by Juliet Kaska
Believe it or not, 2021 has come to a close. If your year was anything like mine, it flew by in seemingly a heartbeat. Though it may have felt like a whirlwind, or perhaps because it was one, it’s important to take time to recap what we’ve learned this past year and recalibrate our minds and bodies.
Often, our list of “Next year I’ll do this…” is long, but the time we allot to it is short. Before you know it, it’s February, and life feels even busier than before and nothing new has gotten done or even started.
Let’s take a look at some ways to clear our minds and set the stage for the new year. Take your time with each of these exercises as you create your 2022 goals & intentions list:
- Self-compassion: Let’s face it: the last 12 months have been… a lot. Our stress levels have collectively been higher than normal, which affects how well we cope with, well, just about everything. It’s important to have compassion for the weight we’ve been shouldering, and acknowledge the effort we’ve put forth within the storm. Take time to acknowledge yourself for how you got yourself through the last year.
- Forgive yourself: We all make mistakes. Sometimes I feel like I make them every day! It’s part of the human experience, and none of us are immune. It’s important to forgive ourselves and remember that we’re all doing the best we can. Not only that, the journey never stops. As Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” Mistakes are just our road signs guiding us to who we’d like to be. Take time to take stock of your mistakes, forgive yourself (also an act of self-compassion) and then identify who you would like to be or what you would like to do.
- Gratitude: Yep, this old chestnut. Having gratitude for what we’ve got, as well as all the lessons learned this past year is essential to our mental health. Doing so brings us greater, and more consistent feelings of happiness, and who doesn’t want that? Further, taking stock of what we’ve got often provides an important perspective shift away from the negative, or lack. Take time to jot down a list of 100 things you are grateful for; i.e. I am thankful for the roof over my head. I am thankful for this clean fresh water I am drinking. I am thankful for my friend Jane.
- Honesty: Now that we’ve given ourselves compassion, forgiveness, and gratitude, it’s time to take an honest look at where we did and didn’t take care of ourselves this past year. Did we make time to meditate as we said we would, or did we spend that same time scrolling on social media? Did we make food choices to fuel our body or tax it? Rather than berating yourself for these “areas of growth,” try to recognize them for what they are, and assess what you might be able to do to adjust things moving forward. Take time to review our commitments for 2021 and then be honest with what you did and did not do to fulfill them. (Remember to forgive yourself as you do this).
- Think (way) ahead: Make this year less hectic by actioning some of your goals now. Want to meditate every morning of 2022? Start now, so that the habit is already in place for the rest of the new year. Sign up for that Pilates membership now. By thinking ahead, you’ll set yourself up to follow through. Once you’ve got your list of “actionables,” take the time to put those plans in place. One hour can do a lot to set up a whole year of success.
The New Year is here and moving quickly. By taking the time to do these self-care exercises, I hope you have a fabulous 2022, full of intention, peace and success. You are worth the investment of making it a great one. Happy New Year!