I’ve always liked January. Along with it being my birth month, I appreciate the collective desire that people have at the start of the year to reset, dream, and set new goals.
But it’s not lost on me that January—at least in the part of the world where I live—is smack dab in the middle of winter, when the days are still long, dark, and cold, and nature remains in a hibernation state.
So how do we find balance?
How do we embrace the freshness of a new calendar cycle (and the things that accompany it like new goals and resolutions, and the desire to form better habits) while simultaneously creating room for rest, reflection, and stillness?
Here’s one thing I’m trying to focus on this year: Letting my values drive my goals, resolutions, and dreams.
Right now, we’re all being blasted with advertisements and messaging that tell us to purchase products or services that promise to transform us: gym memberships, coaching programs, online classes…the list goes on. There’s nothing wrong with investing in resources and tools that will help you succeed, but sometimes it’s way too easy to succumb to the marketing when really, you never had any intention of following through anyway. And then when you fail—when the gym membership goes unused or that online class you purchased collects digital dust in your inbox—the shame sets in.
But what happens when your motivation is driven by a deep personal value instead of some outside voice or marketing message? You’re far more likely to follow through and succeed.
How do you figure out what you really value? Through rest, reflection, and stillness.
So I encourage you, friends, to give yourself space and time. Yes, it’s the beginning of a new year, and you might feel like the pressure is on to lock in your resolutions, set new goals, or create new habits, but ask yourself: Why am I doing it? Is it because it’s just what society expects of me? Or because I feel a strong conviction to make this change in my life?
Many of you know that I’m a big fan of the New York-based singer/songwriter, Rachael Yamagata. She’s been influencing my own artistry and music for a good while now, and she has this great lyric in her song “Tightrope Walker” that I come back to whenever I need a bit of grounding:
Focus on where you’re going
No matter where you’ve been
Keep yourself loose and in balance
That is my hope for us all as embark on the journey that will be 2024. May we shed the shame and guilt of unfinished projects, unmet goals, and unrealized dreams from last year and embrace a spirit of focus, reflection, stillness, looseness, and value-driven dreams for this year. 💛✨
Happy new year, and thanks for reading.