Have you taken time to breathe this season? I know it’s difficult, but it’s necessary. The holidays are upon us and nearly gone. It’s hard to pass up the temptation to bake one more dozen cookies, schedule one more holiday party or try to check off one more Christmas break bucket list item. But you know what’s more important?
Beyond the Christmas craziness, a new year is upon us. I know you’re wondering where the time went. How did another year slip by you so quickly? Here’s the thing: 2016 doesn’t have to be the same way. A year from now, you don’t have to ask yourself where the year went and ponder whether or not you lived it to the fullest. You don’t have to regret missed opportunities and mourn spending too many moments fatigued and stressed and at your wits end.
Instead, sit down for a while. Seriously. Sit down. Turn off the computer. Silence the smart phone. Put the dog outside. Just sit and ask yourself a few questions. How will 2016 be different from 2015? What do you hope for the new year? What do you not want to repeat?
Think about it.
Consider the possibilities.
Don’t settle for quick answers.
This isn’t a time to make New Year’s resolutions like finally dropping the rest of the baby weight. Forget about signing up for a gym membership or swearing you will start getting to bed earlier. This is a time to just stop. Rest. Breathe.
It’s such a simple act and yet it is so difficult. In our fast-paced society, we don’t think twice about taking a few minutes to scroll through Facebook updates. In fact, we absorb our minds in content overload with news nuggets, Pinterest, texting and the like. We don’t want to be left out of the conversation, so we engage and we comment and we retweet. We Instagram the moment instead of being present. We consume, but we don’t rest.
Give yourself permission to rest. Build into this upcoming year intentional moments of letting your mind wander. If solitude works for you, find a quiet space and veg out. If community is what you need, meet a friend for coffee, watch a movie with the kids or schedule that date night with your spouse before the calendar becomes booked. And when that moment comes, disconnect. Not from the people you’re with, but from the avatars inside your phone. Turn it off. Put it away. Engage the moment you’re in.
And, now, before getting back to the world around you, before checking your notifications and letting the dog inside, ask yourself one last question:
When I repeat this exercise next year and reflect over 2016, what will I be most proud of?
Keep that image in mind as you re-enter the craziness of this season. Ward off the busyness of life and the consumption that is so easy to fall prey to. Remember that image. Work towards that goal.
May it guide you onward through the year to come.