At the start of this new year, I've finally realized that rather than setting myself often ephemeral resolutions that bring with them their share of unnecessary pressure, it's rather essential for me to start the year gently and slowly. The hectic pace of our daily lives can often become a source of exhaustion. That's why, instead of succumbing to the pressure of over-ambitious goals, I really want to make the choice to cultivate good habits with kindness towards myself this year. On reflection, I've discovered some inspiring ways to start the year off gently, by making more space for the things that matters the most to me.
Cold winter days, with their soft light and special lightness, offers us a deliberate choice to slow down and reconnect with what's essential. So, for me, the start of the year symbolizes a time of renewal just like a new notebook full of blank pages to write in. In this article, let's explore five inspiring ways to start the year by cultivating an approach filled with well-being and lightness.
Take a moment of introspection
The first step I'd like to share with you is to take a precious moment of introspection and reflection on the past year. A moment of introspection allows you to see all the wins or failures you've experienced over the past year. Looking back on these events with a lot more hindsight, personally helps me to have a better overview of the life I want to lead. Sitting with my tea steaming and a soft candlelight to accompany me, I take the time to carefully revisit the habits I wish to cultivate and those I'd rather leave behind. It's a necessary, almost crucial moment, allowing me to take stock, learn from past experiences, and make space for the new. For me, this moment of solitude proves to be a truly necessary time to start the new year with a clear vision and renewed deep intention.
Visualize the new year
Now that I've taken this moment of introspection, the second step for me is to visualize the new year. I particularly like to start this step by choosing a meaningful word to keep in mind throughout the year, a kind of personal compass to guide my year. Next, I set realistic goals and habits to integrate over the coming months. To do this, I like to start by writing everything down in a notebook and then launch into the creation of a "vision board". This can be paper or digital, and can contain images as well as inspirational words. Rather than focusing on what I want to eliminate, I prefer to ask myself what I want to implore more of in my life. For this year, for example, I aspire to more present moments, more kindness towards myself and others, more intentionality in my actions, and more time dedicated to rest. And you, what are the things you wish to incorporate more into your daily life this year?
Practice the present moment
The third step in my approach to a smooth start to the year is to practice the present moment. For me, this means actively engaging in activities that promote mindfulness on a daily basis. Walking in nature, sharing gentle moments with loved ones, taking a relaxing bath or devoting time to breathing and meditation are practices that help me anchor both my body and my mind in the present moment. By dedicating precious time to these activities, I not only cultivate a deeper connection with the present moment, it also helps to reduce daily stress and increase my gratitude for the simple things in life. These deliberate pauses in my day become calming moments, creating the space for the balance I need to better navigate the challenges and joys of the new year ahead.
Incorporate new things
The fourth step for me is to incorporate new things, a beautiful and gentle way to start the year in my eyes. After creating space in my life, I like the idea of introducing fresh and inspiring elements. Personally, I like to dive into the creation of a new playlist, start an empty notebook, begin an exciting new book, or even refresh my space by lighting a new scented candle. This year, one of my goals is to incorporate more reading and journaling into my daily routine, because I know how much these activities provide true well-being and deep relaxation. What exactly is journaling? The term "journaling" refers to a daily writing practice. The idea of journaling can depend on the method you choose, from recurring questions to freewriting to making to-do lists, there are many variations to journaling. This activity helps me a lot with managing my emotions. It helps me to have an outside view of circumstances and to be more willing each day. So I plan to consciously dedicate a good 30 minutes each day to doing these activities, rather than spending time on social media. It's certainly psychological, but these little novelties go a long way to helping me start the year on the right foot, with a slight sense of renewal!
Invest some time into planning
The last important step in my preparation for the New Year, now that I feel well aligned, is to devote some time to planning. Planning is of paramount importance to me, as I've come to understand over time how essential a role it plays in limiting unnecessary stress. I really enjoy using a weekly planner, a tool that allows me to get organized and visualize my week as a whole. What's also great is that it's as useful in my personal life as it is in my professional life. Thanks to this practice, I can have a clear overview of my schedule, which makes it easier to make clear decisions. It helps me to say "yes" and "no" with confidence, while allowing me to invest 100% in each activity and limit the feeling of overload. One aspect I particularly want to work on this year is investing my time in the right things that are worthwhile, by focusing on what is really meaningful to me. Planning is therefore an invaluable ally in helping me to achieve this goal!
So I hope these suggestions can inspire you to start the New Year with renewed sweetness, guided by healthy habits and kindness towards yourself. Often, in the frantic pursuit of achievements, we forget the fundamental importance of taking care of ourselves and being intentional in each of our actions throughout the day. With the help of these five ways to start the year gently, let's remember that true accomplishment lies in creating a balanced rhythm of life tinged with life's simple little pleasures!
I wish you a happy new year. Full of love. 🤍
Sara from Mimi Xx