Think of beginning a new year as starting a new chapter. While technically January 1 is just like any other day — and you can certainly change or adopt new habits whenever you see fit — it's a perfect time stamp to think about the years behind and ahead of you, which is why so many people use the occasion to create a list of thoughtful, meaningful, and even atypical New Year's resolutions.
For some, a fresh start means clearing out negativity, while for others it means paying attention to your romantic partner's love languages or reconnecting with loved ones. That said, you shouldn't feel tempted to base your own resolutions on what anyone else is doing. According to Florida-based Certified Mindset Coach and Rapid Transformational Therapist Tracy Litt of The Litt Factor, the best way to think about your own goals for the new year is by looking to your past.
"You cannot meaningfully make new choices for the new year, without reflecting back through the year that is coming to a close," Litt explains. "Through reflection, you'll discover what powerful resolutions you truly want to create." And to get into the zone, she suggests asking yourself questions such as, "What went well? What am I most proud of? What didn't go well Where did I fall short and what happened? When I reflect on 2018, did I spend most of it empowered and happy or disempowered and negative? Where did I not take action and what stopped me? Was my energy high or low?"
Once you've answered these questions, your goals for the new year should start coming into focus. But instead of thinking of a list of standard "resolutions" — like eating healthy or exercising more — Litt advocates shifting the language to something more action-focused and positive. "I recommend creating intentions," she says. "Intentions are far more powerful than resolutions or goals because a solid intention will connect you with how you will feel once your goal is actualized." According this pro, intentions tend to have more meaning and emotion than resolutions, which will help you feel more motivated to carry them out.
That said, once you've finished your New Year's Eve celebrations and all the other obligations that can be distracting this time of year, set aside some quality reflection time. And for a few tips on things to evaluate when you do sit down to think about your goals, see Litt's advice ahead for a few options of intentions that will help you create better and more meaningful relationships — with yourself and others — in 2019.
Create And Exercise Boundaries
Sometimes even the people you love the most aren't serving you well. The new year is a great time to review some of your existing relationships and, as Litt says, "decide what you are and are not available for and hold yourself to it."
Make It A Year Of Forgiveness
As you've probably learned from someone in your life, negativity is both toxic and contagious. Once you're affected, it can seep into everything you do, making you feel mentally and physically unwell. By choosing to forgive someone, rather than harbor those negative emotions, you regain a sense of control in that situation and allows you to heal — regardless of how the other person chooses to handle it. As Litt explains, "Forgiveness is one of the most powerful practices you can do for your mental, emotional, and physical well-being."
As previously mentioned, it's easy to get caught up with negative thoughts. If you've noticed this overtaking your life or affecting you in a way you don't like, follow Litt's sage advice. "Stop complaining and commit to a daily gratitude practice," she offers. "Complaining keeps you negative and in a low self state. Gratitude orients your brain to the positive and changes your life." Try creating daily, weekly, or monthly lists of things for which you're grateful. The more you practice, the longer your lists will likely get.
Invest In Yourself
"We're humans and humans are meant to grow," shares Litt. "In order to truly have the life, business and relationships you desire, you must do the inner work of you." This could mean taking just 30 minutes to an hour of every day to immerse yourself in a hobby you love, like reading or journaling. It could also be meditating or making self-reflection a more regular habit.