Happy New Year! So many possibilities await us as we ring in the new year. A couple of years ago, I began using the phrase of a New Year’s “Realignment” rather than “Resolution” to save myself from the pressure and stress of keeping a resolution that so many accept as doomed to fail within the first couple months of the new year, if not sooner.
The term “realignment” appeals to me because maintaining balance is something that requires regular adjustments rather than being something we achieve and then simply have forever after. Along with all the excitement of the holidays often comes stress, expectations (some met, others unmet), fatigue, and sometimes illness and/or lowered immunity, to name a few.
Many of us take the time to reflect on the year gone by and set goals for the year ahead. As we turn the last page of our old calendar move to a new one many of us look forward to a clean slate, a chance to say “goodbye” to possessions, habits or perspectives that no longer serve us. We don’t always have to make big changes. Sometimes small adjustments or “realignments” are all that are needed to get us “back on track”.
Why do people bother declaring changes for the new year at all? I believe we all have an ongoing desire to make our lives better, more enjoyable and fun. We all have wishes and dreams that tug on our hearts. Some of us feel a restlessness when we are not doing what we want to be doing and/or are continuing on a path that is toxic, disheartening, or even simply unfulfilling.
Many of us have had life experiences that make it so clear that life is short. While it’s important to make some practical decisions and live within our means, it’s also important to grasp on to opportunities that help us grow (within and outside our comfort zones!), as well as live the life we are meant to live.
I am regularly grateful for the experiences (both positive and negative) that bring me to each new day. While I am not always happy about the negative ones, I know that they have a role in making me who I am and who I will become. Without the dark we cannot see the light.
I am also guilty of sometimes doing the same things multiple times before I learn the lesson or see a situation from a different perspective. As a psychologist, I know that we all do this to some degree. It is how we learn. It takes just one time to learn not to touch a hot stove, but it can take many times to learn not to fall into unhealthy patterns of behavior, to avoid certain types of people or situations, or to embrace and engage in those that make our lives better.
So, let’s be kind to ourselves. Instead of declaring big changes that are difficult to maintain, let’s make some small readjustments to “realign” ourselves with our best lives. There are infinite possibilities that await us every day. We simply need to acknowledge the differences we would like to see in our lives, set that intention, and make the small adjustments to take the small steps that lead us in the direction of our better lives, our better selves.
We may not have control over all the parts of our lives to create the whole change we want, but we do have control over the choices we make every day. Sometimes a choice is to do something. Other times it is a choice not to do something. Still other times our choice is to take a pause, a step back and a deep breath to adjust or realign how we look at the events in our lives and our reactions to them.
Acknowledge your dreams. Embrace realignment. Spread the joy.