Out with the old and in with the new!
To many of us, this year has been a year of change, of turbulence, and to some, even of loss. In the midst of cancelled plans and school closure arrangements, we might find ourselves losing touch with those around us and, unfortunately, also with ourselves. While it’s much easier said than done, there is no better time to reflect and practise gratitude than during challenging times. So, as we approach the end of one heck of a year, here are some practical tips for regaining momentum and (finally) crossing off your New Year’s resolutions list!
What Does It Mean?
While it sounds easy enough, making peace with the last year and looking forward to the new one can be tricky! It’s about so much more than just making a new year’s wish (and possibly forgetting about it). Instead, it’s about facing, accepting and, eventually, letting go of the past, in order to welcome the present and the future. While you’re on your journey of self-reflection, be sure to connect with your loved ones and support one another!
Why Does It Matter?
Though being a mama can mean revolving around the kids 24/7, it’s important to leave room for self-care. Over the last year, there may have been moments when you could have handled a situation better or times when you accidentally said something inappropriate. However, it’s important not to beat yourself up, because we all have our rough days, and it’s okay to forgive yourself!
Making peace with ourselves is also the first step to bettering our relationships with others. From being a role model to the little ones to developing better workplace relationships, dealing with unattended emotions can help open ourselves up to existing and new relationships.
How To Do It?
From practising an ancient Japanese philosophy to hitting the books, here are some hands-on methods to (actually) making that new year resolution happen.
If you’re looking to: Find purpose
After a year of conforming to new norms (and perhaps feeling powerless occasionally), it is important to think about and discover what matters to you and your family. 2021 is just around the corner, so now is a good time to sit down, ponder a little, and ask yourself what you want in life (it’s never too late!).
Action plan: Reach out to the community or support a meaningful cause! The pandemic has caused many to lose their jobs and shelter, and many have encountered mental health challenges along the way too. If you’re personally experiencing those challenges as well, it is especially important to connect with the resources available while helping out those in need.
Extra tips: Many organisations and local charities are dedicated to assisting those affected by the pandemic amongst other problems. Feeding Hong Kong and HandsOn Hong Kong are a few of the many organisations that serve underprivileged communities in Hong Kong. In particular, HandsOn Hong Kong has been organising emergency support services that source and donate disinfection supplies and other everyday items to low-income families and low-mobility elderlies.
If you’re looking to: Find peace and clarity
For some of us, to say that this year has been anxiety-inducing would be an understatement. In a year that has been all about adjusting to and cancelling plans, it’s almost impermissible to unwind. This is especially true when it comes to the life of being a mama, which is all about making every second count. Take advantage of the new year to slow down, be present, and unboggle your mind!
What to do: Try meditation! Slip into your favourite PJs, reflect on the past year, and be mindful of your surroundings. If you’re feeling negative emotions, acknowledge that these feelings are not necessarily reflective of reality. Most importantly, release those feelings and embrace a more revitalised version of yourself!
Extra tips: If you’re not sure where to start, there are plenty of podcasts and apps around that can help. Some of our favourites are Meditation Minis Podcast (available on Spotify and iTunes) and Insight Timer (available on iOS and Android). To get your kids to follow your lead, try Be Calm on Ahway Island (available on Spotify and iTunes).
If you’re looking to: Find closure
From settling into a new city to recovering from a relationship speedbump (work or personal), it’s never easy to let go of the past. As the new year approaches, now is the time to regain control and start fresh! Start afresh by first decluttering your space.
Action plan: Try out the popular Japanese philosophy of Danshari (断捨離)! Composed of the ideograms Dan (to refuse) Sha (to dispose of) and Ri (to separate), this ancient Japanese philosophy is all about letting go of your mental burden by eliminating your physical possessions.
Extra tips: Unlike the KonMari method that focuses on an object’s functional value (or whether it sparks joy), the Danshari philosophy places heavy emphasis on the self. So, when deciding whether to dispose of something, simply ask yourself: Does my present self need this? If not – sayonara! After all, minimalism is about feeling free and mindful over what you have. To know more about the art of Danshari, check out the book “Goodbye, Things: On Minimalist Living”!
If you’re looking to: Find improvement
Anyone who’s written a new year’s resolution knows that a) setting goals and b) achieving them are very different (we’ve all been there!). It’s about time we change that and form new habits that actually stick.
What to do: Spend the last day of 2020 with a new book. Gather the little ones, get inspired and kickstart the new year the right way! If you’re not the biggest fan of reading, audiobooks can be a great option too.
Extra tips: If you’re looking to get into a habit in general, try reading “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones”. Or “The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life” is perfect for being more productive. If staying away from excessive technology, check out “Digital Minimalism: On Living Better with Less Technology”!
If you’re looking to: Find a new self
Ever thought of becoming a better version of yourself? Time to turn that thought into reality! In 2021, take that “new year, new you” mentality to another level by manifesting a new trait. Let’s do it!
What to do: From being more courageous to compassionate, pick a trait you’d like to manifest (and own it!). Make this a family activity by asking the little ones to also pick a word. Remind one another of their own word throughout 2021!
Extra tips: Start off by brainstorming different phrases, then narrow your way down. Also, try visualising the person you want to become in a year. Once you have a word, write it down and place it somewhere visible! If you’re looking for some extra motivation, we’ve been loving the Weekly Goals and Habits Pad lately.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2019 and updated in December 2020.