Oh my, the kids are on school holidays again, it’s nearly Christmas and 2020 is drawing closer. I’m excited for just one of these three things! As in proper excited, and that’s the welcoming of a new year. Five years ago I was recovering from surgery and waiting for my drains to be removed, in my mind Christmas couldn’t exist because my world had just been blown apart, and the new year just held more fear.
There are so many reasons to be grateful of the dawning of a new year, whatever it may hold for you. It’s an opportunity to put behind you, as our Queen once said, an annus horribilis (1992 and people still remember!), what happened in 2019 will be in the past even if it doesn’t feel like it!
A new year is often taken as an opportunity to approach life with a new vigour, to plan and prioritise. I’m not talking resolutions as most times they are abandoned before the Christmas chocolates have all gone, I’m talking about intent and attitude.
One of the many, many things I’ve learnt through therapy is about distorted thinking patterns and how these reinforce negative emotions. One of these is black and white thinking (or polarized thinking) and the success/failure of a resolution can surely only be seen as black (fail) or white (succeed) and failure will then give you an opportunity to believe how rubbish a person you are because you haven’t managed to lose 10lbs/stop smoking/learn the cello/overthrow the government. However, if you were to approach these goals in a more staged way it can diminish the feelings of failure, working towards your goals in any small way is better than not even trying.