How To Have A Happier New Year

An image of a calendar page for the month of January

Firstly, Happy New Year to you all!  It’s that time when we sincerely wish each other all the best for the coming 12 months.  And you may be feeling some trepidation about what’s in store, after the last two years.

Here are some ideas of how to have a happier new year.

Firstly, take stock of how the last twelve months have been for you.  For lots of us, 2021 was another challenging year and the thought of turning the calendar page may be welcome.

But if we’re feeling uncertain or anxious about the future, it can be helpful to give a few moments thought to remind ourselves what we’ve gone through.

Secondly, be patient with where you are right now.  New Year is traditionally a time for resolutions and goals, but if you’re feeling depleted and exhausted, then this isn’t the time to make any life changing decisions or set yourself huge challenges.

If you know that there are some changes you want to make in the coming year, start to think about what that might look like.  Why are you wanting to make those changes? How do you want to feel? Focussing on the general ‘big picture’ can help to clarify our goals.  For example, if you’re feeling really frustrated and stuck at work, do you need a new challenge or project rather than making a career change.  Or could you investigate starting a potentially profitable hobby or side hustle whilst you’re still working, to test out how your idea of being your own boss would feel.

Starting small is a good way to go at this time of year.  It’s a lot less pressure than going all-out on something, and you’ll still be making progress.

Likewise if you want to make some lifestyle changes, such as exercising more or eating healthier.  Start by making small incremental changes each week, commit to doing 15mins exercise a day for example, so that you get in the habit of working out at a certain time and then increase it gradually.

It’s estimated that up to 80% of New Years resolutions fail, and that is mainly due by people trying to do too much too soon, and becoming despondent when they can stick to the strict routine or cut things out too quickly.

Taking some time during January to get really clear on how you want to feel by 31st December this year, can help to cement that vision and give you the motivation to get started. And keep going.

Be good to yourself this year, there are still 11 months left to fulfil those New Year wishes!

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

The Joy Of A Blank Page

An open notebook of blank pages






Do you feel joy at seeing a blank page?

The start of September is traditionally time when we start thinking about going back to school or back to work after a summer break, and its often associated with the desire to get back into a routine, or start something new.

The feeling of a new year is strong, and after being (hopefully) refreshed after the holidays, there can be a lot of pressure to launch back into the day to day treadmill of activity that we were used to.

But I’m not feeling it so much this year. The summer has indeed been lovely, and it’s been great to meet up with people again and get out into the world, but I can feel the busyness and the pressure building back up.  And I for one would like to put the brakes on a little.

Because over the last year or so, I’ve learned a lot from slowing down.  At first it was enforced because of lockdown, but I soon realised that my mind worked a lot better when it was slower.

My brain started to come up with way more ideas and creativity than it ever did in the time before.  And certainly, more than sitting at a laptop, willing the ideas to come ever could.

We’ve come to think of ‘slowing down’ as being lazy or unproductive, but there is a big difference between doing nothing and doing things more mindfully.

When we begin to become aware of how our lives are playing out day to day, then it’s much easier to recognise when things are out of balance.  And the quicker we can take remedial action, the lesser impact these imbalances can cause.

And we also invite in more possibilities when we think slower.  We don’t automatically do things because we feel we should, or because we think we know the best next action to take.

If we allow more creativity in to our thoughts, then we can think up new possibilities.

It’s like sitting with a blank notebook, and no expectations.  

If you’re a writer, you’ve probably heard about the ‘morning pages’ idea from Julia Cameron…the practice of sitting down with a pen and paper first thing in the morning and letting everything out on the page.  Ideas, rants, nonsense…whatever comes.  Just allowing your brain to empty what it needs to, can allow space for better thoughts to come.

However, you’re feeling this September, embrace the joy of the blank page.  Whether you see it through the lens of exciting new plans or possibilities, or a chance to empty out what’s been cluttering up in your head.  Sit for a moment, and allow yourself time to see what comes next.


Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash