I love the ending of a year. Taking a few moments to reflect on the good, bad and ugly of the past 12 months helps me form a general idea of how the next 365 days could potential play out. The idea that I can reshape and restructure my old year into something new is exhilirating. It should come as no surprise that I am one of those people who will happily ramble off my list of resolutions and sit in rapture as I listen to someone else’s list.
What worked this year? What made you feel great? What would you like to change and how do you plan to make that happen? These are the questions I’m interested in knowing the answers to and questions I often ask myself at the close of the year. Engaging clients in reflecting on their thoughts, actions, and behaviors in the context of the past year can put a fresh face on the processes we encourage year-round.
Just before the holidays, a client said to me, “I don’t believe in new year resolutions. The goals get set and then if they aren’t met, I end up feeling terrible and guilty. I set goals around Christmas time and leave it at that.” I was a little confused regarding the difference between setting goals on the 25th as opposed to the 31st. I replied, “So, you make Christmas commitments?” The client laughed and acquiesced to this description. Whatever one chooses to call it, there is something rejuvenating about beginning the year anew. It’s the restart button for many people and a time of the year that lends itself well to reflection and action. In my eyes, that’s a brilliant combination.
The feedback loop of reflection -> action can be extremely powerful. One of my resolutions this year is to actively engage in that very process with more concerted consistency throughout the year. Harnessing the high energy and motivation for change in the days that surround the new year can be spread out over the year and can help guide counselors and clients alike. Whether you make resolutions for yourself or have clients who use this time of the year to do so, keeping the fresh scent of the new year in mind can help ward off getting stuck in the past and encourage movement towards change.
What will the new year bring for you personally and professionally?