New Year’s Prep: Saying Goodbye to “New Year, New Me” and Hello to Reality

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Happy New Year!

It’s an exciting time in the world as the stockings are hung by the chimney with care, presents are unwrapped, and the new year is just around the corner. Christmas was beautiful here, and I hope whatever holiday you choose to celebrate was spent in good company with good food, creating many new memories.

But memories aren’t the only new thing coming up…with the year ending in four days, 2016 is knocking on our doors, begging to be let inside. And if you think I was feeling some type of way about Christmas, New Year’s is a whole other story.

There is a sense of hope in the air around this time of year. “NEW YEAR, NEW ME!” people scream. If I hear that one more time, so help me…

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You get the point, right?

The reason I’m not a fan of “New Year, New Me,” is the exact reason that is stated in the Leonardo DiCaprio meme. What does a little ball dropping in New York City have to do with who I am as a person? The clock striking midnight has no impact on my own self and who I am. And time is a relative concept, anyway.

So for this New Year, I’m going to try a few new things:

  1. Set Goals
    • Throw out the idea of “New Year’s Resolutions.” And don’t ask me what mine are because I won’t have any. The word “resolution” evolves from the word “resolve” which means to solve. Therefore, a resolution aims to fix (or solve) a problem in your life. I’m going to the gym because I’m too fat. I’m going to spend more time with my family because I am distant and disconnected. No. Instead, try setting goals. SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-sensitive. The difference is that resolutions look to resolve an issue, whereas goals look to focus on areas of improvement and growth. Resolutions are based in thought, whereas goals are based in actions and positive change.
  2. Reflect and Reevaluate 
    • Margaret J. Wheatley said, “Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.” I have no idea who Margaret J. Wheatley is, but damn, if she wasn’t talking about New Year’s, she could have fooled me. The whole point of a New Year’s resolution is to achieve something that may or may not have been achieved before in your life. Yet, before setting our goals this year, reflection is a key first step. Without it, it’s impossible to know what comes next. Reflection can take many different forms. For my fellow introverts, sometimes all you need is a quiet space and a blank journal. For others, reflection can be with a group of people sitting in a noisy coffee shop, chatting about previous life experiences and hopes for the future. There’s no one right way to reflect.
  3. Let the past guide your future
    • I saw a really good friend of mine over this break, and one of the first questions she asked me after I ranted and raved about my current life was this: “If your 10- or 15-year-old self saw you now, would they be happy?” Well, wow. That one caught me. On SO many different levels. But I think it’s a good indication of how we might want the new year to look. I think my 10-year-old social self would’ve wanted more of a social scene, so that is something I would like to focus more on in 2016. The past can also guide your future in terms of life experiences. I know some things happened in 2015 that I will try my best to avoid in 2016. Some call those things mistakes, others like myself call them learning opportunities.

And with all that said, no matter how you choose to celebrate the new year (I’ll be in Brooklyn with some great friends!!!), I hope everyone has a very happy, healthy, and safe New Year!!!