We're officially in the first month of the year. It took a while to get here but we made it! Many of us are using this time to set New Year's resolutions and assess the success of last year's goals.
While I recognize and appreciate everyone's excitement to brainstorm and create resolutions to become better people this year, I am often devastated by the amount of processing people don't do before moving on to a new year. It's almost as if people expect new doors to open without closing the ones they're leaving behind.
Part of moving on, even if it's just to a new year, is processing all the grief, pain, triumph, and joy that the previous year provided. It's understanding how last year's events transformed you (in both good and bad ways) into the person you are today. It's also recognizing what can go with you into the new year and what should be left behind.
It's just as important to end the year with loose ends tied as it is to begin a new year with a fresh perspective and new energy. Keeping that in mind, below are a few ways you can reset and re-center yourself to ensure you're starting your new year off right!
Process Your Year.
Every year brings with it a new set of wins and losses. Some of us have experienced breakups, some of us have experienced new love. Some have lost loved ones, and others have experienced the birth of a new life. Some of us have battled depression and others may have come out of theirs.
Whatever this year brought you, it's important to take the time to process it. Write down the lessons you learned from each situation, come to terms with how each moment made you feel, and reflect on the transformation those moments afforded you. Walk away from this year with a summary of pivotal moments and an understanding of how they've shaped and shifted your life. Doing so will allow you to enter next year with an appreciation for the direction your life is headed.
Heal Your Heart From Its Hurts.
If you truly believe the new year is a new start, you must heal your heart from the pain in the past so that it does not affect the present. Starting your healing process before a new year is critical to ensure you approach it with restored hope. It's important to work through the pain you experienced before embarking on new journeys this year.
If you are not fully healed (or at least trying to heal) from what happened last year, you threaten the fulfillment of all that can happen this year. Don't go into the new year harboring ill feelings about people, places, or things; instead, work on healing from the pain associated with them.
This year you may have fallen short. You said and did some things you're not proud of. You've made mistakes. I know. Many of us have that same story.
Before entering the new year, forgive yourself (and others) for everything. Your one-woman pity party is sure to impede on your celebration for the new year, so stop beating yourself up, sis. What happened last year, stays in last year; leave the shortcomings of that year there and don't look back. The only things you should move forward with are the lessons you learned.
As you wrap up the year, it's important to acknowledge how you feel about things – particularly yourself.
What did you want this year to bring? How have you manifested those desires? What are the ways you stood in your own way? What are things you've spoken over yourself? Ask yourself difficult questions.
Get into your own mind and figure out where you may have lost control, or where you have been completely victorious. Taking the time and thought to ask and answer these questions can help you identify key habits to work on next year. Resolutions aren't just about achieving goals, it's also about understanding the self-work that must occur to reach those goals. It's about abolishing insecurity, doubt, shame, and regret to truly operate in your calling, become a better you, and get the work done.
Let It Go, Sis.
One of the worst things you can do when embarking on a new journey is bring old, useless baggage with you.
In order to fully flourish, you must learn to let things go. Healing can help take care of letting go of the emotional and mental bondage the painful moments caused, but sometimes you must let go of the things that didn't happen, too.
Harboring hurt from the unmet expectations of last year only prevents you from anticipating in the goodness of this year. So let go of all that didn't happen. Let go of feeling let down. What you expected of the year may not have transpired, but you can't hold that against this year. Let it all go and step into the new year fresh and free. And while you're at it, let go of the toxic people, places, and things too.
Before you rush off into the new year, use this month to cleanse and reset in preparation for it. While you will always bring parts of last year into the new one (after all, you are just an iteration of the things that happened to you in past years), it is important to end each year at peace.
Make a commitment to yourself to start the new year with a renewed spirit and energy by processing, healing, forgiving, reflecting, and letting go. I promise it'll make your resolutions even more attainable.
Featured image by Getty Images.