There is an age old saying, “new year, new me”, but what does that mean for us as individuals? Why do we feel that we need to make changes to our lives or set certain goals for ourselves just because it is a new year? Why do we have to wait until it is a new year? Is it because we feel as though it is a fresh start? I think that if we want to make changes in our lives we can and should do it when we feel like we are ready, and not just because it is a new year. The last two years have been a challenge for most people due to COVID-19 and the ever-changing health rules and regulations. So, my real question is: Have you checked in with yourself lately and said “Hey me, how are you feeling and doing? Is there something I would like different in my life?”
Change is a scary thing, and it is rarely easy. Checking in with oneself is also a difficult thing to do. So where do you start? Try to look at your life from the outside of the “bubble” if you will. What do you enjoy about your life, and what do you not enjoy? A professor once told me that even though I didn’t know exactly what I wanted, I knew what I didn’t want. So, start there. What don’t you want in your life? What don’t you want your life to be like? Then start to brainstorm how to make the things you don’t want, turn into something you do want. One might ask themselves, okay how do I do that?
Step One is to think about why you want to make that change. This will be personal and different for everyone, so make this about YOU and not others’ expectations or thoughts.
Step Two is, as Robert the Bruce – King of Scotland said, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again.” Keep trying, don’t give up just because it didn’t work the first time. Take time to understand why it didn’t work for you and then try a different approach. DON’T GIVE UP!
Step Three, celebrate the small achievements. We put so much pressure on ourselves at times to make things “perfect” but take that time to pat yourself on the back and say, “Hey me, we did it.” This is such an important step to improving ourselves and gaining confidence.
Step Four, now as we all know sticking to a schedule or routine is not always easy. We can put things in a calendar and try our best to stick to it, but life happens and gets in the way, and at times we can’t control that. So, make a schedule or routine and try your best to stick to it. Make lists on paper. This might be a good way to train yourself to follow something besides the thoughts we have in our heads.
Finally, Step Five, find someone who will hold you accountable. Someone who on your bad days might push you, and on your good days will celebrate with you. It is important to have someone with whom you can share your goals. Now I know this might not be for everyone, and some like to do things on their own because they want to be ‘independent’. One of the greatest strengths one can develop in life is asking others for help.
Again, change is not easy and it’s uncomfortable, but how long do you want to be stuck on the merry-go-round of your life? Making changes in your life doesn’t need to happen because of a scheduled date by society or others like New Year’s, it can happen anytime when you are ready. With everything going on in our world today, take the time to try to get off the merry-go-round and start taking tiny steps for change.
Lyndsi Fischer, M.A.
Clinician – Maple Leaf Clinic