An alternative to New Year’s resolutions

Published on Dec 29, 2022

Katarina Stoltz Coaching and Therapy lying on the floor with her hands above her head in a brown top

At the end of the year there is a pressure to set New Year’s resolutions to ensure that next year will be the best year yet. We want to exercise more, lose weight, get organised, learn a new hobby and live life to the fullest. I like to end the year differently. 

I’m sharing with you my tips for an alternative to New Year’s resolutions and why I think reflecting on the past year is beneficial for personal development. 

Celebrating another year

Another crazy year is coming to an end. It’s one of my favourite times of the year and I always take a moment to reflect and celebrate. 

I hear you thinking ‘What is there to celebrate? I didn’t achieve what I wanted to’. That’s OK! Me neither!  

When we only celebrate big achievements and times when we feel great, we’re telling ourselves that we’re not worthy if we didn’t achieve our goals or were feeling low.  

One year might be the year we felt mostly depressed.  

One year might be the year we had a lot of energy and inspiration. 

One year might have felt like a rollercoaster of events and emotions. 

One year might have been calm and quiet. 

What if we started celebrating who we are right now and what we have achieved up until now?!  

It’s time to be honest

What’s most important is that we’re being honest to ourselves; ‘this year sucked!’, ‘this year I regret that I wasn’t nicer to my kids’, ‘this year I forgot to pay attention to my health as I was afraid of losing my job, so I worked like crazy’ or ‘this year I wished that I set more boundaries’. 

The best way to finish off a year is by being brutally honest and acknowledging how it actually was. Letting go of trying to tell another flattering version of our lives. Making a decision to either forgive ourselves or someone else. 

I forgive myself for my lack of patience while dealing with my daughter’s preteen behaviour. What can you forgive yourself for? 

We’re so good at looking at what’s lacking in our lives and what we can do better that we forget to celebrate what we already are. You wouldn’t tell your best friend all the things she could do better, right? It’s time to be a bit kinder to yourself too. 

Let’s start right now. 

How did you show up this year? How would you describe yourself this year with one word? 

My word would be: CURIOUS. 

Looking back, this year has been one of the hardest years in my adult life; living with the aftermath of the pandemic has been more challenging than dealing with emergencies under lockdown. 

In the past, when I didn’t want to feel, my go-to place was work or going through my to-do list. These things saved me from feeling uncomfortable emotions.  

But as we all know, the unresolved stuff always comes back in some shape or form.  

This year I decided to be compassionate-curious about myself. Curious about all the heavy stuff that was buried under the surface of ‘I’m fine’. 

Yes, as a personal development junkie I have of course been curious and worked on myself for years, but this year I decided to discover myself on an even deeper level, on my own. 

I have had the tendency to dive deep into therapy and coaching sessions, retreats, training sessions, and women’s circles. 

But when leaving the therapist, coach or group, I very often closed the door to the exploration into the unknown. 

I didn’t want to sit alone with it all. 

It was a scary place. 

‘How do you sit with whatever you are feeling?’ is a common question I hear from my clients. 

There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer. For some, meditation helps, for others journaling, or being in nature. We have to figure it out by trying different things. 

Questions to help you reflect on the past year

At the end of one year and the beginning of another,  it’s easy to bypass how the past year was and how we’re feeling right now. All the marketing around ‘the new you’ and ‘new year’s resolutions’ focus on the future. 

It’s valuable to have a vision and goals for your future but when we only focus on the future, we’re kind of telling ourselves that we’re not good enough as we are right now. 

No wonder so many never feel good enough! We’re obsessing about what to do differently, setting future goals, finding our life purpose and all that anxiety-inducing stuff. 

This year I invite you to journal around these questions: 

What was the highlight of the year? 

What was the hardest part? 

What did I want to do, but didn’t dare? 

What haven’t I been honest about? 

What do I need to forgive myself for? 

Who do I need to apologise to? 

What kept me awake at night? 

What am I grateful for? 

Block out some time, pour your favourite cup of tea, get cosy with a blanket and create this year-end ritual to honour the way you showed up in this world. 

I hope this helps you to feel free to be you, give space for grief and fully own who you are. 




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I’m Katarina

Welcome to my blog, where I share real-life stories and offer valuable and practical tips for how to achieve fulfillment without burning out.

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