Tired of that New Year's new me mentality? Valuing reflection

This past week you have sat in one of the following camps or met someone from one of the following. You know the person I am talking about. Perhaps you are or have been the person I am talking about. I know someone very well who has been there, jaded and fed up the last few years. How do you know the type I am talking about? How do you know you are one or have been?


“Here comes the new year, near me rubbish! I am so over it”. In one sentence, I am sure you now have all the questions answered that were running through your mind. Now to be clear this is not about taking away from anyone who feels this way. Many have been at that point for good reason. Internal promises to improve health, give up smoking and finally book that trip of a lifetime! Unfortunately by February most have not followed through and have given up thinking about change. 

Today I am not here to judge or discuss anyone's feelings towards New Year's resolutions. Whether you have made life-sustaining changes or do not engage at all. I want to provoke a thought experiment around what I consider to be a good and solid practice at this time of year. Why I feel New Year gets a bad rap and provide a simple approach to reflection. Allowing you to assess where you are currently and find the gap between where you want to be. This can be material possessions, habits, health or in a relationship or goals.


Self-reflection can be undertaken any time of year, however, the changing of one year to another is a natural segue into self-reflection. We can use this as a timely reminder to be introspective and self analyse and raise our awareness so we have the conscious direction to our inner and outer worlds.

In motivational interviewing, a technique called DARN is used and can be applied to any area of your life. So if you have been suffering from low mood for some time as an example you could go through the following questions and make these personal to you as an individual.

Desire questions – What I would like, wish, or want to do? 

Improve my mood slightly a day at a time.

Ability questions – Capturing the idea that change is possible. What areas have I achieved successful change in the past? Do I need to accept the situation as it is or can I change this?

E.g. I became confident driving on the motorway.

Reasons questions – Recognizing the reasons for change. Contrary to popular belief negative emotions and feelings can lead to action rather than positive emotions.

E.g. I avoid events and feel low daily, which increases over time, leading to less confidence.

What will happen if I do not address this now? How negative would continuing to neglect an area be to my happiness and well-being?

E.g. continuing to neglect this area means I am depending on a spiral of loneliness and ever-increasing negative thoughts and feelings.

Need questions – Identifying the urgency of the change. What are the consequences both positive and negative?

E.g. I need to connect with people to feel sense of purpose and self-worth.

Self-reflection allows having some sense of certainty and purpose in our actions. Greater self-awareness allows finding the link between our feelings, emotions and actions. Once we address an area we would like to change and understand the thoughts, feelings and desires around this we can move forward to begin making small changes. These could include speaking to a GP, counsellor, friends or taking a 10-minute walk daily in nature.

The action steps are unique to the individual. I will soon release an article on creating your own mental health routine.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Basingstoke RG24 & RG21
Written by Nathan Hipple, (MBACP) Dip. Couns
Basingstoke RG24 & RG21

I am an integrative therapist after working 8 years across various mental health positions within the homeless sector and NHS.

During those years I gained extensive experience of working with anxiety, depression addiction and stress. I believe through a trusting relationship healing can begin.

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