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Key Questions to Ask Yourself to Begin the New Year|1.3.2024

In this episode, Kristen shares key questions to start your year right. Discover how answering these questions can guide you toward self-awareness, intentional living, and meaningful goals.

You'll Learn

  • How to gain self-awareness through reflection on the past year.
  • The importance of recognizing joyful moments and expressing gratitude.
  • Strategies for healing resentments and fostering personal growth.
  • Setting values and boundaries for a fulfilling new year.
  • Practical tips for setting meaningful goals and intentions for 2024.


For counseling services near Indianapolis, IN, visit www.pathwaystohealingcounseling.com.

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This information is being provided to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is being provided to you to educate you about ideas on stress management and as a self-help tool for your own use. It is not psychotherapy/counseling in any form.

Kristen Boice

Welcome to the close the chapter podcast. I am Kristen Boice, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice pathways to healing counseling, through conversations, education, strategies and shared stories, we will be closing the chapter on all the thoughts, feelings, people and circumstances that don't serve you anymore. And open the door to possibilities and the real you. You won't want to miss an episode, so be sure to subscribe. Welcome to this week's close the chapter podcast Can you believe we had finished out another year, I can't even believe how fast this year went. And we're already at a New Year. And it's time to reflect on how this year has been for you. Was it hard? Was it a great year for you, maybe it was a combination of both hard and a growth here for you. And maybe this is a year that is just a blur. So I want to spend some time today to reflect on this past year, and how to make the most out of this new year. Because when we're more intentional, present, and focused, we are going to get more out of our day to day interactions with those we care about love. And with ourselves. If we're kind of sleepwalking through our lives, we're not going to feel fulfilled, purposeful, meaningful, I'd have the life we want. So let's jump into this week's episode on reflection of this past year, and what you want more of in this upcoming year. The reason why this is so important is because we don't spend a lot of time and reflection. Why is reflection so important, because we start learning more about ourselves and self awareness. If you've listened to this podcast at all, you know, I am so passionate about self awareness. That is the transformational element to making the changes you want in your life, or enhancing more of who you are. And being authentic, vulnerable and real in your life is self awareness, knowing your strengths, your areas of growth, and what you want, what you don't want, where it's okay with you what's not okay with you, what your triggers are, how you can heal all parts of yourself. And that's a journey until the day we transition. Honestly, self growth equals self love. And so I want to really focus on this year on what you want more of in your life. So let's first reflect on 2023. So grab a notebook and a pen, or you can play it replay this, if you're busy doing other things. This is an important exercise to self reflect on I did lots of journaling around these questions to just go within and get present. We're so busy with the hustle and bustle and everything we have to get done in the stress and work in our lives with kids, maybe grandkids work and family obligations that we don't spend a lot of time in reflection. So here's the first reflection question. What did you learn about yourself this past year? What did you learn about yourself? I learned about myself that my body gives me the answers. I knew this. But it was more apparent this year, the answers to when I feel afraid, which is really what anxiety is. When I feel scared, sad. My body is the first indicator to let me know, to pay attention. I need to be doing some walking, some breathing, some journaling some prayer, I need to attend to myself. So that was a big one this year, that was a huge reminder to me to notice my body, especially when I'm anxious about something, I feel it in my stomach in my chest. And it's an indicator to recenter myself. So what did you learn about yourself this year? That was one that immediately came up for me. So maybe think about your stretch areas? What have you learned the shear about what you want to change? Maybe what you've grown, what you've healed? What have