Fresh Starts 

By Liz Adam

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering,”It will be happier.” Alfred Lloyd Tennyson

If you’re reading this, you’ve made it all the way through 2022 and already have a good leg up on the first month of 2023.

Sometimes the start of a new year can feel hopeful if we have or can create some things to look forward to. At other times, we might feel discouraged as we face the fact that our hopes or goals for the past year went unfulfilled. We may even feel a little fear if we are concerned about something we can’t control, like a loved one’s health for example, or if we are dreading something we know we need to do but don’t want to.

A new year can also feel kind of flat as yet another year ends and another begins without much change on the horizon. Vern McLellan stated, “What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year.”

While there are almost always some factors in our lives that we can’t change, there are almost always some that we can, enabling us to create even a little positive change which can help pull us out of any ruts we may feel stuck in.

Surveys have concluded that most people’s resolutions last until about January 17th. If you made any resolutions and haven’t broken them yet, congratulations — you’re ahead of the national average. Some of the reasons that resolutions aren’t kept is that they are made emotionally instead of logically and practically. We may feel a need to change (most often our weight after all our seasonal indulgences!) and set a goal without making a specific plan as to how it can reasonably be attained.

If you’re waning on resolve right about now, or didn’t bother making any resolutions, here are some thoughts that can help you make a fresh start:

Remember that you can start fresh at any hour of any day!

If you disappoint yourself, just re-appoint yourself as quickly as possible instead of giving up on your goal or judging yourself to not have enough willpower.

Don’t make promises to yourself (or anybody else) that are difficult or even impossible to keep.

If you notice that your commitment is starting to crumble, just take a step back and take an outsider’s look at what you’re trying to do. Possibly give yourself a short break and definitely consider editing your goals in order to make them more achievable. A handy acronym to follow in goal-setting is: SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely.

Make sure your goals are reasonable and possible to do even on a hard day or week.

Give yourself some flex in whatever system you set up and have fun taking one step forward at a time.

Liz Adam is a life coach and author living in Winnipeg.