New Year, New….?

Inevitably, the beginning of a new year brings with it a lot of thoughts and talk about change, about resolutions, about fresh starts. We’ve been reflecting on that here this week and pondering why sometimes, this focus on ‘newness’ and self improvement isn’t always the healthiest of things for some of us.

For one thing, it forces us away from the present, looking into an unknown future. And whilst there is some value to making plans and spending time looking at oneself and identifying things you might like to develop or work on, we’d argue that sometimes, this comes at the expense of being present in the here and now. The only certainty in life is the present moment and we must remember to embrace it for what it is, to enjoy it, to experience it fully. This is summed up beautifully in this line from a poem by Courtney Peppernell “But we lose ourselves in waiting for the next day / instead of seizing the one we are given right now.

Secondly, it’s not an inclusive approach to take. The wonderful Cat Smith, from Cat’s Little Geeks (who provides neurodivergent mentoring for neurodivergent kids) explains

The other thing that people do at New Year is talk about accomplishments and plans and resolutions and goals, which is just really hard when you struggle with executive function skills. I don’t really compute more than a week or two ahead, and very much would rather not be asked what my plans are for 6 months from now! I’m happy in my life that looks very much the same from one week to the next, and I hate the pressure of questions that make me feel like that’s not a valid way to exist. I thrive this way, and that’s perfectly okay.

Cat Smith

Finally, often setting ourselves resolutions spontaneously and with little thought on the 1st January can be nothing more than setting ourselves up to fail. Life can (and often does!) throw unexpected obstacles and situations into our path, with little to no notice. That decision to change your career, take up a new hobby, stop biting your nails, cook meals only from scratch…etc… can be taken out of your hand by external factors.

There is nothing wrong with failure, in fact we’ve written before about important it is as part of the learning process and how the key is how you react to such failure. There is also nothing wrong with trying to make changes in your life or implement healthier habits for yourself. But we’d argue that sometimes the pressure to do this all in January, is not the most conducive environment to start such things. The winter months are dark and damp, it’s cold, we’re all often exhausted after the hype of Christmas….

By all means, if you’re feeling motivated and enthused to make changes now – crack on and do it and we salute you! But if you’re feeling like just getting back into the rhythm of normal daily life is maxing out your capacity right now, we’re here to say that’s absolutely fine! It’s OK if you don’t want to make any resolutions this month. It’s OK if you’re quite happy ticking along as you are. It’s OK if you don’t want to embrace some form of ‘newness’.

We’d urge you to instead, focus on the moment and the day that you find yourself in. Be kind to yourself, be kind to those around you, and try not to let external pressure to make change or resolutions weigh on your shoulders. Happy New Year folks – we hope you’re having a gentle, nourishing start to the year and we wish you all the best as we all take another trip around the sun.

Author: Hannah Durdin, Content Officer & Forest School Leader

Date: Friday 5th January 2024

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