What a Great Feeling – Not “Making” New Years Resolutions!

I don’t know about you, but I have honestly felt the last couple of years have been like Groundhog Day – life on repeat, not moving forward, with a series of unexpected blocks that have kept dashing my hopes and previous made plans.

My mantra for 2023: ‘My year of making things happen’ and whilst most people have been making new year’s resolutions and ‘hard’ goal setting, I am going with a different approach this year by reframing my thinking.

I have spent the last few months reflecting on my life and gaining self-clarity of my vision for my future. Coming to realise that I am prepared to let people go from my life, who take me for granted and don’t value our connection (dependant on their circumstances, as we do not entirely know what is going on in someone else’s lives).

Will I miss them? Of course, I will, but not as much as I would regret the feeling of not moving openly into the future.

Instead of making new resolutions, which if I’m honest, quite possibly would not be sustainable, I have opted this year to use ‘Action for Happiness Org’s’ January 2023 calendar to set my intentions.

Specifically, the first daily action of the year: Find 3 things to look forward to this year! (link to calendar below)

I really like the thought of reframing my goals using the language of having things to look forward to. Personally this really resonates with me as I feel it helps to foster sustainable hope.

Yes, I still need to have self clarity, and plan goals and implement them to achieve the things I’m looking forward to. Yet just as with Hope Action Theory, where Hope is the anchor at the centre of the pinwheel, (there is no glue, but it enables the wings (competencies) to move around as impacted by the air (environment)), reframing my thinking into having ‘things to look forward to’, I find I am more open to possibility thinking.

Hope Action Theory pinwheel developed by Dr Spencer Niles, Dr Hyung Joon Yung, Dr Norm Amundson, Hope-Action Group

The other thing I am conscious of especially after the lockdown years is focusing on shifting my perspective to work-life integration compared to work-life balance. This is something important for me moving forward, with my life. For me the image of a scale associated with work/life balance, often felt like they have been in competition between the two elements. I don’t know about you, but this I believe contributed to my feeling COVID-19 pandemic burn out, which really hit me last year. Whereas Work-life integration creates more synergies between all pillars of my life, including work, home, community, personal wellbeing and health (physical and mental).

All of this has contributed to identifying 6 (4 are related) things I’m looking forward to this year, which as I watched the changing colours of the sky and fireworks on NYE, I gained greater clarity. So here they are:

🌺 One of the things I am looking forward to in the 2nd half of this year is to finally travel back to Germany and explore other parts of Europe. I’m looking forward to catching up with close friends who I haven’t seen for a few years. I’m excited and curious to see what may come of this and want to spend time immersing myself in different cultures.

🌺 Meeting new people – professionally and extending my social circle. One strategy is to be courageous, and I’ve signed up with a company that organises meet ups with people of a similar age. It will be interesting to get to know other people.

🌺 The Invictus Games in Düsseldorf – hopefully I’ll be selected as a volunteer 🤞

🌺 I’m looking forward to catching up in person with Career Practitioners and other connections from different countries I made during the pandemic (virtually via professional development webinars and LinkedIn). I’m curious to discover first hand similarities and differences to our field in different countries. I’m also open to discovering future work opportunities

🌺 Trying new recipes – I love cooking, and more so when I can cook for others, I’m looking forward to potential opportunities where I can cook for friends whilst on my trip

🌺 Giving back to my friends – I’m looking forward to running some hands-on practical workshops, teaching some of my hobbies before I head overseas.

In preparation for my trip to Europe, I picked up a couple of days before New Years Eve, new editions of these Lonely Planet guides.

For a bit of fun, and opening my mind to possibility thinking, on New Years Day, I randomly selected 10 pages from each book for places I could visit.

Only 3 out of 20 places listed below I have been to in the past (including lovely Münster, NRW where I lived)

Something keeps drawing me to Hamburg, and surprise I randomly selected it twice.

Feeling curious and excited about discovering more about the places on the list below. I’m not sure which ones I’ll visit, but I do like keeping an open mind.

And yep one my finger landed on was a beer garden 🍻😄


🛫 Lake Ohrid/Ohrid – Western North Macedonia

🛫 Mont St-Michel – France

🛫 Thessaloniki – Northern Greece

🛫 Lausanne – Switzerland

🛫 Uppsala – Sweden

🛫 Santillan del Mar – Spain

🛫 Mallorca – Spain

🛫 Kew Gardens – UK

🛫 Niewmarkt & Plantage/Amsterdam – The Netherlands


🛫 Bayreuth – Bavaria

🛫 Paderborner Brauhaus/ Paderborn – North Rhine Westphalia

🛫 Dinkelsbuhl – Bavaria

🛫 Görlitz – Saxony

🛫 St Pauli & Reeperbahn – Hamburg

🛫 Altona & Elbmeile – Hamburg

🛫 Düsseldorf – North Rhine Westphalia

🛫 Hannau & Steinau – Hesse (Birthplace of the Grimms Brothers)

🛫 Münster – North Rhine Westphalia

🛫 Potsdam – Brandenburg

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