The year 2020 has hardly left anyone untouched in some way. Maybe you had to postpone a trip, visit, or dream that you had planned, or maybe you lost a loved one, relationship, or source of income. For many people the start of the New Year was long anticipated as more than the natural progression of time, as if when the clock struck midnight on New Year’s all of the loss, tragedies, and struggles of 2020 would vanish. And while it would be naïve to believe that simply because the calendar year has changed that there are only happy days ahead of us, there is something about the change of years that evokes newfound hope and a desire to begin again within us. With the unique challenges that 2020 brought to most people, the symbolism of this New Year feels particularly necessary and powerful.
If you find yourself longing for a fresh start in this New Year, perhaps start by thinking about why you desire this. Is there a moment in 2020 you desire to be distanced from? A loss you want to move on from? A dream you want to reclaim? Try to identify what you are hoping to let go of from this past year and what you have your eyes set on. From a practical standpoint, if there is something you want to leave behind in 2020, see if there are any concrete steps you need to take in order to free yourself emotionally from whatever may be holding you back. This could include a having a tough conversation to clear the air with someone you know, or going to therapy to process a loss in a healthy way. You can also identify certain habits, routines, or rhythms in your life that did not serve you in your needs and goals. For example, maybe you desire to leave stress behind in 2020 and aim to be less stressed in 2021. You might identify checking work emails during your personal time as a contributor to this stress and resolve to only check your work email at designated times during the week.
Here, it is also important to note that many people in good faith try to give themselves a fresh start in the new year by coming up with a slew of resolutions and goals that quickly become overwhelming and unattainable. While the intentions behind setting resolutions can be good, they often fail to cultivate lasting change within people because they are focused on becoming a version of oneself that is too lofty and unrealistic, leaving one feeling like a failure for not adhering to them. Instead, setting one or two intentions rooted in your true desires for yourself and your life can be more beneficial. Even the change in wording from ‘resolution’—which indicates an unchangeable, inflexible habit to which you must adhere—to ‘intention’—which reflects one’s own desires—can make your mindset surrounding goals more positive.
When looking forward to your hopes and dreams for 2021, it is also helpful to identify the why behind them, as the why can help us identify what our true motivations are and can help us make them a reality in our day to day—especially if our dreams could be limited by forces beyond our control. For example, if you are hoping to travel more in 2021, maybe your true motivations are to have time set aside to relax and step away from the stresses of daily life. Perhaps air travel will still be limited in this upcoming year or be inaccessible to you. If this is the case, you can still seek out other ways to relax and can make sure that you don’t neglect your need to step away from work just because specific travel plans may not work out.
No matter what you are leaving behind in 2020 or looking forward to in 2021, try to take a few moments to reflect on the past year, identify your own needs and desires for this year, and become creative in implementing them in small, tangible ways into your everyday life.
May your 2021 be filled with health, happiness, and abundant blessings. Happy New Year from Options for Pregnancy!