New Year’s Resolutions are our way of making a promise to ourselves, utilizing a fresh slate to develop and improve. I’m sure that many people, similar to myself, only make it about a month or two before slipping and completely forgetting these commitments made. I always find my way back to the same conclusion: a new year cannot wipe away the past or magically change everything in an instant. So, this year I have given myself one simple resolution: letting go.
I know what you are thinking… easier said than done. Believe me, I know it won’t be easy. As I’m currently working through my past every day, and this alone isn’t easy. During quarantine, I spent a lot of time thinking about how I live my life and the choices that I had made. Most importantly though, I reflected on the people and events I was letting influence my life. I recognized I was spending many moments wishing that I could change the past. Instead, processing and carrying it alongside me as I moved forward to my future I was holding onto toxicity and negativity; none of which have brought value to my life. Last year, I intentionally surrounded myself with people who supported me and brought out the best in me while distancing myself away from those who no longer served a positive purpose. To commence this new year, I will share the ways I have been letting go and how I have incorporated healthy habits to focus on moving forward.
Asking For and Giving Forgiveness
Forgiveness is a virtue that can come at a heavy price; whether it’s asking for forgiveness or choosing to forgive someone. There’s a certain level of personal growth that comes from forgiveness. Forgiveness isn’t something that’s easy for anyone and it does take time to be able to move forward. In my personal experience, I never realized the true hold that grudges or simple resentment, towards myself or others, would have on me. Yet, one of the beautiful things about forgiveness is that it’s for no one but yourself. It’s about realigning a sense of peace within your life. Forgiving is a way to restore the balance that has been shifted due to internal and/or external factors. In quarantine, I realized that if I wanted to become the best version of myself, I would have to let go of all ill feelings towards my past or people that have caused me pain. It was upon deep reflection that I actually could see how not forgiving was holding me back. I was using all of this pent up pain as a crutch to make excuses for my behaviour. Now, I’m not saying that forgiveness is an easy process, nor that can happen in an instant. But, taking the steps to work through acknowledging, accepting, repairing and learning from our past is the best way to move into a new year and phase of your life freely.
You’re a true warrior, having battled things that others could not imagine, and sometimes that leads to putting up conscious or subconscious barriers to protect yourself. Although these barriers can be good at times, oftentimes they end up restricting us from living a peaceful and happy life. Thus, acceptance is another key component in letting go. Acceptance can come in many different forms such as past, present and future. But, it can also regard the acceptance of self or acceptance of others. Similar to forgiveness, acceptance isn’t something that will be easy, quick or something that can be forced; it happens at the time where you feel strong enough to do so. Acceptance and forgiveness can go hand in hand because when you refuse to do both, you can end up causing more trouble than it’s worth. Acceptance is part of the healing process and allows you to move forward and let go of the past. It’s cliché to say but there’s always a lesson to be learned from our past, the good and the bad. Take the steps that are necessary to become who you are and live the life you dream. Take the steps despite knowing it won’t be easy. You just need to be willing to fight for yourself and what you want. You owe your past, present and future self the opportunity to finally make those goals come true. Taking accountability for yourself is a full-time job, and that accountability includes all aspects of your health, not just your physical health.
Journaling is an intentional practise that has many beneficial effects. I have implemented 15 minutes of journaling a day for this reason. Each morning I start by writing down three things that I am grateful for — in my life and those around me. Next, I write down five affirmations for myself, typically one about the body, mind, soul, relationships and the future. Actively showing gratitude and giving self-affirmations is a great way to strengthen the mind and your mental health. You’re fueling it with positive thoughts and aligning yourself with your purpose. Especially when you’re low, it’s nice to have a reminder of positive experiences and emotions. I then write about the main events in my day, so that I can look back and reflect. The final two prompts are to write down two to three present and future goals. Writing about my goals reminds me that each day, no matter how much or little I do, is a step forward in creating the life I want and deserve. It’s also a way to keep myself accountable and stay on track for my goals. The purpose of this journal is to practice self-empowerment and foster a positive mindset, reinforcing the notion that I am the one who is in charge of my happiness and success.
Fueling Yourself with Energy
There are many different ways that we can consciously give ourselves the energy and power that we need. The ones that I have implemented into my life include: nourishing my body with healthy food, drinking enough water and being physically active. To me, healthy eating is about making sure that you are eating balanced and nutritional meals, while still enjoying the things that I love in moderation. During this past year, I have taken the time to learn how to cook some of my favourite recipes and along with countless new ones. I would always make the excuse of being ‘too busy’ and that it was okay to continuously order in as I didn’t ‘have time’ to cook. However, this isn’t the case. You make time for what’s important to you. If you don’t know where to start for recipes, there are many people that you can find on YouTube or Instagram that talk about healthy eating and recommend easy meals to make.
I also intentionally put aside time in the day for recreational reading, fueling my mind with anything that I choose. Reading for pleasure is a great way to reset and do something enjoyable at the same time.
For being physically active, there are many different options which include working out, going on walks, meditating and doing yoga. In 2020, I started by making sure that I walked a certain distance each day. In quarantine, I found myself with nothing to do and it was easy to just want to lounge around. Slowly I started implementing different forms of exercise alongside walking. Being physically active doesn’t mean that you need to hit the gym seven days a week, it’s about getting your body moving and if you choose, challenging it.
One of the reasons I find that I often fail at maintaining my resolutions is by being overly ambitious and beating myself up if one day I strayed from those goals. The best way to instill habits and changes into your life is to take it one step at a time. Any journey is difficult, especially the ones where you must take the time to put yourself first. But, you’ll never succeed if you don’t find joy and happiness in what you’re doing. This year I choose to no longer make any exceptions for myself and put in the work that needs to be done. I do this with the intention of being the best version of myself each day. Whatever this upcoming year looks like for you, I hope that you prioritize yourself and the goals that will make you happy. Mark the day that begins your journey in creating the life of your dreams because it is possible, just take it one day at a time.