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  • Clive Vanderwagen

Does a new year mean time for change?

Updated: Dec 22, 2021

New Year, New Me!

How many times have you heard that, or maybe even scoffed at it when deep down you're hoping it will ring true for you too?

Daniel Pink, in his brilliant book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, talks about the human psychology of starting things at times when it feels like a new beginning.

We start a gym routine on a Monday because it signifies a new week. We decide to lose weight on the first day of the month signifying Spring, because it means something new.

We stop smoking or drinking on the last day of the month, because it signifies an ending and the start of something new.

A new year inherently makes us want to create change, whether we like it or not.

You may not make New Year's resolutions, but you have done something that will spark change in the new year – whether it be new revenue goals, a decision to start studying, a trip to plan, or to spend more time with your children.

When I coach people in December, I hear "Next year, I want to..." from almost all my clients. Even those who scoff at the idea of change just because a number is changing at the top of the calendar.

So in all likelihood, you are thinking of change. You are thinking of things you want to do differently in your life in the new year, or carrying a hope that this coming year things may be a bit better. (I think we're all hoping for change given the Covid pandemic and its consequences over the last two years.)

I always encourage people I work with to spend some time reflecting on what they want. Especially when it comes to a new year.

Things will happen in 2022 that will be beyond your control, but there are some things you can choose to put in your mental action list that could spark some new thinking.

Here are some of the questions I ask my clients when they want to see change in their lives:

If 2022 was ending, what would have happened in the year to make it successful?

Write down a few things. It may be that you got a new job. Or you got that increase. It may be that you got to travel. Or that you got to spend more time with your kids.

It could be that you stopped something. You finally kicked that habit you've been beating yourself up over. It could be that you're still alive.

I've had to spend some time thinking about this, and I have a couple I'm happy to share with you. Maybe they'll spark some ideas for you.

  • I get to travel. I want to spend one month of the year in Amsterdam with friends, working remotely. All my work is online, so why not experience another city before things go back to normal (if they ever do).

  • I stay sober. Ditching the drink was the best thing I did for my mental health. I do miss a good cold glass of bubbly on a summer's day, but I know that I'm better off without it in the long run.

  • I get to run a 21km race. Ludicrous! I have no idea why. But I want to.

  • I finish writing my book and show it to a publisher or two.

  • I run a business that adds value to peoples' lives, and makes some money doing that.

  • My husband doesn't leave me for a younger man (I turn 50 in 2022!).

What do you want more of in 2022?

Yep, take more photos could be one of them.

What do you want to keep adding to your life? Have you loved working from home because you see your family more? How will you keep getting more of that next year?

Maybe you've seen weight loss that you've needed to feel healthier. Maybe you want more of that?

What have you received over the last year that has made you happier that you can add more of into your life in 2022?

Some of my ideas:

  • More writing. I've fallen in love with writing all over again, and I want to fill journals and pages with my ramblings.

  • More me. I feel like I've finally started seeing 'me' after a number of years of feeling lost. I'm really liking the guy I'm turning into and how I'm showing up in the world, and I want to keep that journey going.

  • More Poké bowls. My new addiction.

  • More time with my siblings – my brother and two sisters are my soul food.

What do you want less of in your life in 2022?

What has taken up too much space in your life over the last year or two? Do you want to have less anxiety? Then see how you can do that (meditation helps some. Me I just pop tranquilisers, ahem). Less junk food? Less fighting with your partner? Less Netflix? Whatever it is. Some of you may want more Netflix. This is your journey. But spend some time looking at what you want to cut out a bit in your life.

Now don't be drastic about it. Don't be all, "I want to to have less weight so I will only eat leaves from now on." Drastic less won't work.

What do you want 10% less of?

Start there. I want to work 10% less so I get to see my kids at bath time. I want to eat 10% less junk food a month. Then bump it up to 10% less the next month than the month before. So you drink 10% less sugary drinks in February than you did in January. And then 10% less in March than February, and keep on that way.

Go slow with less. But actively look at what you want less of.

Some of mine:

  • Less online shopping for shit you don't need.

  • Less caring what people think.

  • Less fear of being vulnerable in relationships, especially with my husband.

  • Less checking of mails. Especially when I'm doing it to distract myself from deep work.

  • Less fear of writing.

What is your intention in 2022?

What is your one word or one line or saying that you will use to guide you for 2022?

It could be "Relationships Matter" if you want to work on your family or connecting more with your tribe. Just pick one word or one sentence that will guide you through the year.

It could be a verse from a religious book, or a writer you love. It could be a quote. It could just be "More Tea" to remind yourself to take more breaks during the day and grab a cuppa more often.

You pick your word, your line, or your sentence.

Here's mine: SHOW UP!

I want to show up in my life more. In my relationships more. In front of people more. I want to show up authentically. I want to live this quote by James Hollis:

"We are not here to fit in, be well balanced, or provide exempla for others. We are here to be eccentric, different, perhaps strange, perhaps merely to add our small piece, our little clunky, chunky selves, to the great mosaic of being."

I want to show up as clunky (hopefully not too chunky) and different and eccentric, or whatever may feel like it screams 'me.' 2022 is my year to show up.

What is 2022 going to be for you?


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