Thursday, June 13, 2024

Feeling Grateful as a New Year Approaches

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By: Irene Roth

There is so much promise before a brand-new year. There is so much anticipation for new things and a carryover of things from the previous year that still needs to be done in 2023. This can be such a positive time for all of us.

Unfortunately, for some of us, we put way too much pressure on ourselves by criticizing ourselves for all the failures. Therefore, an end-of-year assessment can make us feel stressed out and even overwhelmed at the thought of a brand-new year.

I am one of those people who loves a brand-new year. Not only is it a brand-new chance to do better and excel, but it is a time to be grateful for yet another possibility to live a healthier and more balanced life. There is so much hope in a new year. Further, there is a lot we should be grateful for.

Gratitude is not something we often think about at this time of year. Usually, we’re too busy reflecting on how our past year went wrong. We rarely focus on some of the good things. Instead, we are dead set on finding fault with everything that we did. For this reason, I don’t make new year’s resolutions.

A few years ago, I started to new tradition. Instead of criticizing how I did the previous year, I looked at the year through the lens of self-compassion and gratitude. I focused on what went right and what was good about the year instead of all that went wrong. It was difficult to do at first. However, after a while, it became easier and refreshing.

It’s not that we should be in denial about some things that went not so well that particular year. However, instead of beating ourselves up about it, we should set those issues aside as problems that need to be addressed instead of insurmountable issues. Nothing is impossible to achieve with some planning and competition.

Here is how I proceeded. First, I opened my journal to a fresh new page. I pick up a few of my favourite pens, in different colours. I write all the not so good stuff that happened during the year in black ink. I also wrote everything that I thought was nasty, mean, and awful. It felt good to get it all out on paper.

Once I cleared my mind of all the negative stuff, I turned the page and wrote all the good things that happened during the year in purple ink (my favorite color). To my amazement, I noticed something very interesting. My list of good things that happened in the year was far longer than my list of bad things! This was an unexpected realization, something that transformed how I viewed every end of the year from then on.

That was three years ago. Now I still assess the previous year with a lens of appreciation, gratitude, and self-compassion. I decided not to look only at all the bad things that happened, but to also focus on all the good. All that is required is to shift what we focus on at the end of the year. By shifting our perspective this way, we can see the approaching brand-new year as an exciting time, a blank sleight on which we can write or draw a new tapestry for a better and more balanced life.

So as the curtain closes on yet another year, may we take the time to count our blessings? May we realize that there is so much that we have in our lives that is good. Because there really are my dear friends!

Happy New Year!

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