We’ve arrived that time of year again, when we reflect on the previous year and look forward to the New Year, with all of its promise and possibilities. What do you usually do at the start of a new year? I am usually a “New Year’s Resolutions” kind of person, which means whipping out pen and paper, and starting a new checklist of things I want to accomplish in the coming year.
As I looked through my 2022 checklist, I could not help but feel a sense of achievement. I completed GP training and now enjoying my work as a GP in Manchester city centre. I finally saw my parents after spending over two years apart during the pandemic. I exceeded my goal of reading twelve books in a year. I also tried several things that are completely out of my comfort zone.
I then thought about what new things I would like to achieve in 2023. With news of mayhem around the world constantly bombarding us in the media, I reflected on the important things in life and whether they have a place in a to-do list. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being task-focused and having a to-do list. It can, in fact, be essential for driving productivity. However, if we are not careful, we can become performance-driven and in turn, lose sight of the things that are truly dear to us.
Being human means having the tendency to forget. We focus on what we lack and forget what we have. Instead of the usual hustling, I wondered whether 2023 could be the year I start to be more intentional about slowing down, not letting things pass me by but pacing myself to enjoy every moment. Focusing on the little things in life rather than magnifying the negatives, being more purposeful in the pursuit of a healthy mind and happiness.
Bestselling author Yung Pueblo wrote, “Realise how short the walk is from gratitude to happiness.”
What are you grateful for in life?
It may be that your basic needs are being met. A roof over your head, food on the table, clean water, heating and a bed to rest in. It may be the ability to feel safe and secure in your home and workplace. It may be the people you share your life with, like family, friends and loved ones. It may be your health, the ability to sleep through the night or a peace of mind. It may be that you feel accomplished and respected within your community. It could be the ability to reach your full potential without worrying about when your next pay cheque will arrive.
How do we practise gratitude in our everyday lives?
Practically, this could be starting a gratitude journal where you write down three things you are grateful for every day. Alternatively, you could share your thoughts with loved ones or on social media. If you are a Christian, you could start or end the day by thanking God for the little and big things He has blessed you with.
Practising gratitude now could transform your life in 2023! It allows space for mindfulness and meditation. It acts as a pause for introspection in the midst of busyness. It is a safeguard to being more intentional with our mental health. It enhances the relationships we so often take for granted. It helps us develop empathy for those in society who may be less fortunate.
I end with a quote from the movie About Time: “We’re all travelling through time together, every day of our lives. All we can do is do our best to relish this remarkable ride.”