WRITTEN BY ALICIA KOCH, FOUNDER OF THE LEGAL BELLETRIST 

Boy oh boy the beginning of a new year can be tricky!

With last year’s “new year, new me” slogan getting an overhaul into this year’s “new year, same me” motto, one is left with a confuzzled idea of how to approach 2024. Is self-improvement or self-compassion on the cards?

Let’s be honest, getting going after you had some time off is kind of like drudging through thick mud – sure you can move through it, but the mud definitely makes the going tough.

At least, that’s how I feel as I sit down to write my first article of 2024.  

Not exactly unmotivated, but not exactly rearing to go either. You see, I spent my time off lazily lounging on the couch catching up on all missed “must see” shows. Complete with microwave popcorn and my cuddle buddy – my kitty, Miss Georgia Peach. I woke up late, had brunch instead of breakfast and roamed around in the Crocs I said I would never buy together with my most comfy lounge wear (don’t you love that term?) from Boody. Bamboo cool, stretchy perfection.

Now that I am officially back at work, waking up at a respectable early hour, ingesting breakfast and wearing clothes that don’t have elasticated waists has got me a little flustered – “I don’t wanna” – all this while keeping squarely in mind that I absolutely love my job. And I simply can’t understand why I’m not excited to get 2024 started. I love what I do, I work from home, and have the best clients. A literal best-case scenario. How can I be this “bleh”?

I don’t have any stress (yet). Don’t have deadlines (yet) and don’t have any co-workers that have caused the hairs on the back of my neck to stand on end (the exceptionally light fluff on my neck. I’m not some werewolf roaming around in the daylight). 

It was then that it hit me – you can’t take a holiday away from yourself. Whatever you have going on inside your noggin remains there, whether you lounge on the couch or on a beach. 

So, I came to a conclusion. If motivation is not going to come to me naturally, I need to figure out ways to get my butt into gear. 

10 Ways to Approach the New Year with Purpose

Sometimes you just need some pointers to get you started on the right track –

Goal setting – according to Positive Psychology goal setting “helps trigger new behaviors, helps guide your focus and helps you sustain that momentum in life. Goals also help align your focus and promote a sense of self-mastery. In the end, you can’t manage what you don’t measure, and you can’t improve upon something that you don’t properly manage. Setting goals can help you do all of that and more.” So, take out a pen and paper, think of the year ahead and jot down a goal or two – whether it’s a walk around the block once a day, or volunteering at your nearest animal shelter. It can be whatever you want. Get creative. Step out of your comfort zone. But be sure to set goals that are at the very least, S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound). Challenging is fine. But achieving what you have set out should be the aim. 

Working with a coach sometimes the feeling of “bleh” doesn’t end with starting the year with purpose. Sometimes the feeling of “bleh” extends to your everyday life – where there’s a part of you missing, where you want something different. And this involves the seemingly scary, painstaking process of change. Sure, change is scary but with the right support and help, it can be an easier, exciting process. Working with a coach can help you not only set out achievable goals but can also give you focus and direction. A coach can provide the support you need to make the changes necessary to live a fulfilling life. Take Braving Boundaries as an example – “Change for many is a frightening prospect. It takes us from a place of certainty and puts us smack, bang into the unknown. We may dearly want to create change in our lives, but there is a big difference between wanting to change and being ready to make a change. Don’t worry though, whichever stage in the journey you’re at, Braving Boundaries has you covered”. So, if you’re feeling stuck, contact Braving Boundaries and set up a call with Frieda Levycky to see how you can make the changes necessary to succeed in the areas of your life you need help with.

Going with the flowstarting a new year with grand expectations can leave a lot of us feeling overwhelmed – where do we even start? But it really doesn’t have to be this way. Forget the pressure and just go with the flow. Simply starting the year with a positive outlook whilst also seeing how life unfolds and what opportunities present themselves is a healthy way to begin a new year. Don’t add on unnecessary pressure and stress from the get-go – that will come on its own accord. Manage your expectations and start the year on an easy note. Life and work are complicated enough without the addition of unrealistic expectations.

Creating new habitsaccording to the Harvard Business Review – “Our habits govern our lives, literally. Research shows that around half of our daily actions are driven by repetition. Experts advocate for the old-fashioned approach: incremental progress. Dedicated commitment is what, time and again, has proven to lead to change. Surprisingly, the first step towards creating long-term change involves building routines — not habits themselves. a habit is a behavior done with little or no thought, while a routine involves a series of behaviors frequently, and intentionally, repeated. A behavior has to be a regularly performed routine before it can become a habit at all. The problem is that many of us try to skip the “routine” phase”. And if that’s the situation, then to create new habits, we need to build them into a routine. Take exercise as an example. Believe you me, after the festive season, no one voluntarily wakes up at 5am to get to the gym in order to start burning recently engorged calories. But if you say… hire a personal trainer, set up a day and a specific time that you need to show up at the gym, eventually with repetition, your work outs become healthy habits. It takes one step in the right direction and then repeating it daily and without fail to make exercise a habit. One that’s not only good for your physical health, but your mental health as well – all those endorphins swimming around in your blood stream, is exactly what the doctor ordered. 

