For a Positive New Year, Re-Frame What ‘Change’ Means

Some changes we make, some are made for us. Find your place in the present moment for a fresh start this year.

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Posted in , Dec 28, 2021

Navigating change in the new year

“The world is changed,” goes the opening narration of Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. As we cross into a new year, still carrying the weight of the long pandemic, this line is on my mind. I often make New Year’s resolutions based on changes I hope to make in my life. But I am already changed—the whole world is.

I’m finding it important to acknowledge aloud that no number of resolutions, pledges, promises or wishes can drive us back to the “before” times. Our daily routines have changed—have been changed—as have our relationships with each other, our work, our bodies and our communities. We need to hold this truth in mind if we are to articulate wise, helpful, positive and achievable New Year’s resolutions this year. 

A stark example of this in my life is my weight. Over the course of the pandemic—and I know I’m not alone here—I’ve gained weight for reasons ranging from chronic stress to challenged sleep to decreased fitness to inconsistently nutritious eating habits. Looking at resolution options around this issue, I feel myself pulled toward opposite extremes—either launching an epic weight loss plan, or just plain giving up. 

Neither of these options sets me on a positive path, one oriented toward success and inner peace. To do that, I will need to re-frame “change.” 

I’m starting by meeting myself where I am—at this weight, at this moment in time. I’m asking myself what I want—what I really want—to change as 2022 dawns. It’s an ever-growing and evolving list, and it doesn’t even start with a number on the scale. On it are stress-reducing routines like daily meditation and gentle stretching, calorie-free comforting practices like lighting candles or sipping relaxing herbal teas and being sure I’m dressing the body I have in clothing that helps me feel confident and comfortable as I step into each day. 

These positive goals are changes I can look forward to, and they are part of my process of emerging from the more challenging changes I’ve navigated over the past two years. The world is changed. So this January, may we each take the time to meet ourselves wherever we are, and with self-compassion and honesty, do our part to make this new year a time of beautiful, nourishing change.

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