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A Letter to Yourself for the New Year

December 27, 2017

Begin the new year differently by writing a letter to yourself to revisit the past and describe what you want to see happen in the upcoming months.

WINTER   |   Published December 27, 2017

Start the new year differently and instead of making resolutions you won't keep, write a letter to yourself about goals, hopes, and dreams. #newyearsresolutions #newyear #andersonandgrant

I'm honestly not sure how I feel about New Year's resolutions.  While I enjoy thinking about changes to make each year (or season), there is something about naming them a "resolution" that seems to doom my success right from the start.  Up until the last few years, at the end of December I would think through the mountain of things that needed to be different in the year that was fast approaching.  Then I realized I was making the same resolutions again and again....without ever actually working on them.  Nothing ever changed.

Surely there are people out there who resolve to lose weight, pick up a new hobby, or be more social and actually do it.  But for most of us, I think we wake up January 1 thinking this is the year change is going to happen, and by the next week we have fallen back into our old routines.  That is pretty discouraging.

It is so easy to come up with a long mental list of every thing that you would like to change in the upcoming year to make life more perfect.

Lose 10 pounds.

Spend more time reading.

Eat healthier.

Cut back on spending money.

It is the follow through after the list making that is difficult and that is why more often than not we all fail.  We have one bad day where we don't do as we had planned and before you know it we throw our hands up in failure and say "Maybe next year."

There is something magical about the beginning of a new year and the clean slate that we all get to start with.  No matter how many bad things happened, no matter how many disappointments you faced, no matter who you lost from your life, turning the page to a new calendar year psychologically puts all that into the background of your life and allows you to begin fresh.  It seems as though anything is possible once again with the dawning of a new year.

Tired of making New Year's Resolutions?  Try this letter writing idea instead!  #newyearsresolutions #newyear #andersonandgrant

Awhile back, I read somewhere about writing a letter to yourself that you could open and read the following year.  I ended up doing just that a few months later for my birthday.  I wrote about things I was worried about.  Goals that I wasn't sure would ever be met.  Feelings about life captured in that small moment of time.  Visions of what I wanted my personal world to look like after a year's time.  On those pages that day I had laid my life out there raw and unedited.

And twelve months later when I opened that letter and read it, I was amazed.  The things that had worried me ended up not being so bad or had resolved themselves.  The goals that seemed impossible actually were met with success.  And the feelings written about in darkness were not nearly as scary in the light of different year.  It was eye-opening how much can change in 365 days.

I hadn't resolved to alter my life in anyway and I didn't list item by item the things that I needed to fix......but time and striving consistently day to day just to do better proved that things will improve.

As the days of this calendar year dwindle down, I've decided to sit with a cup of hot chocolate (and maybe a few remaining candy canes) and write a letter to myself to open at the end of 2018.  This is my chance to empty my soul of what has gone on this year and describe what I hope to accomplish in the next.  No one will ever read the words I write except myself so there is no need to be anything but real and honest.  All I need to do is describe where I am right now and who I want to be in the future.

If making a bunch of resolutions or coming up with a "Word of the Year" to focus on isn't your thing, then I encourage you to give this letter to yourself idea a try as well.  There is something incredibly calming and therapeutic about getting all the thoughts out of your head and onto paper.

Finding success at change is less about those single things you want to improve and more about getting a vivid big picture in your head of the life you want......then working everyday making even the tiniest of improvements toward that picture.  There will be days when it may all seem so out of reach or you fail at everything you try.  But the next morning when your feet hit the floor, you can begin all over again working towards the life you described.

And in a year's time, you may just be surprised at how much better off you are without having made a single resolution to change.

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