If you’re like many people, by now you’re feeling a bit guilty (ok, maybe a lot) of New Year’s resolutions or intentions that never “took.” According to Strava, a social media network for athletes, January 12 is the magic date by which members of its community dropped their resolutions. (It’s a little comforting to know that even athletes struggle with their New Year’s commitments.)
Well, here’s your permission to stop beating yourself up, let it go, and begin again.
Disney’s Words of Wisdom
As Idina Menzel belts out in the Disney power anthem, Let It Go, “I’m never going back, the past is in the past.”
Letting go – whether it be of New Year’s resolutions, toxic relationships, grudges, or even goals that are, at this point in your life, simply unachievable due to circumstances beyond your control – can bring an amazing amount of mental and emotional freedom. You heave a great sigh of relief and open your eyes to what really exists at this moment. And according to meditation and mindfulness guru Rick Hanson, the effect of letting go can create space for other, wonderful things to emerge.
Letting go a little, he says, brings a little happiness. Letting go a lot brings a lot of happiness. Letting go completely brings complete happiness.
Once you let go of whatever has been bringing you down and heave that sigh of relief, you are likely to feel reenergized and ready to start anew. Thanks to the “fresh start effect,” you can do this whenever needed. The key is targeting a “temporal landmark” – a birthday, a holiday, the start of a new month or week, or virtually any day that stands out to you as being more important than others. Temporal landmarks offer clean slates that allow you to recommit to your goals and intentions. As behavioral scientist Francesca Gino wrote in a 2016 Scientific American article, “by picking the right date to revisit my commitments, I can trigger the same sense of dissociation from the past that I felt on New Year’s Day and begin to move closer to my virtuous goals again.”
The process of letting go and beginning again can be both empowering and a period of discovery. So why not give it a try? Whenever you feel weighed down, give yourself permission to let go. Open up to whatever blossoms. And then get a fresh start in a new direction. Most important, take comfort in knowing that every day can be New Year’s Day.
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Author: Carol Swanson. Carol is a health & wellbeing writer and can be found at firstname.lastname@example.org