The New Year is a time of new hopes and new beginnings. This special tick of the clock motivates us not only to celebrate, but also to step outside of our day-to-day activities. It’s a time to reflect, take stock, look back, assess how we did, and consider how we can to do better. 

Throughout the world, there are a variety of cultural celebrations to bring in the New Year. Japan has many – but one of the most important is Hatsumode, which refers to the first visit to a shrine or temple during the early days of January. This is when family and relatives would pray together for a fortunate year ahead. Some Japanese communities organize festivities with stalls that sell food, sharing omikuji (fortune-telling strips of paper for drawing) and lucky charms to wish for safety, prosperity of descendants, love and wealth.

Most of us have high hopes and dreams about a New Year, but what we really want are the same things: good health, feeling safe in the world, love and abundance. 2021 appears to be starting off with a rocky start, with so much going on in the world, it’s challenging to find the good in it. For me, the best way to handle it, is to trust in the bigger good, the bigger picture, trying to stay away from the news with knowing that transformation is not easy. It can take its toll emotionally. This is a good time to practice self-care and perhaps let go of expectations of this new year. 

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? The word new itself implies a change. I used to make New Year’s resolutions years ago, but those days are long gone. I always started out with the best effort and intentions, but as most of us have experienced, my resolutions were always broken within a few short months. The pressure to keep resolutions is not what inspires or motivates me. Quiet reflection, setting goals and having dreams is what makes me feel good about beginning a new year. When I reflect back to the end of 2019, there was SO much excitement, anticipation and hope for the New Year, for the new decade. For most, 2020 was going be the year to live life to the fullest, making dreams come true, making more money, traveling the world. The list goes on and on…. and then it all came crashing down.

How did 2020 impact you? When the Coronovirus took over the world, our lives were turned upside down. In the midst of fear, grief and many unknowns there have been silver linings. Slowing down and connecting with nature has been one of the gifts during this time. I’ve seen an outpour of support and connecting to those who need help. Doing good is good for the soul. So initiating change is much easier when your aim is to help others; in the end, your actions will return and do good for yourself. At the beginning of every year, commit to making small changes that give you joy. This way it’s much easier to achieve your desired changes.   

As hard and challenging as 2020 was, it’s been for the better with many silver linings that have yet to be seen. The world is healing and with time, our hearts will heal. Stories will be told, connections and shared experiences will come to surface and be revealed. The light has come to earth and we will be ok. We will be more than ok.

What did you learn from 2020 and what are you changing in your life for 2021?

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