you walked through that was hard, that has helped you deepen a sense of empathy and compassion for yourself and others and really helped you grow as a person. Okay, number two, what were some of the hardest moments of this year? This was a little bit of a harder question. Because hard is relative. So it could be a micro moment have something that was hard. I think mine was being present in the moment. Yeah, that was hard for myriad of reasons. I could think about work my family, things I have to get done around the house and get distracted and want to numb out on my phone or scroll, social media. And it really took away from me feeling present and fulfilled in my life. And that's something I'm going to change in the next year, I want to be more intentional about the people that I care about love, I want to tell them how much they have impacted me how much they mean to me, and what specifically they have done to impact my life. So that was huge is looking at the hardest moments, and how did you grow from them. Number three, let's talk about word of the year. If you have not done this, I have done this for the past five years maybe is pick a word that I want to use as a guide post for that year. Last year, I can go through all of my words in the last four years. So let me share those with you. So 2021 was create 2022 was the vessel being the vessel for healing and growth in the I'm just the vessel. I loved that one that was one of my favorite words. Last year was expansion of mind, body, spirit and self expanding my capacity to love bigger, bolder, greater. And then this year, I've been really prayed over by word generally about it getting present to what that could be. I've had many words come through. And this word just keeps coming back impact. What impact are you having in the world? Meaning it doesn't have to be something grand mine is more a microcosm moments. What impact Am I having? Am I present? Am I attuned? Am I am Pasic? How am I showing up for those in my life for myself? For my family, for my friends, for my clients? For the pathways, clinicians? How am I showing up and having an impact and my presence? Because if I am distracted with other things, I'm not showing up with all my parts. So impact keeps circling around. So I'm pretty sure that's going to be my word for 2023. When you're thinking about your word, what do you want to be a guidepost for this year? Those were some of my words my family chose last year, my daughter's chose growth and inspire. And my husband Mark chose presents. And those really, all the words resonate with me. But is there something that keeps coming up that is begging you to look at. So a couple of my other words were trust, trust that everything happens exactly the way it's supposed to go? Trust that is for my highest good trust universe or God. However you want to put that trust that your life is exactly the way it's supposed to be in the moments unfold as they will. So that word came up. But impact seemed to build in the word Trust to me. And then another word that came up was joy, or fun. I want to have more fun in the next year, I have been pretty focused on just raising my kids. Not that that's not fun. We have fun. What fun things am I doing in my life? So be thinking about a joy is an emotion that comes and goes it's finding the joy in the moment. So be thinking about your word. Maybe for this next year. That's going to be your guide post a lamp, if you will, that lights the path that you can reflect on regularly. I like to check in with it often. And see how is this guiding me to be clear last year, expansion came up throughout the year, it wasn't a word that really lit the path for me it did at the very beginning of the year. And then I lost a hold of it. So write it down, put it on a post it, use it as your way to check in with yourself to see how am I doing this year, am I making decisions based on my values or my word for the year, and it helps you get clearer. So there's many different words you can pick. You can even Google words for the year, and it can give you a list. And then you can journal about or highlight the ones that speak to you and then narrow it down to three. And then go back and pick the one that really is speaking to you. And then write it down. I would love to know your words for 2024. So if you want to tag me at Kristen D Boice on social media, Instagram or Facebook, I would love to see your words for 2024 and cheer you on. So that's the word for the year picking a word as a guidepost. And as we continue to do more reflection time this helps you so if you're looking at your word from last year to spend some time on how that word impacted you or showed up last year for you.

