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New Year

So, we have passed the Winter Solstice, we welcome the return of The Light, days slowly get longer, nights slowly get shorter, and we welcome a new year. The start of a new year is often a time when we reflect on our experiences from the past year and consider our hopes for the new year. We make sense of the past year and perhaps think about the possible challenges, uncertainties, and goals in the upcoming year.

We can all reflect on how we have changed over the past year; we can examine how we have changed and grown over the course of the therapy. I know that clients change, this is why they come to therapy, I also know that my work changes me, I learn and grow alongside clients. Not only does this help reinforce the progress in therapy, but it can also serve as a catalyst for future growth and reflecting on our own growth can help us make sense of our experiences and motivate us to continue evolving in the new year. Moreover, reflecting on how you have coped with challenging situations over the past year can help instil confidence that you can overcome future challenges. This can also be a collaborative process where you can gain feedback from others in your life about how they have seen you grow and change. Others may provide a different perspective and notice changes that you haven’t noticed in yourself.

We can give thanks. Don’t forget about gratitude. It can be easy in times of hardship to focus only on the negative aspects of the experience. However, research shows that cultivating gratitude results in better mental and physical health, including greater optimism, happiness, improved relationships. Another bonus: gratitude helps us cope with adversity. Cultivating gratitude involves appreciating what you have and acknowledging the goodness in your life. It also helps us connect with something larger than ourselves because often the source of the goodness is someone or something outside of ourselves. Fostering gratitude can be as simple as thinking about the things you’re grateful for, or as tangible as writing a thank you letter to someone. Either way, acknowledging the aspects of the past year that we’re grateful for can help us find a sense of peace and closure with 2023.

We can think about what we have you learned over the past year. The chances are you learned something about yourself, I know that I did! Maybe you were stronger and more resourceful than you realised. Or maybe underlying problems that you hadn’t addressed before reared their ugly head. Both types of learning are important to keep track of as future reminders to ourselves. Make sure you don’t lose these lessons by writing them down and going back to them from time-to-time. These lessons should be things you want to carry forward in your life. Perhaps things were really tough at times. Experiencing hardship also has a way of putting things into perspective and clarifying our priorities. Knowing what’s truly important to us can help us live a more meaningful life.

It could be helpful to set meaningful goals. You can call them “New Year’s resolutions” or not (I don’t) but often setting goals, especially when they’re meaningful goals, helps us chart a path forward. Meaningful goals are those that align with our values.

The more we take actions that align with our values, the more we’re able to live a meaningful, satisfying life with fewer regrets. It’s only by being true to yourself and your values that you can live a life that is truly meaningful for you. Once you know your values, you can then translate them into action by setting specific goals that fit with these values.

Let’s embrace the growth and change we see in ourselves. Because one thing is certain: none of us are leaving 2023 the same person we were when we entered the year. Nothing remains the same, everything changes, sometimes very slowly, sometimes very rapidly. The universe constantly changes, and we don’t live ‘in’ the universe, the universe lives in us.