fbpx Starting the New Year Slow
Authored by Nexus Family Healing on January 5, 2023

Winter is the season of stillness. Everything freezes (at least here in Minnesota), nature comes to a standstill, animals hibernate. But ironically, we humans seem to go against the cue nature gives us by rushing into winter celebrating family holidays and the new year. We are often under a constant barrage of “new year, new me” messaging. The idea of rebuilding ourselves and the pressure to make big changes is everywhere. This sense of "newness" feels contrary in a season where we should be enjoying the quiet and stillness of winter and the togetherness of the holidays. 

Often by the end of January, folks are left with feelings of guilt and shame for “failing” to live up to the idea that habits and people magically change overnight. 

Instead, it would be much healthier for our minds if we strived to change and adapt as time passes. Change comes from slow and steady imperfect consistency with grace for mistakes made along the way. I’ve found some ways to welcome in the new year slowly and quietly while embracing the natural slowness of winter.

1.    If you’re looking to start a new hobby, choose one that’s timeless.

You may have heard before that a high consumption of screen time can have negative effects such as lowering self-esteem, impacting sleep, and increasing sedentary activity.  For individuals with mental disorders that disrupt dopamine regulation, like ADHD, depression, bi-polar disorder, or anxiety, screens can be especially addictive. Try combatting this by practicing hobbies that have existed before screens. I love to read so that’s my go-to, but there are endless options to try - anything from knitting, cooking, sewing, breadmaking, roller-skating, or even stargazing! This is a great opportunity to start a new hobby with your family as well. Pick an activity that sounds intriguing and make a routine of it as a family. You will get to spend quality time together and learn to try something new. 

2.    Have slow, honest conversations with yourself and your family about setting goals.

It’s good to set goals for the new year, whether they are financial, work related, or personal. It’s important to set goals for your household as well and model following through on setting and reaching them. If you’re taking the start of the new year to do this, have slow, honest conversations with yourself and the people around you. What is realistic for everyone? Be honest and be flexible. It’s okay to not always reach a goal, and it is okay to fail. What matters is consistency and showing up for yourself and those you love. 

3.    Remember, slow and steady wins the race!

Many are familiar with the “it takes 30 days to change a habit” idea, but according to the latest research, it can take a person more than two months for a behavior to become automatic, depending on the individual. So, take it easy! Be honest with yourself, and set small, sustainable goals that you can build on over time, instead of immediately trying to jump into a new habit. Focus on doing a workout once or twice a week instead of everyday, or save $5 at a time instead of $50, or read 10 pages a day instead of a chapter. Meet those smaller goals first, celebrate them, and build to the big ones.  

Nature is literally telling us it’s time to take it easy, slow down, and spend more time at home. So, while thinking about the future, don’t forget to enjoy the present and focus on the smaller ways you can achieve your goals and take the time you need to build the “new you” this new year.

Nexus Family Healing is a national nonprofit mental health organization that restores hope for thousands of children and families who come to us for outpatient/community mental health servicesfoster care and adoption, and residential treatment. For over 50 years, our network of agencies has used innovative, personalized approaches to heal trauma, break cycles of harm, and reshape futures. We believe every child is worth it — and every family matters. Learn more at nexusfamilyhealing.org.