Kristen Boice

I did some journaling about that and I feel like I expanded in my capacity to love bigger even though I felt like it was already there. It's always an expansion of self and opening if you will So I did a lot of reflection on that. So look at what joyful moments you had this past year, what were some of the joyful moments, and sometimes this is really hard to access. And if joyful, does it come up, maybe pick grateful, what are some of the most grateful moments you had this year. And these can be extremely impactful. It can be someone saying something to you that you needed to hear in the moment, someone showing up, when you were rock bottom at your lowest, it could be a song that spoke to you, it could be an experience of a concert, or maybe you traveled somewhere that spoke to you, maybe it's your pet that really had such an impact on you this year. Maybe it's a new relationship or friendship that you developed, that you were more vulnerable in, maybe it's therapy and how much you've grown in therapy, as a result of you showing up for yourself and deciding I am going to break generational cycles. And maybe that you're grateful and feel joyful, that you're breaking cycles, you're breaking cycles of triangulation. Or maybe you're breaking cycles of emotional neglect, or anger issues. Maybe you're breaking the cycle on addictions or codependency, whatever that looks like for you write that down on maybe what you're grateful for that you're showing up and facing. You're facing these hard areas. The next question is, what were your growth or stretch areas. So my growth or stretch areas were, again, tying back to some of the other questions, but they all tie together is my ability to be present. I felt like I was much more present and putting down my phone. But I still could have been even more present. I think presence is the greatest gift you can get to another human being. And with my children, I'm very intentional, like I don't have my phone on I put it down in with my husband, I think we both can get on scrolling or getting off phones. And I want to be so much more intentional of putting my phone down when he walks through the door, hugging him right away. And this is a challenge I gave to some clients hug the person that you care about every time you see them. And I know sometimes hugs can be hard for people. And they're so important. They say we need at least seven hugs a day to have therapeutic impact. And so we are hug deprived, I hug my children often I like to hug my friends, my co workers. And if someone doesn't want to be hugged, ask permission. Would you like a hug? If they say no, that's okay. We don't want to just go out and hug someone if they're not comfortable with that. So what do you want? What are your growth and stretch areas? So again, mine is just continuing to be more present. I would like to write more scroll less, which should make that a slogan, right? More scroll less. I want to get off my phone, stop scrolling endlessly and do something that makes more of an impact. I'm just wasting time scrolling. It is one of the greatest addictions, I think now is our cell phones. And so I would like to break the cycle of scrolling. Okay, what are resentments? What are any resentments you need to heal? This is a big one, and one of the ones that blocks people from accessing joy and getting unstuck. So what resentments which our expectations are, that are not met, we can build resentment and their unhealed emotions that we didn't communicate or we didn't process so they can look like contempt, which is one of the four Apocalypse according to Dr. John Gottman that kills relationships is contentment. So what resentments do, you need to heal. And I think I've healed a lot of resentments. One in particular with my mother, who really suffered from feeling so not good enough. And it got projected on to my sister and I and I have forgiven her. I knew that she's had childhood stuff, because her father traveled all over the world. And to forgive someone and to recognize that their pain is not something you have to take on heal or fix has been a huge journey. So it doesn't mean that we're just completely free of it. It means we're at peace with it. We are more at peace with it. So are there any resentments you need to heal? And what are they? And what will it take to heal the resentments? Do you need to go to therapy? Do you need to do EMDR Eye Movement Desensitization reprocessing, maybe some brain spotting, those are two treatment modalities that can help you get unstuck with trauma treatment modalities. Maybe it's more of writing it out to get it out. Maybe you need to write a letter to the person you're trying to forgive doesn't mean you have to send it to them. What does forgiveness look like and it's a journey forgiveness. isn't just flip a switch. It is a journey of a tuning in nurturing and tenderly healing the pain that you've had from this person. So tend to your pain in order to heal your resentments. Okay, next question, What values do you want to use as your guidance for this next year, and mine are authenticity, truth, which means telling the truth about how you feel. So it's not people pleasing. It's loving kindness, but we are saying the truth of how you feel vulnerability. So authenticity, vulnerability and truth, and then my word would be impact for the year. So those are my values, you can type in or Google values, pick your top three, and use those as your guideposts when making decisions for 2024. What boundaries do you need to set? What do you need to say no to? What do you want to say more of yes to which might be you it might be exercise, it might be journaling, it might be spending more time with family and friends that might be more intentional about telling the people that you love them more often. What is it that you want to say yes to? And what is it you want to say no to and then give yourself permission to say no, right away, I've been doing this, it's hard. But so if you get an invitation to something, for example, and I know I'm just gonna be worn out this month, it's a lot with therapy clients, they have so much going on, I have a lot going on. I love this time of year, and it can bring up a lot for folks. So typically, I want to say no more so this month than I normally do. So give you my self permission to say thank you so much for the invitation. Unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to make it and then I'm not procrastinating or avoiding responding. If you're procrastinating or avoiding doing anything. This is one of the things I'm going to work on in 2024 is no more procrastination or avoidance. So it's giving myself permission to have a boundary. And I don't have to live with feeling guilty because I haven't like responded to the invitation. So what boundaries do you need to have more of maybe with some failure for this next year, maybe it's a family member, maybe it's you're not taking on as much and this new year, maybe you're gonna scale back what you're doing and refocus and re align with your values. And it might be more time with family, spending more presents with your kids, be more present with your kids. So look at your goals. That's the next thing. What are your goals for 2024. And I wrote out some kind of give you some ideas. But everybody's goals are different. And I don't look at goals as like I have to accomplish these goals, because I don't they're just reminders of what I want more in my life. That's it. They're just reminders of what do I want more? What do I want less of the goals just remind me and they kind of keep me on track of creating the life I want. So some of the goals I have are friendships, continued friendships that are deep, vulnerable and authentic. And that's going to be my intention, be more intentional with friendships, and reaching out. I've been so busy the last several years that it's time to make more room for friendships, presence with myself family, and my husband travel experiences, creating more travel experiences for the family, adding more joy and laughter and fun into my day to day life. I have joy, I have laughter but I'd like more of it, please. So I'm going to be more intentional about that this year. Again, being more intentional with the people in my life, telling them how much they mean to me how much I care and love them, text them, send them a card, send them a note, leave them a voice memo, call them up. I love voice memos. Those are great to send to people trust the process of life letting go the need to know the future, I am really releasing this need to know the future. It's a journey. I'm not sure I'll probably be a lifetime letting go of the outcome, accepting the as is but not trying to predict what happens next.

