What to Do if the New Year Didn’t Kick Off With a Bang

I hope 2014 has kicked off with a bang for you. For me, it hasn’t really gone that way. The New Year brought with it a nasty case of the flu and I’ve literally been in bed since January 1. To make matters way worse, after being sick for nearly two weeks, someone very close to me passed away–my grandmother.  As if that weren’t enough, I planned on being away the first few weeks of the new year (I had plans to go with some girlfriends to Vermont to snowboard and then to Costa Rica immediately after for another week).  Needless to say, it’s all been cancelled.

From the emails I’ve received from others, I realized that I am not alone in my difficult start to the new year. Over the last week, the emails and phone calls coming through my inbox from clients and friends have all been filled with messages venting about New Year’s blues. What I am hearing from people is a seething sense of, “Argh!”

If this is not the camp you find yourself in, awesome! I love that, and I’m beyond thrilled for you. Yay, woo-hoo and right on! Start 2014 high. Go get ‘er!

However, if your 2014 commenced with a feeling of lack, disappointment, loss, regret or worse, resignation … keep reading. Know that you aren’t alone and this blog post is meant exactly for you.

Many of us kick off the New Year with the expectation that we’ll come running out of the gate fresh and ready. It’s like we believe that on 1/1 there will be a magical shift. We’re sold a bill of goods that life starts over precisely at 12:01 AM and everything is brand new, fresh and rejuvenated. The truth is that the majority of the time, it’s just not the case; nothing really changes other than the date. In fact, it’s the 364 other days of the year that cause the change, not the clock striking midnight.

So, if you’re dealing with a 2013 hangover (not the kind created through over indulgence but one from un-dealt with emotions, lack of direction for 2014, or anything else that might be causing you to suffer right now), it is time for you to get honest about exactly what’s going on.

Back it Up

Sometimes we need to go backwards in order to move forward, which is precisely what I’m doing in my own life. I spent the week going through 2013 and really spending time evaluating what worked well for me, where my growth opportunities are, and how I want to evolve things during 2014. Even though I did a great deal of looking back in the months leading up to the new year, I am still not feeling solidified in my vision for 2014, so I am giving myself the space to hang out here a bit longer free writing, creating lists and evaluating what’s happening in my life even more.

You see, by going backwards you can assess where you are without stirring in a soup of anxiety and trepidation. The last thing you want to do is charge forward from a place of fear, worry and discontent. Or even worse, an overall lack of presence.

To help you take a look back to get 2014 moving forward, consider your answers to the following questions:

  • What went well for you in 2013?
  • What did you hope would’ve gone better?
  • What was your biggest growth point?
  • Given what you are reflecting on, what do you think your next right step is?

Then, come back to the present moment and do your best to identify what’s happening for you now.

  • What are you really feeling?
  • Do you trust that any unpleasant feeling you are experiencing shall pass?
  • Can you consciously conjure gratitude for all of the blessing you do have right now?

Next go into the future.

  • If everything goes as well as it possibly could for you in 2014 what would happen?

Finally, write a letter to your future self, put it in an envelope and seal it for 12/31/14. Tell yourself your hopes and wishes. In a year you can open it on New Year’s Eve and reflect on all of the amazing progress you’ve made since the year started.

Kicking off 2014 on a low isn’t a sign that your entire year is doomed–like, at all. In fact, it might be pointing out that this could be your most successful year yet. Starting off the year off with a few struggles (emotional and otherwise) can actually be very productive because it gives you a very clear invitation to sort through what is happening in your life. (I’ve already received very clear marching orders for 2014!)

In the words of my teacher Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, “A happy person enjoys positive emotions while perceiving her life as purposeful. The definition does not pertain to a single moment, but to a generalized aggregate of one’s experiences: a person can endure emotional pain at times and still be happy overall.”

Does that resonate with you? Do you think you can derive a sense of purpose from where you are right now?

As for me, I am finding the blessings in my situation despite my loss.  Even though I am just beginning the grieving process with regards to the transition of my grandma, I can safely say I am glad that this is happening at a time that I am well rested (so far 2014 has felt like a sleepathon) and when I have a clear schedule to be fully present with family. (Costa Rica, I’ll see you another time!)

Remember, success isn’t a race.  It’s a rhythm.  It’s fine to take it easy.  Be kind to yourself and go slow if that’s what feels right true for you.

As always I send you my love.

Big hugs,

Jenn

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