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By Lianne Smuts

Yes, I know the second month of 2022 is almost gone, but if your year started with a bang like mine, there is a good chance that you have not had a chance to officially switch over to the new year on 1 January (or soon thereafter).

In any case, who said that we MUST start a new year on 1 January? As liberated women, I am sure we can choose the date for our new year… 1 February, 15 March, or whatever feels right.

Years ago I decided to start my new year on 1 February so that I have enough time to mentally prepare myself… and then I do not practice what I preach! Grrrr! I did not do my mental “switch over” at the end of 2020 and by December 2021 it felt as if I have had a 24-month long 2020. It’s as if  2021 never happened.

The bittersweet side of starting a new year is the fact that we have all these amazing hopes, plans and expectations on the 1st of January and then life happens and just wipe out all these expectations and plans. This year started with huge disappointment and sadness for so many:  Covid took away lives, financial disaster hit, terminal illness was diagnosed, unemployment remain a reality, and and and… How on earth does one make a switch over to a new year when it kicks off like this?

We tend to rely heavily on external circumstances for a good start to a year, while we actually need to make an internal shift.

I will let you into a little ritual that has helped me to make a MENTAL switch over to a new year – one that does not depend on what happens around me! 
This ritual is nothing fancy – in fact, it might be nothing new to you, but the secret lies in doing the writing;  thinking without writing does not have the same mental power.

It is a 4-step process and involves different areas of your life, yourself, your family, your social circle and your career/business. 

So I suggest you grab pen and paper and do this:

STEP 1:  For each area of your life, write down what you want to leave behind.  Don’t make the list long. Choose 2 or 3 of the most important things that really irked you and you no longer want in your life.

STEP 2:  For each area of our life, write down what you want to take with you that will spark you with joy.  Again, choose 2 or 3 things so that your list does not overwhelm you.

STEP 3:  Now create reminders that will trigger your determination to focus on the things you are taking with you into the year.  Examples of reminders are; a) a theme or word that summarises your wishes for yourself, b) a motto that feels powerful,  c) scripture or a quote that can encourage you, or have all 3!  Make them visible so that you can use them when you experience a ‘low’ moment. 

Let me give you a practical example:  imagine your main focus for 2022 is to have more joyful experiences
WORD: Delight
MOTTO:  I am constantly surrounded by joy
SCRIPTURE:  …the joy of the Lord is your strength (Neh 8:10 ) OR
QUOTE:  “If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal any moment.” Carlos Santana

STEP 4:  Make (small) physical changes in your environment to create a feeling of new:  a) move your decor around, b) re-arrange furniture if possible, c) re-arrange your bookshelf, f) make changes in your outfits – wear a different top with your favourite bottom…create any visual change that feels “new”.

Once you have done the above steps, you may not only ‘feel’ ready, but you also have visible evidence to refer back to when you face challenges that may ‘derail’ you from your wishes and plans for the new year.

And may I just add…

When you write down that which you don’t want to take with you, it does not mean these things will just go away or disappear; it means that you have made the decision not to allow it to affect you emotionally as it has before.

In reality, a new year always comes with uncertainty, but let’s approach this year in a David Bowie way:  “I don’t know where I am going, but I promise it won’t be boring.”

Let’s do 2022!

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