The beginning of a new year is a good time to start afresh. Yet the enthusiasm that accompanies new year resolutions fades quickly. Gym memberships, for instance, spike in January. But by February or March, more that 50% of members stop showing up.
Why is this so? One problem is that we try to cram new resolutions into our lives on top of everything else. But just like trying to pour more water into an already full cup, some stuff will fall out.
Create space before you start afresh
We therefore need to create space before setting new goals. Nature abhors a vacuum remember? Even without any goals, the new space in your life will attract things into it. Your goals can then determine what you allow into that space.
Perhaps your goal this year should be to create space. To remove stuff from your life instead of adding more. Then next year, you will have the space to decide what goals you want to achieve in that space.
Here’s how you can create space in your life so that you can start afresh.
1. Physical clutter
Physical items are the easiest to declutter because it is the most visible. Loads of articles have been written on how to do this so I will just summarise a few things you can discard or give away:
- Clothes you haven’t worn in the last 12 months
- Cooking utensils you never use
- Bags you haven’t carried in the past year
- Stationery you didn’t even know was there
Having more physical space will mentally calm you on a day to day basis. Also, when new and more important things come along there will be space to store them. If you want inspiration and guidelines on de-cluttering, read this best-seller by Marie Kondo.
Activities are also quite easy to pare down, since you can see these in your schedule. Some activities you can phase out of your life:
- Invitations you accept out of mere politeness
- Routines that have outlived their usefulness
- Requests for help which you are not keen to oblige
Ironically, doing less actually helps us to live more fully. Instead of substituting one activity for another, try sitting still in the silence and solitude of your home. Resist the temptation to constantly rush from on activity to another. Use this new-found downtime to reflect, dream, and plan how you can start afresh.
3. Emotional baggage
Here we get to the less visible clutter. Emotional baggage includes anything that is sapping your energy, or depressing you. This could include:
- People who don’t have your best interest at heart
- Worrying about things that may never happen
- Memories of past hurts
Our default state is happy. Look at children and how they are naturally joyful. Once we let go of negative emotions, we make way for this natural happiness to come flowing back into our lives.
4. Outdated beliefs
Our beliefs can hold us back from achieving more in life. Beliefs are learned, and so can be unlearned. Some beliefs you can examine are:
- What’s true for others is true for you
- You must put others before youself
- Success is measured by how much money you have
Once you’ve cleared out outdated beliefs, try to admit only your own truth into this new space. Truth is not what other people think, but your own observations and realisations.
Go forth and start afresh
“The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.” – G.K. Chesterton
Once you’ve cleared enough space to start afresh, go ahead and plan for the year ahead.