At first I started to title this NEW YEAR!!?!@?^!?&*?!

There are so many thoughts that comes with a new year. A fresh slate. A clean start. Are you sure you’re ready to be done with the old one? Regrets or satisfaction as you look back. Some choose a word to live out. Some believe in resolutions. Some don’t. A lot of us make them and do a great job keeping them almost all of January! Same old drill. Some have seen a lot of new years and some have seen a few. Some are bearing hard burdens as they enter into a new year. It’s hard sometimes to know about this time of year, what to think of it all. I think it’s a little ironic that it’s not too uncommon to start it with a hangover. haha! And some don’t stay up to welcome it in. I can see the charms of that route – I’m an early to bed early to rise gal. But alas – each to his own! I was something in the middle, with on glass of champagne at midnight, and conversations until 4 in the morning. Feels like I haven’t stayed up that late since I was a teenager!

Anyway, I titled it NEW YEAR. Because it feels final, and excepting, and clean. I actually love new years and clean starts and goals and getting organized, it’s one of my favorite things. But this year, I wanted to look at it a little differently. Rather than jumping right into high ambitions, I am just taking a step back and looking at how I want the whole year to look and feel as a whole, what I want to do  in it, how I want to think, what I want a day in the life of this year to look like, and afterwards what  I want the highlights to be. I want to just sort of easeee into this year with grace, and take it slowly, just sort of savoring this clean start without filling it with things in a hurry.

These are a bit of what’s in my heart right now, and I hope this post will encourage or inspire you as you start out on the journey of your own new year!

This year I’m taking two separate approaches. One is a theme I want to focus on this year that I’ve been pondering over for awhile, and the other is a little spark of an idea I had this morning and have continued to really like as the day has grown, after I journaled through it for awhile.

The theme:

It’s one of those times you don’t feel like there just quite the right word in english to express it, but it’s something of a mixture between being

joyful x present

Somehow I feel like there are a lot of times when they are the same, or at least have a lot of overlap. When I pause to be grateful, there is something about it that brings me to the present moment. In order to praise or give thanks, I have to stop, right where I am. I breathe in. I notice the little details around me, a small texture on a leaf, the feel of the air on my arms, the shape of the clouds, I feel myself smile. Fully present. I suppose it’s a positive way of being present, as opposed to sort of a brooding, self absorbed presence.

The more I live the more I feel convicted that to really, truly be alive, is to be present. There is power and yet a sense of peace that comes from just being, right in the moment. It sounds cliché, but I feel like I’m realizing the truth of this down to the depths of my soul. The past has been lived, the future will be, but right in this moment, we are breathing, moving, choosing, thinking, loving, existing… we have the ability to do all the verbs. Admittedly great value is added to the present moment when you look at the past or the future for direction and guidance. However, if we only look at the past or to the future in this moment, we won’t have spent any time truly in either one of them, as they were happening, or as they will happen. Being present causes you to just…be. There’s a peace in letting go, and being as you are, without any of the stuff. There’s something sort of naked and innocent about a brand new present moment. You’re new in it, and you’re free. The present is like it says…a gift. (I guess the english language made up for it’s lack here.) A most precious gift. And really, it’s the only thing we have! So go out, and live your present moments!

In conclusion, my theme I’m living towards this year is to be joyful in the present moment, with grace I want to live into that with all my might.

The Approach of the Sparkle of an Idea: Gifting Myself

And the idea is this. What if instead of thinking of depriving myself of things this year (for example, sweets, social media, time not spent at the gym, guilty pleasures) in order to be “good” I just give myself gifts?

What if I give myself:

The gift of starting the day with early morning quite time as well as more time in the day, by getting up earlier.
The gift of reveling in the beauty of the outdoors, through more hikes, trips to the river, and days at the beach.
The gift of more time with family, by being willing to put aside my busy schedule.
The gift of leafy greens, fresh fruits and vegetables, a gift from the earth.
The gift of more free time, because of less online sales browsing, and returns (a good deals and returnaholic, embarrassing to admit but being real here).
The gift of a clean, organized home (enjoying, rather than rushing through cleaning in order to get back to important work).
The gift of happiness through small gifts, acts of service, or words of encouragement to others.
The gift of no anxiety or stress by casting and surrendering all my cares to God.
The gift of travel (investing in experiences).
The gift of friendship and meeting new people, through taking the time to go to coffee more often.
The gift of a fun, romantic, enjoyable relationship through continuing to nurture and revel in my relationship with my amazing husband.

I want to have a mindset of plenty, and not of deprivation. Of joy and pleasure derived from small and non materialistic things. I don’t have it all figured out yet, and I’ll continue to shape my goals for the year as I move throughout the week but these are where my thoughts are moving. (Doing taxes tomorrow, fun. Yay. But might as well get that over with!)

As you all are thinking about this year and are maybe  making some big, solid goals, one thing I love to reference and you might find helpful is S.M.A.R.T. goals. It’s an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-Focused, Time Bound. You all might have already known about this for years, but I have become more acquainted with it recently via my husband and have found it really helpful! If you want to learn more or get a refresher, get more information here.

I wish you all the best of luck in planning your new year! I hope you can give yourself grace to recover from the hectic holidays, and just practice some self care in whatever form that may be! I hope you get a chance to sit down by the fire in your pjs, or one early morning in a cheery coffee shop, and are able to just jot down your thought and come away feeling really happy and anticipative for this year!

Cheers to you!