Happy 2023! We've made it to a new year and with this new year comes a sense of renewal. Many people take this time to make personal or professional resolutions and to make changes aimed at ensuring success. We will talk about goal-setting in an upcoming post, but for now, I want to talk about the other side of change, which is letting go. The phrase "letting go" sounds somber, but it is the stepping stone to making room for the new things in our lives- new habits, new projects, etc.
Taking Inventory in Your Life
Letting go of the past is the only way change happens. It's only by leaving things that no longer serve us that we can find what does and actually move forward. But the process isn't an easy one in many cases. Should I ditch this t-shirt I haven't worn in a decade? Ok. Should I leave this job that I've worked at for almost 15 years? That question is a lot harder.
A lot of times, the past is familiar to us while the future can be scary. Sometimes letting go means a significant recalibration, especially if what you're letting go of is a relationship or an address or a career path.
How do we decide what to let go of? And how do we do it? The best way to decide what is working is to reflect on the different areas of your life- personal, professional, spiritual, home, etc. and see what is working for you. Nothing brings us joy all day every day but do you feel fulfilled in these areas? Is anything inordinately stressful? Is there something toxic you've been dealing with? Is there something costing you your peace and wellbeing? Is it something simple like just needing to clear out old clothes or clutter?
Do you need to change where your energy is flowing? IIt's easy to get busy with a million things that each take a certain amount of energy so it's important to decide where our energy actually belongs. Shifting our energy can mean letting go of projects that we once thought mattered a lot to us.
Another important task is deciding who we want to be. Looking beyond our daily/monthly goals to the bigger picture of who we want to become is a great way to make important decisions and stick to our resolve. We can imagine what the person we want to be would do in certain situations we are faced with. For example, if we want to be a person who puts family first and there comes a time when we would have to do something that doesn't put family first, we already have our answer about what to do.
The process of letting go requires that we be honest with ourselves about what we fear, what we hope for, and what we need for the future. It also requires that we be kind to ourselves. There was a reason we held on to certain things for so long and there's no shame in that. We are always in a growing stage.
How do we say goodbye to the old and bring in the new? Whether it's an old hoodie, a toxic relationship, or a job that is no longer fulfilling- we can move on with our spirit intact and our heads held high. Hannah Perlberger, in her article Thank You and Goodbye: Letting Go to Move Forward, advises that we spend time saying goodbye to what we are leaving behind, reflecting on the good and bad, and then moving forward to our new chapter. This allows us to honor the past before letting it go.
We are entering a new year, full of hope and possibilities. One way we can enjoy the full promise of the year is to detach from anything in the past that didn't serve us to make room for what will serve us now.
I wish you an amazing year.