Happy New Year!
Let’s pretend I didn’t say that. We both know it’s nearly impossible to have a fully happy new year … as we’ve discussed in our sessions together, nothing is ever wholly black or white, happy or sad, good or bad, etc. It’s much more nuanced than that, isn’t it?
Let me start again …
Hello. Just moments ago the most glorious thing happened: all three of my kids went to school after 18 long days of togetherness. My house is quiet again, my tea is warm, and I have zero holiday errands to complete today… and so I thought I’d sit down for a moment and say hello.
With schools back open, the new year truly feels like it’s begun.
With a new year comes three predictable experiences:
- Repetitive “Happy New Year!” greetings in all emails and interactions for the first two weeks of January
- Lofty New Year’s Resolutions (there’s such a rush of dopamine in the grandest of plans! Even if they are unrealistic, it feels good to make them!)
- Discouragement, self-sabotage, and shame-spirals from failed New Year’s Resolutions
In fact, I’ve already run through these myself in the 4 days of 2023 so far.
Last night I set my alarm earlier than usual, with hopes of working out before my kids woke up and needed me. However, the flip of the calendar to 2023 did nothing to warm up my bedroom so I stayed under my warm covers, pushing snooze for 45 minutes.
Abandoning my work out plan in favor of warmth and sleep has been a familiar pattern for me in recent years…one that always discourages me and often leads to a predictable shame-spiral.
This morning though, I made a conscious choice to stop that shame-spiral. Instead of beating myself up for failing at my resolution to wake up earlier and workout, I leaned in to self-compassion. I practiced what I preached. And so, I’ve already modified my original new year’s resolution to reflect what I really need this year: self-compassion & permission to be flexible.
Original New Year’s Resolution:
I will wake up 1.5 hours earlier to exercise.
New & Improved New Year’s Resolution:
I will be gentle with myself as I intentionally focus on meeting my needs and wants, whether that be in the form of prioritizing sleep and exercise or prioritizing spontaneity and connection with others. I will practice moderation, self-compassion, and set boundaries (with myself and others) as I balance being a person, a mom, a wife, a sister, a friend and a therapist.
This is my hope for you too: that your resolutions for 2023 have the underpinnings of compassion, moderation, and flexibility. That you’re able to be gentle with yourself and others.
So, do I hope you have a happy new year? Yes! Of course. And at the same time, it feels more authentic to impart this:
I hope you have a year filled with curiosity, insight, growth, and compassion.
To you and your growth,