5 Reflective Activities to Start the Year

3 min
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New year, new you – that’s what we’re often told to strive for, right? But what about focusing on becoming more you instead? The new year offers us a chance to reflect on who you are, what you want, what’s working in your life, and what isn’t. It’s a chance to examine everything that’s getting in the way of being the most you that you can be. So why not take a moment to reflect on who that really is, then figure out how to create the conditions for that person to thrive. Here are some activities that will help you clear out the noise, come back to yourself, and start the year as you mean to go on.

Clean out your closet

Nothing helps us embody a fresh start like a good clear out. Research shows that the process of decluttering is good for mental health, and there’s no better time to let go of the old to make way for the new – in a very literal sense. Saying goodbye to the clothes and belongings that you don’t need anymore is a great way to acknowledge the passage of time that is moving you forward. Make a commitment to keep only the things that are useful, joyful, or feel like a fully recognized expression of who you are at this moment in your life.

Declutter your digital life

Extend this new year clear-out to your online existence as well. This is an opportunity to plug any energetic leaks that are disturbing your peace of mind, so take stock of all the devices and platforms you engage with. Go through your emails and unsubscribe from anything you don’t look forward to receiving, or never seem to get around to reading. Unfollow the social channels that get on your nerves or leave you feeling bad, or less than inspired. Clear your desktop, sort through the apps on your home screen, and review your notification settings – and be realistic about how much you can actually give your attention to in a day. Remember that you are in control of what you consume.

Go through your photos

This is another activity that comes under the digital declutter label, but this one can hit deeper. Go through your photos from the past year with the intention of getting rid of the duds, but take stock while you do. As you sort through your snaps, think about which experiences put a genuine smile on your face, and which ones were just for the camera. Reflect on who you were with in your happiest memories, and what you were doing at the time. This is an opportunity to practice some mindfulness through your nostalgia and memories. Maybe some of your best moments weren’t even captured – and maybe that’s a good thing. Collate as many of the realest pics as you can – like the candid ones caught before the pose, or where the smiles are silliest, for instance. Cut a reel to post on social media or get them printed and make a collage, then commit to seeking out the experiences that make you feel more genuine happiness in the coming year.

List your values

One of the best ways to make sure you are moving forward in life with purpose is to reflect on your values. These can be simple concepts that sum up what you live for – the things that truly light you up. For example, if you love fashion or interior design, you might be driven by the value of “beauty” and seeking out beautifully designed places or making beautiful things would bring more joy and purpose into your life. If you love a deep chat with a stranger, then “connection” might be one of your core values. If you are drawn to “love” as one of your values, then you might want to embody a more loving presence in yourself and towards others. List out the words that come to you most strongly and think about how you’ve been showing up in relation to these over the past year. What could you commit to embodying more moving forward?

Write a declaration

Before you set or begin on your intentions for the new year, write out a personal declaration, like a status report. Think about your struggles, achievements, and blessings over the past year. Write it all down, even the smallest things. Acknowledge how far you’ve come, and all that you have overcome. Take note of what you’re grateful for – the memories, the material possessions, the people in your life. Don’t overthink it, just let the words flow. Now finish up by stating what you are looking forward to in the coming year – the changes you want to make, the people you want to meet, and what it’s going to feel like to be more you.

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All of the content on our website is thoroughly researched to ensure that the information shared is evidence-based. For more information, please visit the academic journals that influenced this article: Clutter, Chaos, And Overconsumption: The Role Of Mind-Set In Stressful And Chaotic Food Environments; Older Adults And Clutter: Age Differences In Clutter Impact, Psychological Home, And Subjective Well-Being; Personal Values In Human Life.

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