of the year in order to prompt self-reflection and evaluation of where we are in our lives due to the evolving trial and error nature of our existence. Around this time, my cognitive routine tends to involve classic nostalgic reflection of ‘where was I last year,’ followed by the analysis of ‘where I am now,’ and the (somewhat redundant) predictive ‘where will I be next year.’

I find it hard to not reflect, and though I don’t think that resolutions are the answer to our problems, I am of the opinion that reflection and an awareness of lessons cans springboard awareness and future change. The insight provided around this time of year stems from the idea that we’re a year wiser – with lessons learnt and challenges met – to figure out what works or what does not. Specifically, I can grasp what patterns not to repeat, or when to avoid banging my head against the same metaphorical wall (whether that be in work, relationships, or family life) like a conditioned Skinner rat. Thus, considering the lessons of the year helps ensure that they don’t slip away, and helps to alleviate the risk of repeating patterns that haven’t served us.

Lesson 1: I will not keep people in my life who act like they don’t give a f**k. It means they probably don’t.

This is quite simple-stupid, and has involved my recognizing the importance of balancing being kind and forgiving and setting adequate boundaries for myself. With a newfound focus on the latter, I can marry the way I wish to be treated with the people that I choose to make an effort for, and hold onto within my life. That is, I am no longer chasing people who don’t make the same effort, will expect a certain standard of (reciprocated) kindness and communication, and am refusing to attempt to resuscitate relationships that have been one-sided, or have drained rather than enhanced. This isn’t to say that change within friendships and relationships are not possible, the shift is ensuring I am met halfway.

Lesson 2: I am going to do something that is good for my body every day.

The reminders of self-care and nurturing our own bodies is a theme that has been reinforced over the year. This isn’t the illusive six-pack or attaining a sexy ‘beach body,’ (especially considering that a solid proportion of my year was spent inhaling the bread and olive oil before my pasta dishes arrived in Italy), but rather the balancing act of nurturing our bodies, and doing so within the best of our capacity without letting it overtake the other parts of our lives. For me personally, the benefits of excercising is in direct correlation to my mood for the rest of the day (endorphins, anyone?), yet I don’t beat myself up for it when my motivation is about as high as chewing my left arm off.

Lesson 3: I’m going to be bringing a bit of my holiday self to my everyday existence.

Whilst I have had the pleasure of my own big European adventure this year, I am going to make sure that I enjoy my existence without needing pack my bags indefinitely to marvel at European architecture or work in a foreign country and get my portrait painted by Columbian men. I can do great things like learn a new language, meet new people, and enjoy music and festivities within my own city, and remember that having new experiences does not need to be exclusive to heading overseas.

Overall, it is noticing the lessons and applying them to the future which can create real shifts; I know that I will be steering clear of liquid eyeliner and blue-fudge hair dye, but that’s just my journey.