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There’s something about January that is exciting and refreshing. After a long period of festivities, with lots of delicious and hearty foods, parties and celebrations, January feels like a clean slate, with the excitement to take on whatever lies ahead. We are only a few days into the New Year, but with January notorious for its long and dark days, now is the perfect time to slow down after the festive rush, and take stock and think about the previous year, and what our future dreams and plans are. Like many at this time of year, you may have set your New Year’s Resolutions, but slow and steady wins the race.

Think intentions rather than resolutions

Resolutions can often come from a place of fear – a fear of not fitting in, not being perfect enough or of getting hurt. We’ve all been there, but if you want to create long-term change, intentions create the perfect foundation to transformation. Intentions help you to look at your life from the big picture rather than how you feel in this moment. Reflection and setting intentions work hand in hand, because you can see how you have felt over the previous year, and go from there to set intentions to make changes.

Self-reflecting helps you to bridge the gap between your strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to become fully confident in who you are, and becoming more aware of your values, emotions and goals. Going on this journey of getting to know yourself can be exciting and frightening all at the same time, but doing so can reap huge rewards when it comes to our mental and physical health, and help us become more present in our everyday life.

There’s no set way of reflecting, it’s just whatever works for you, but here are a few tips that may help you:

  • Carve out time for when you can be alone, it’s quiet and you will not be interrupted
  • Be honest with yourself – no one else will be reading your answers

Here are a couple of questions to help you get started:

  1. What were the most important lessons you learnt in the past year?
  2. What did you learn about yourself?
  3. If you had to describe your year in three words, what would they be?
  4. Did you learn any new skills or achieve something new?
  5. What was the best part of your year?
  6. What was the worst part of your year?
  7. Did you learn anything new from that experience?
  8. Did anyone new come into your life this year? (This could be a new family member, friend, romantic interest etc.)
  9. What did you not do enough of this year?
  10. Think back to January 1st 20XX; how have you and your life changed?

 Looking to the year ahead

This year, instead of setting resolutions that you may or may not break within the first few weeks of January, try setting intentions for how you would like the year ahead to go.

  1. A bad habit I am going to break….
  2. A new skill I would like to learn….
  3. A place I would like to visit….
  4. A book I would like to read….
  5. Describe your ideal day….
  6. What do you want to feel more of this year?
  7. What do you want to feel less of this year?
  8. Where will you be on December 31st 20XX and how will your life have changed over the past year?

And whether you are reading this in January or December of next year, know that you don’t need January to make a change; because everything you need is already within you, just start today.

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