Starting the new year with kindness (both to yourself and others)

By Kate Norris,
updated on Jan 4, 2024

Starting the new year with kindness (both to yourself and others)

We share five tips for beginning the new year with kindness, both to yourself and to those around you

For some, the new year represents a fresh start, filled with new opportunities and hope for the future. For others, it may be a time of reflection or uncertainty about what to expect for the coming year. However you're feeling about the year ahead, there's an opportunity to start as you mean to go on - by being kindhearted and compassionate.

Practise gratitude

When reflecting on the past year, it's important to look back with kind eyes. Give yourself credit for your successes, no matter how big or small. Are you in good health? Did you make happy memories with loved ones?

Journaling can be a brilliant tool for self-reflection. Making a list of positive outcomes can help you recognise all you've accomplished whilst encouraging you to think about all the great things the new year could bring. 

Take time for yourself

The new year is the perfect time to reflect on how we can take better care of ourselves. Self-care looks different for everyone, for some, it may be drinking less alcohol, eating healthier, or getting to bed earlier. For others, it may be enjoying a slower morning than usual, treating yourself to a delicious meal or reading a few pages of your favourite book.

Remember, taking time for yourself should feel good, not forced or pressured. Ask yourself, “What do I need right now?”

Set small goals

Before you rush into a frenzy of drastic New Year's resolutions, consider setting small goals you can take in the first few months of the year. Setting small goals can help give you a sense of accomplishment and purpose. It can be as simple as making sure to regularly check in on friends and family or doing things for yourself such as drinking more water or getting your steps in each day. Remember to acknowledge and celebrate all you have achieved, particularly on the days when you feel like you haven't accomplished as much as you had hoped.

Incorporate mindfulness

Mindfulness involves maintaining a present awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and what’s going on around us. It can be practised through exercises such as yoga and meditation but can also be incorporated into day-to-day activities such as drawing, painting, and writing by allowing yourself to be present in the creation, with less focus on the outcome. Finding ways to practise mindfulness daily can be a valuable self-care tool for the new year.

Give back

January can be a hard month for many; the days are cold and dark, December’s festivities are over, and it can feel like a long time until the next celebrations begin. With that in mind, starting the year by giving back to others can be a great opportunity to make a positive impact whilst also creating a sense of purpose.

For example, if you’re considering decluttering, you might choose to donate unwanted items to charity. If you want to go a step further, you may consider volunteering and supporting a local cause. With many food banks struggling due to the cost of living crisis, now is the perfect time to make a difference.

Remember, being kind to yourself, is an ongoing process that requires effort and commitment. If you’re struggling, it can be helpful to speak with a therapist or life coach who can guide you in the right direction, manage your expectations and provide you with self-care strategies to help you cope with feelings of anxiety, stress, and worry for the year ahead.

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