Holidays can be a mixed bag. Some people love them, others dread them, and for some, the holidays are neutral.
There’s no right or wrong way to feel over the holidays. But I have found that no matter what the past year was like, the holidays and the end of the year offer a great time to reflect, appreciate the moments of beauty, grieve what was lost, and find what you personally need so you can approach the next year with a sense of hope.
To that end…
I read a ton (as you all probably do), and one of my favorite books from 2022 was Daniel Pink’s “The Power of Regret.” Pink conducted a massive global survey on regret involving over 15,000 participants, and determined that regrets across cultures generally fall into one of four categories: Foundation Regrets, Boldness Regrets, Moral Regrets, and Connection Regrets. He then went on to propose that regrets, rather than simply being a hard emotion, are actually useful indicators, because they reflect to us the things we value the most. If we use regrets as guideposts, Pink suggests they will help point us in the right direction so we can have clarity about where to focus our time and attention and energy in order to build and live a life we will personally find fulfilling and meaningful. If you’d like a perspective changing book to read over the holidays, one that might help you shift your own priorities for the new year, I highly recommend “The Power of Regret.”
Playing off of that, while I don’t make new year’s resolutions, a tip I was given years ago that I’ve been quite fond of is the idea of having new year’s “practices.” Rather than focusing on what you want to do over the next year, focus on who you want to BE, and craft a couple of practices that will help you become that person. I recently found my list of New Years practices from 2014. One of my practices that year – a practice that I’ve continued every year since because it always challenges me and helps center my perspective – was this one:
“Pause before every major conflict and ask yourself, ‘Will this matter in five years?’ Adjust accordingly.”
There’s so much of life we can’t control, but when we approach what we can control with intention, life doesn’t necessarily get easier, but it does get better. There’s a lot to be said for that.
I wish for you happy holidays and a new year that brings hope for the new, for the better, for a life that gives you many reasons to feel at home in your place in the world.