Finding the “happy” in Happy New Year

Finding the “Happy” in Happy New Year

We know it’s not easy to find happiness and hearing “Happy New Year” can feel like a punch in the gut. Being asked the question “what are your New Year’s resolutions?” (over and over again), may stir up feelings of despair and worthlessness. How many times have we resolved to do better and be better? How many times have we just missed the mark, or failed completely, in our attempts at self improvement?

Instead of struggling with sticking to the plan of our resolutions, let’s change our mindset and create New Year’s Intentions.

“Be mindful of intention. Intention is the seed that creates our future.” – Jack Kornfield

In my search for “easy new year’s resolutions”, I came across this article: A Complete Guide to Setting Mindful New Year’s Resolutions. It’s definitely worth reading. I’ve included an excerpt below, and shared some of my thoughts.

So, what’s the difference between a new year’s resolution and a new year’s intention?

The article says:

Resolutions are often:

  • Clearly defined
  • Quantitative
  • Goal-oriented
  • Specific

Eg. I resolve to exercise four times per week in the new year.

On the other hand, Intentions are more typically:

  • Energy based
  • Qualitative
  • Progress-oriented
  • Nuanced

Eg. I intend to cultivate more self-compassion in the year ahead.

This example highlights the qualitative nature of intentions versus resolutions. By focusing on the quality, or energy we long to experience, we open ourselves to the many ways this might manifest.

“Resolutions and intentions each have their place. At certain times of life, we may feel more drawn to one or the other. Take a moment’s pause now to consider:

  • What type of new year’s practice makes most sense for me in this moment?
  • Do I wish to set an intention, a resolution, or some kind of hybrid?”

To set mindful new year’s resolutions, set aside some time to explore your heart’s intentions. Consider following the steps to bring greater mindfulness to the new year’s resolutions you might be setting this

  1. Find a quiet space to rest in quiet contemplation
  2. Reflect upon your heart’s intent
  3. Witness competing thoughts and beliefs [but remain grounded in your intention]
  4. Reaffirm your intention or resolution through words
  5. Cultivate patience and compassion

My favourite suggestion for choosing a new year’s intention is:

“CHOOSE A WORD FOR THE YEAR… Choose a word to carry with you throughout the year. Presence, compassion, courage, creativity, authenticity, and trust, are examples of words you might choose from. Let your word be inspired by your heart’s intention.”

I shared this with my family and we each chose a word. Some of the words we chose were content, present, grow, and relax. We decided these words might just be for a month, or they may last the whole year, or more. That is what I find comforting about this idea. It doesn’t have a due date, it aims for progression, not perfection, and it can change as you need it to.

If you’re finding it hard to be mindful and listen to your heart, that’s ok. Here are a few simple resolutions / intentions that you could start with:

  • Kind – compliment others more often
  • Grateful – keep a gratitude journal
  • Present – stop multi-tasking
  • Attentive – talk less, listen more
  • Responsible – adopt a plant
  • Tidy – make your bed every morning
  • Organised – stay on top of your inbox or text messages
  • Clean – spot clean as you go

We hope that this article helps you find the “Happy” in Happy New Year, and that you have all the happiness you wish for.

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