The start of a new year….
Yesterday afternoon it started snowing and it was the perfect ending to 2016. Waking today to a blanket of fresh snow, was, in my opinion, the perfect canvas to start to the new year.
This morning as I was lighting candles, I was struck by the question, what does it actually mean when you & others say, “Happy New Year?” Is it a question or an instruction? Is it a wish or an intention? What does it mean to you? Not what it means to everybody else, but you as a person, as an individual. What do you do to start the year? What meaning does today have? Is today the day where we all feel fresh & new, have hope again for something wonderful and believe that anything is possible, starting today?
With my husband and I, we have been fortunate enough, to be able to live our lives in our own way and not to have to follow traditions or obligation that are not real or genuine to us and instead have worked to create things that work for us. (for the most part)
What does that mean in relation to a Happy New Year? Well, in my house, it means that we start our new year a bit differently.
Long ago, we decided that for us, December was too full to take the time to really sit down, take stock and plan for the next year, when the current one hadn’t even finished yet. We realized that for us, the holiday season, while enjoyable, extended us outside of our personal patterns & left us feeling a bit depleted and in need of rest and recovery, before trying to re-set our system and lives for an entire year, depending on what we would choose for the year ahead.
So we gave ourselves a different start date for the new year, we gave ourselves the gift of time, so we could be really clear and create our goals & plans, from an informed & rested perspective. The very first time we tried this, we found that we actually set ourselves up for success and were able to achieve and accomplish far more personally & professionally, than we had in previous years. So we have done that ever since.
We chose our start date to be January 22nd. That is our wedding anniversary and the start of another new year that we are creating, building & living together. So for us, that date works.
But what do we do between January 1 & 22nd? The first part is done alone, by ourselves. We each start by looking at all areas of our lives, health & wellness, career, finances, friendships, family, future etc., Then we look at things that motivate us, things we want to do, learn & experience. Finally, we look at who we are, how we want to live in our worlds, what we want to stand for, what we want to contribute & give back.
Then, when we are both ready, we spend time together going over each others’ goals. Afterwards, we intentionally create goals together, for us a couple. We have found this to be especially helpful, so we have the opportunity to talk things through, making sure we are on the same page, heading the same direction. We also use this as an opportunity to determine the real resources needed to accomplish our goals ie: finances, time etc., and the real costs that need to be taken into consideration. Ie: time away from the family. We want our goals to be real for us as individuals, but also complimentary to us as a couple, neither at the expense of the other.
Knowing in advance where concessions need to be made and both agreeing on them, we have found makes the year much easier to move through, as you know and can prepare for it. For example, for the past few years I have gone back to school and am working on three degrees, so on average have been away for 25 weekends a year. Knowing & agreeing to this in advance, allows us to intentionally plan our time together, so my school doesn’t get in the way of our relationship. This also allows him those same 25 weekends to work on his own goals or whatever he chooses to do. The reason this is important is the advance planning, so things don’t get lost in the shuffle.
We have found that planning ahead, working together, being each other supporters and setting mutual goals that we both agree on, that are in alignment with each other and our goals as a couple, it sets us up for success. It also keeps us walking the same direction together.
I’m not saying you have to do this, I am just saying that this is what we do, and it works for us. My invitation is for you to find what works for you, no matter how it looks, or what day you start. I am curious to see what you come up with…
Happy planning & all the best for the year ahead in everything you do.