You don’t have to be happy to be hopeful!


How can we approach the start of a new year without the usual trepidation but instead with self-compassion, safe in the knowledge that we can be ourselves?

Everyone sees the new year as a fresh start, a time to try something new or to give up a bad habit, and that is ok and suits some people; but it is also ok to acknowledge that the new year is hard and can bring a lot of uncertainty and anxiety. It is ok to carry on as normal, as you did before, or to set small, manageable goals instead. As the writer Matt Haig says we are not iPhones, we do not need to be constantly upgraded. But we do need to be charged, and to rest! January is a tough month as it is, so we don’t need to add any extra pressures.

Here are 6 tips to make our transition into the new year slightly easier.


1. Be open to new possibilities

Even if you are not where you thought you would be, remember that the future is unknown and full of possibility. Trying to be open to this idea can be an important step in coping with the pressures that come with this time of year. January is just another month, things can change at any point, not just because of the calendar. Remember: you don’t have to be happy to be hopeful!


2. Keep in touch with friends and family

After the Christmas period, many of us have empty diaries and find January difficult. Tell your friends and family that you find January tough and keep in touch with those that matter to you, even if it’s just going for a walk or fixing a time for a chat. Spending time doing things that you enjoy or are meaningful to you will help you hold on to who you are. Plan a few activities so that you have something to look forward to and to focus on. If they are things you can do with a friend or loved one, even better!


3. Filter what you look at on social media

On social media, especially Instagram, we are bombarded with people talking about their new year’s resolutions, and asking others about theirs. It’s so easy to get caught up with what everyone else is doing, we can forget about ourselves – what we want, what we like doing, what we believe in – and we often follow the crowd. So, if you feel yourself getting caught up in this, try to take a step back, put your phone away and put yourself first. Make a positive effort to only look at what actually makes you feel good and perhaps unfollow some accounts which you don’t really engage with or relate to.


4. Try not to compare yourself

Comparing ourselves to other people, whether it’s celebrities or our friends, can often fuel feelings of negativity and self-doubt, especially if it seems that those around us are thriving and busy achieving their goals. It can help to remind yourself that everyone tries to present themselves in the best way possible, especially on social media, so what we are comparing ourselves to is often an edited version of other people’s lives, which is not necessarily ‘real’.


5. Manage your expectations

January comes with this ‘new year, new me’ idea and this creates more pressure, but let’s face it the novelty can wear off after a few days or weeks. If you find setting goals or resolutions helpful, instead of setting an unrealistic goal or target in the new year, break things down and perhaps set a target for each day instead. This way you can manage your expectations and you’re more likely to achieve each goal – sometimes small steps are better.


6. Be compassionate to yourself

If you are not setting goals, try to take some time for yourself in small ways, get some rest and recharge your social batteries, drink more water – these things are just as valuable to us as creating new year’s resolutions! Let’s try to take the pressure off, let ourselves off the hook a little more, be more honest, compassionate and true to ourselves, our families and our friends. We don’t have to be fine all the time. This year, our resolution could be not to make any resolutions but to take good care of ourselves.