Kristen Boice

How many of us are trying to predict what happens next. And it literally tortures us. So instead, I'm going to give it up to God or the universe. However you want to hire power, not as a puppeteer as a support system, as a way of saying I trust that you've got me and I know I can't prevent things pain from happening. It can just know that I'm held in the midst of each moment. And then it will all be okay. Really exercise even more like do more walking in the next year. And I think keeping the house even more organized and getting rid of things like we have gotten into such a consumerism in this world. We are bye bye bye bye bye. We're inundated with what to buy the latest and greatest. And what if we just stopped behind all this stuff? I mean, in some people it isn't buying maybe it's food Dude, maybe it's alcohol, maybe it's gambling. Maybe it's something else that you really want to face and work through. But I'm not a big shopper. My mom was a big shopper. I just want to get organized and simplify like simplification. We don't need much in life we really don't. So it's about simplification and streamlining. And then faith, obviously prayer, spending time in reflection, and really leaning into that, whatever that looks like for you. But these are some of the things I just jotted down as I was doing some self reflection. What are your goals are things that you want more of in your life to be more intentional about? Like I love this right? More scrolled less? What does that look like for you? And that's the question when you're writing your goals out, what do you want more of in your life? What do you want less of? Maybe it's less conflict with family? Maybe it's less stuff? Maybe it's less alcohol, maybe it's less holding on to the past? Maybe it's feeling like you want less of chaos? And fill your schedule up? What does that look like? Kind of what are you letting go of and might be things and might be people it might be habits that it's time to face? What are you not facing that needs to be faced, and a lot of is comes from generational patterns that didn't get stopped. And now you have a chance to stop them. So what is it that you're going to face and really decide I'm going to take action towards? And there's so many more questions that we could go through? I mean, there's lots of reflection questions. And I really want to narrow it down to my top three. My top three are what did you learn about yourself? Last year, self awareness. Number two is what was your word? How did it serve you? And if you didn't have a word, what is your word going to be for 2024? And what are your growth and stretch areas? Like? Those are questions that I think all pertain to goals, those if we weathered the questions down, I think are the top three most important ones. And I just want to say I'm so proud of you for facing hard conversations, hurts and pains that have you've wanted to bury and maybe move away from maybe they were past traumatic experiences, such as abuse, neglect, emotional, physical, sexual abuse of any kind, or trauma that you've decided is not going to rule your life anymore, that you're going to face it, move through it and get to the other side of it, I see you, I'm so proud of you. And I want to say don't give up, it gets hard in the pain and we want to surrender or we want to give up. Maybe you're going through relationship challenges right now. And you feel lost and alone. And not sure where to turn. Just know that you are making a world of difference in your own life to break these patterns. And I always encourage people to look for support groups, and there's tons online. If you need a 12 step program, maybe you're working through codependency issues. We've done a lot of podcasts on codependency. There's a great support group called coda, codependent, Codependents Anonymous, maybe you're married to an addict for a long time, Al Anon is great. Or maybe you're struggling with an addiction of any kind. A is a great resource, grief share, if you're walking through grief, there's type in the issue of type support group after that, and there will come up lots of opportunities that are free of charge, or maybe a low cost support group yet support. Don't try to do this alone. It helps to have accountability from other people, such as a therapist, a coach, someone that a friend, a mentor, to let them know what you're working on. And I say if you can write in a journal, get a planner, get an organizer, start writing things out, it helps your brain process, metabolize what's going on in your body. And just know it's hard. Don't give up. Because there's so many times we want to give up we want to throw in the towel. This isn't about New Year New you This is about freeing yourself to be yourself. That's so much deeper in those things that cover us up, whether they're addictions, or maybe their habits and patterns or maybe their trauma from your past. That's really the bigger thing that keeps us stuck. We always set these things up. Like I want to lose weight, which is great. And oftentimes when we do the deeper work that comes along with it, like if you're doing the deeper emotional work, some of those addictions get faced and dealt with and family of origin work. And it's not to blame anybody of your past is to have self awareness. So I encourage you seek other people out that are on a growth journey. Please, this is so important. Encourage each other, support each other give each Counselor the encouragement that we all want and deserve and need when we're doing this growth work. So friendships that are rooted and other people growing and evolving, tend to grow together, just like couples that are doing work together, or they just have a growth mindset are willing to talk about the hard things they tend to do really well. Yes, they have pain and the ups and downs, but they can weather the storm. So I so appreciate you listening to this podcast, share this with someone that you would like to have conversations and you would like to reflect I know some people answer these questions. They put them in an envelope, and then they open them up the next year, like they did their self reflection. And then maybe with somebody they care about a friend or a partner, they open up the envelope and they look at what happened this year. What were their goals? How did they do? And I do the word of the year with a family. So I encourage you to do that with your family too. It's fun to reflect on. How was their word for this year. How was this year do some self reflection talk as a family? Lee's talk as a family? It's one of my biggest encouraging points to you talk with the people around you about meaningful things. Don't shy away from them. Even if you're like that's not my family, be the trailblazer. And if it doesn't go well, that's okay. At least you're trying to break generational cycles. So thank you for listening. I am encouraging you lifting you up cheering you on. If you need to hear this again, listen to it multiple times. And know that we can do this together hard things are part of our growth journey, and we will get through them. So thanks for listening and happy 2024 Thank you so much for listening to the close the chapter podcast. My hope is that you took home some actionable steps, along with motivation, inspiration and hope for making sustainable change in your life. If you enjoy this episode, click the subscribe button to be sure to get the updated episodes every week and share with a friend or family member. For more information about how to get connected visit kristendboice.com. Thanks and have a great day.