Participating in a challenge – there’s something about having a community that helps one to follow through. Have you ever noticed how when a group of people get together to achieve something, everyone pulls their weight? Perhaps it’s the idea of having a common purpose that gets you going. Take a beach clean-up as an example. Everyone that shows up for the beach clean-up challenge, will not only pull their weight, but will do so with a smile. And achieving a goal in this arena will you give you the motivation you need to achieve in other areas of your life. Communities motivate each other and celebrate when one of their members achieve. Why not make a lifestyle change part of a challenge? Grab a friend and sign up to Braving Boundaries Motivate Me challenge together. 

Setting a word for yourself to focus on for the year – ah words. Words are my life and, for me, carry great significance. It’s therefore only natural that picking a word for the year would help motivate me before anything else will. It’s also a wonderful way to set your intention for the year, something to focus on outside of yourself. Something to work towards – a kind of all-encompassing, over-arching goal for the entire year. This year mine is health and Frieda’s is self-acceptance. Two positive affirmations that will see both of us focusing on positive elements that will see us striving to be kinder to ourselves. And that is as important as setting goals for the year.

Setting a phrase for the year – maybe a word isn’t enough. Maybe you need a quote or a phrase to get you started. I personally like this quote from Walt Disney “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” Just knowing that “it can be done” if we only put our minds to it, gives me hope. It could be a clever idea to set a phrase or have a quote that you and a couple of your friends all adopt. Again, community helping you stick to your guns.

Detoxafter holidays and the festive season, many of us are feeling the slump. Are feeling a little toxic from all the fatty foods and alcoholic beverages. And something’s gotta give. Your poor liver! Your poor tired body and your foggy mind. Do a detox and clear your body and mind from all the toxins that have accumulated during the festive season. While your body detoxifies itself naturally and on a daily basis through the liver, kidneys, digestive system, skin, and lungs, it helps if these organs are healthy enough to do so. And you can do this through optimising your body’s ability to get rid of unwanted harmful toxins. You can do this by limiting or eliminating alcohol from your diet. Call it “dry January” or “dry February” and help your liver and kidneys recover. Get enough sleep so that you can focus on your goals on a daily basis. Drink more water! According to Healthline “The adequate daily water intake is 125 ounces (3.7 liters) for men and 91 ounces (2.7 liters) for women. You may need more or less depending on your diet, where you live, and your activity level”. Reduce or refrain from sugars and processed foods – say goodbye to your hamburgers, pizzas, and sweets. At least for a while. Eat antioxidant rich foods and think about taking antioxidant supplements. Healthline sets out that “antioxidants include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Berries, fruits, nuts, cocoa, vegetables, spices, and beverages like coffee and green tea have some of the highest amounts of antioxidants”. It’s also important to limit your salt intake. Eat greens. Don’t think of it as a long-term diet. You’re detoxing. But there are some positive things – like drinking water – that should be adopted long-term.

Intuitive reading – according to Wheelie Momma intuitive readings are energy readings. Clear Intuition describes intuitive readings as a tool of self-discovery and self-empowerment to gain deeper insights and a better understanding of oneself. Dina Strada sets out that intuitive reading involves the tapping into of a person, their life and people within their life and then relaying that information. Di Atherton describes intuitive readings – not as fortune telling – but rather “true, heart-centered guidance to help move forward”. Frieda has just completed her intuitive reading with Di Atherton and highly recommends the process. Don’t think of this as fortune telling, think of this as another, alternative way to gain valuable insight into you and your life. Another way to gain a hold on where you are going and how you will get there. And that can only be thought of as a good thing.

Planning ahead – now this is important. In order to take leave or in order to do absolutely nothing (because that is a completely acceptable thing to do), you need to actually plan to do so. Start by blocking out days in your diary for “doing nothing” / holidays / down time. Do this asap so that you are forced to take some time off – which is crucial to ensure you not only have balance in your life but that you protect your mental health in the process. If you don’t plan for this, it won’t happen and burn out will come sooner than you think. Plus, you know what they say – “all work and no play makes Alicia a dull girl”. I’m slotting down time into my diary as I type…

That’s a lot of ways to find your mojo for the new year. A lot of ways to get you going. But remember you don’t have to do it all. Pick one and get the ball rolling with that… Baby steps.

 

Before I sign this article off, I thought I would share an image with you all that – when I saw it – I thought “that makes perfect sense to me” –

January reminders

And with that we wish you all a fantastic start to 2024. May it be a fantabulous year for us all!

About the Author, Alicia Koch, Founder of The Legal Belletrist. Alicia, an admitted attorney with over 10 years PQE, and now a legal writer and researcher, has established The Legal Belletrist to assist companies (in different sectors) to write well-researched articles that speak to each company’s core business, enabling growth and commercialism.

Click here to visit The Legal Belletrist website. Email: alicia@thebelletrist.com