Seven Questions to Start Off the Year
Happy new year! The beginning of a new year always holds such promise, hope, and significance for me. It marks the passage of time, which I tend to forget when I am busy going from day to day. The new year offers the opportunity to pause and reflect on what just happened in the past 365 days. And what a year it has been! I love the Seven Questions to End 2017 with Clarity and Start 2018 with Intention from my favorite podcast On Being with Krista Tippet. I love these questions because they are great prompts for journaling. Journaling can provide so many benefits, as outlined here and here, including improving our memory, improving our communication skills, healing our wounds, and boosting our self-confidence. In this blog post, I will answer these seven questions.
1. What was one of the moments I was most proud of this year? What does that tell me about what I want to spend my energy/time/money on next year?
I am most proud of starting my own private practice in 2017. I feel so energized about taking my years of training and experiences and channeling them into a business that aligns with my values as a person and a professional. I will be dedicating more energy, time and money into my private practice in 2018. I wake up every morning excited to go to work and do what I love.
2. Who really enriched my life this year in a big way? Who is someone I am wanting to get to know better in the year ahead?
I am so thankful for the amazing friends in my life. In particular, my good friend Anjuli has kept me grounded and uplifted through all of my struggles and transitions with her sense of humor, biting sarcasm, and realistic pessimism sprinkled with hope. In 2018, I am looking forward to getting to know better my friend Lauren, who completed postdoc with me and started a private practice in the Seattle area. Her entrepreneurial spirit inspires me.
3. It was a year of resistance for many people. What did I resist most effectively? What did I surrender to?
I resisted my tendency to get really down and depressed about the state of the nation and the world by over-consuming media. I resisted the guilt that came with not knowing enough about what is happening and prioritizing my self-care when I needed it the most. I learned that if I am down and out, I can't advocate and fight for what I believe in. There are times when I surrendered to hopelessness and despair.
4. Who did I feel most jealous of this year? What is that person up to that I want to bring more of into my own life?
I felt most jealous of my friends who are adulting. I see friends who are married, have children, a house, and financial stability and I think to myself, "Why am I so behind?" I have to remind myself that life is not a competition and that I am exactly where I need to be. I want to bring into my life more self-compassion and gratitude for what I do have.
5. When was I most physically joyful in 2017? How can I get there more in 2018?
I was the most physically joyful on outdoor adventures, whether it was hiking through Smith Rock, or visiting the Great Wall of China, or camping on Orcas Island. I want to take time for more outdoor adventures in 2018. Like I mentioned in a previous post, being awed by nature is good for the mind, heart, and soul.
6. What is one question that you found yourself asking over and over again this year? What version of an answer are you living your way into?
I have been asking myself every year, in slightly different ways, what does it mean to have a balanced life? I tend to oscillate between extremes. Sometimes I am hyper-focused on improving one area of my life (e.g., exercise, spirituality, creativity, social life, romantic relationship, etc.) that I become obsessive with the goals I have in mind. Then I hit a wall or become bored with it and I allow it to completely fall off to the wayside. I am learning to accept this part of myself and trust that I will continue to grow with time and patience. And with this acceptance, comes more balance.
7. What makes you despair and what gives you hope right now?
What makes me despair is the current political and racial climate. What gives me hope is remembering how I felt standing in the crowd at the Women's March in Washington, DC last January and knowing that millions of people around the world marched with me that day.
I hope you will take a moment to reflect on these seven questions, or other questions of your choice, and begin 2018 with meaning and intention.
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The new year can be a joyful and exciting time and it can be a time full of dread, challenge, and anxiety. If you are struggling during this time, a licensed therapist may be able to help. Together, you can uncover what is holding you back and create a life worth living. Our licensed therapists are experts in treating a variety of mental health concerns. Reach out today to see if we might be a good fit for you. You can schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation with us to get started.