BY: Janis Gaudelli – “Champion of Truths, Unicorns & AWE-tism”
I have never been a fan of New Year’s.
Every New Year’s Eve I find myself waiting for the countdown, reflecting upon the past year, and focusing on all the “shoulda, coulda, woulda” moments. As I sip my bubbly, I bathe in regrets, lessons unlearned and yet another year of not achieving the “new year, new me” pledge I made one year earlier.
So, I have an idea: let’s make a pact right here, right now. A promise that will benefit us all if we keep it: Let’s stop with the “new year, new you” bullshit. Why? Because the “you” you are right now is enough. Actually no, you’re more than enough: you’re fucking magical. Whenever you make the pledge to become a “new you”, you’re implying that who you are today is broken and needs to be fixed. I am here to tell you that that’s totally and utterly bogus, because the only thing broken is the phrase, “new year, new you”. So, are you with me? Let’s set fire to this old, disempowering mantra because YOU is good, YOU is smart, and YOU is a magical sunbeam of love and light.
I say all this because, year after year, I have subscribed to this “new year, new you” philosophy. Folks, it’s a fucking trap. I’m all for constant growth, change, and renewal, but this phrase has us stuck in a constant hustle to become a new, improved or better version of ourselves. Tell me, when will we ever get tired of picking ourselves apart in pursuit of becoming “better”?
I think that’s why many people are not fans of New Year’s: because we feel pressured to change something about ourselves. I am not saying it’s all bad— if you want to lose 10 lbs or quit smoking or find a new job, go for it! What I have a problem with is changing who you are and becoming someone new. We must stop focusing on what we need to fix and start celebrating all that’s good about ourselves.
I applied this new mentality on NYE 2016. I decided the only thing I am in control of is how I feel about and react to things— like NYE. Every year I wanted to feel “new” or “improved” or “better”, and yet every year I felt like the same version of me that had sat on the couch exactly one year earlier. I’d had it. I threw up my hands and realized a positive change was in order. So, as I watched Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve that night, I decided to pop the cork on a brand new ‘tude towards New Year’s. I decided to put some traditions in place and let go of the toxic one— the “new year, new me”.
From that year forward, I decided that New Year’s Eve would focus on all that was good about the year: happy moments, accomplishments, positive changes, etc. That is when the “All Good Things” Jar came into existence.
This jar is chock-full of all good self-celebrations. Every time something ‘good’ happens to me, to my son, or in our life, I write it on a post-it note and put it in the jar. I do this on most days throughout the year (some days I forget or have nothing to report). Then, on NYE, I empty the jar and relive those good moments. Kellan and I read them aloud and we smile, laugh and recall the memory. Every year, as I read the notes, and relive the good, I feel happy and accomplished and enough. This simple practice lets me focus on the good from that year, rather than reflect on what wasn’t. That’s why we get so depressed on New Year’s: we often look back on what the year wasn’t. We tend to remember what didn’t happen during the year as opposed to what did. It’s what I call our jar of “high-five moments”. This jar, this simple, glass cylinder with paper inside, is proof that I experienced more good, more triumphs, more happy in a year I had thought quite sucked. I highly encourage you to start yours.
There are a couple other things I implemented that year, which help me reflect positively on the year that’s leaving and welcome the new one knocking at the door:
WHAT IS YOUR WORD?
Someone once asked me, “what’s your word for the New Year?”. I asked her what she meant by that, and she offered this explanation: “Your word is like a mantra or guiding force for the new year. Your word takes the place of a New Year’s Resolution. It’s a word that embodies what you want to think/feel/do in the new year. Something that you can apply in little ways throughout your life instead of a concrete goal that involves either failure or success”. I was suspicious at first, asking myself, “How does a single word guide you?”
Well, I am here to tell you that it does in a very impactful way. My word has become a form of measurement throughout the year. My word keeps me grounded in how I am living my life and staying true to myself. However, I don’t usually set a word for the new year; my word is appointed on my birthday, because that’s what I consider my new year. My word this year was “nourish”, and you can read all about it here. Nevertheless, most people declare a word on New Year’s. Whichever you chose to do, I promise you will find it a powerful constant that will carry you the whole year through.
FIND YOUR PASSION PROJECT
This time last year, I was speaking to my closest friends about my idea to start a blog. I was unsure of what it would look like or how I would do it, but I felt a fire inside me when I talked about it, a fire I knew I couldn’t ignore. A fire that felt familiar. A fire that once lit me up, but that I had contained to focus on motherhood. I missed the sparks it set off inside me, and I was ready to reignite the flame. This fire was in the form of a passion project. A Passion Project is basically a creative side project: something you dedicate time to (often outside of your chosen career path) that gives you satisfaction, happiness and puts you into a state of flow. It’s what you do to escape it all. It’s your tiny (or huge) contribution to the world. My passion projects in the past varied in scope and subject matter: from starting a women’s group focusing on healing after a break-up or divorce, to creating a self-esteem program for the elementary school level, or bringing a meditation program to nursing homes. I had gone six years without a passion project, and I most definitely felt the void.
It was January 1, 2018 when I sat in a diner with my soul-sister Dee-Dee, discussing this project idea and, naturally, she encouraged me to go for it. That project transformed into a blog I now call The Daily Feels.
My Passion Project Introduction on social media
Honestly, this passion project has been life-changing, in ways others weren’t. I was not only reigniting my internal flame, I was overcoming one of my greatest fears: writing. You see, fear is a very uncomfortable feeling for me. I do a good a job of not living in fear. Whereas I don’t claim to be fearless, I honestly don’t fear much in life. Writing was a fear I needed to extinguish once and for all. A fear I knew I couldn’t battle alone. I needed a community to inspire me, encourage me, and write alongside me. On April 2nd, 2018, with the help of ten fearless writers (now there are 16!), I smothered those fears for the last time and launched The Daily Feels. For me, The Daily Feels is what has made 2018 a year to remember. It is the project I turned to throughout the year when life got a bit too heavy (and heavy it was). It was my vessel for support, love, relief, grief and more. So yes, passion projects are pretty amazing. I hope you find your passion project this year, and that it sets your soul on fire.
So, my friends, as my last blog of the year comes to an end, I encourage you to reflect all that sparked joy in your life this year. Try sitting in quietude and think about creating your own jar of “All Good Things”, or what you would want your word to be for the new year, or ideate on this new passion project of yours. But above all, be good to yourself. The “you”, right here and now, is perfect as is. No ‘newness’ necessary.
Happy You Year!
Janis Gaudelli is The Founder of The Daily Feels. She started this passion project to reveal the magic behind storytelling, and how truth-based narratives bring people together in the most heart-warming of ways. Fascinated by soul, depth, intellect, raw truths and rebellion with a cause. Often captivated by the awe of nature: star gazing, moon manifesting, sunset chasing, waves crashing, crickets singing. Fiercely curious about the inner-workings of the human psyche… she professionally studies human behavior for a living. Forever proud and grateful for being a mom to the force that fuels her life: her 7-year-old son, and greatest professor, Kellan.