Intentional and imperfect resolutions
Happy new year! People I've seen both inside and outside of my counselling sessions have been talking about what they want this year to look like - the things they want to do, the kind of people they want to be. I enjoy having these conversations because we need to know roughly where we want to end up in order to take steps in our preferred direction. It helps to be intentional.
There are a few things that have helped me, at least, be intentional. A couple of years ago, a friend introduced me to Year Compass, a free downloadable booklet which helps you review the previous year and explore what you want the upcoming year to be like. There's a question in there that asks you to provide a word that will symbolise and define the year ahead. If I reflect on nothing else, I think about that one at least. It acts as a compass throughout the year to make sure I'm on the right track - for example, I'll think to myself, "Ah yes, I wrote that I wanted this year to be about being gracious" (grace was my word for last year) and it nudges me to act accordingly.
Another friend gifted me a One Line a Day Journal, in which you write a sentence or two for each day for five years (see image). As someone who can lose steam when the task feels too big, it's low-pressure for me because there's only room to write something short, and it prompts me to reflect on what I'm doing compared to the previous days and years. Sometimes journalling has made me think, "When I sit down with my journal tonight, what do I want to be able to write about my day?" (Some days I wrote that I watched Netflix for the better half of the day.) The limited space of each journal entry makes me look for things to appreciate: "What do I want to remember about this day?"
Having a Team Me full of encouraging people has definitely helped me get by! When I want to do something, they cheer, encourage, suggest, pray, hold me accountable, celebrate the small wins, and sit by me in the tough times. It takes time and effort to build a Team You. Maybe part of that team is a psychologist, counsellor, or similar, because talking to someone outside your situation can help you explore where you need to go and how to get there.
Lastly, reflecting is all well and good, but it needs to be combined with manageable steps. I love the comic below by Grant Snider, which lists practical ways to finish what we've set out to do. They're a kindness, as well; permission to not do everything and to do things imperfectly. Whenever you are reading this, new year or not, I hope your next steps are intentional and imperfect.