Start with celebration for a better New Year’s plan

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The start of a new year is the traditional time when many of us make—and quickly break—plans for how we will improve ourselves and our lives.

For most, those plans and resolutions will falter and disappear within weeks, but our cultural emphasis on self-improvement brings us back each year to try again in the hopes that this time we will manage to get things right.

I would argue, though, that it’s the very emphasis on fixing what we perceive as wrong with us that leads to our recurring failures with resolutions.

When we start with a focus on what is wrong with us, we start our planning from a place of weakness and lack. It’s hard to build a solid plan for the year on a foundation that starts with the assumption that we are not good enough.

That’s not to say that we don’t all have our faults, of course. We all have areas we’d like to improve, but what if those are not the best places to begin?

What if we were instead to begin by celebrating our many strengths? What if we were to start the process by looking at all the things we do well and the parts of our lives that bring us joy? What if we were to begin with the places we have grown, the ways we have healed, and the kintsugi gold we’ve discovered in our lives over the last year?

Starting from that place of celebration and building a plan for the year that focuses on including more of those things which bring us joy and using more of the skills and strengths we already possess creates a solid, joyful foundation for a plan that we are much more likely to implement than one that starts with weakness and lack.

And the best part is that it really works!

As I have increasingly focused my planning and self-improvement efforts around increasing the things that bring me joy, emphasizing the strengths I already have, and using skills that feel good, I have naturally found creative ways to work around my weaknesses or to minimize their impact. Other traits that I have long sought to change about myself have shifted on their own to make more space for the things I want in my life.

All it took was a shift from planning from the place of all that I believed was wrong with me (and my life) that I wanted less of to planning from a place of celebrating all that was good that I wanted more of.

If the traditional New Year’s resolution method hasn’t been working well for you, consider starting your plan for 2020 from a place of celebration. Instead of looking at what you don’t like, consider questions like:

What do you love about your life that you’d like to have more of in the next year?

What gifts do you have that would bring delight if they were called upon more often?

What strengths do you have that you would like more opportunity to use?

What skills do you have that you would enjoy using more in your daily life?

What brings you joy? How can you create space for more of that?

This year, try focusing on creating all those things you want more of, and you just might be surprised at how many of the things you wanted less of just fall away by themselves.

Happy New Year, everyone!


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