New year, new focus: Switching my people pleasing attention to me in 2023


We are three days into 2023 and… I’m keeping my expectations low. I got the coin in my slice of New Year’s bread this year, which is thought to bring a year of good luck, but the last time the coin was in my slice was going into 2020 and we all know how that went.

Already, this year has started off extra challenging with my 3 year old getting some flu-like virus. Poor guy has been feeling miserable to the point where he’s asking to be carried constantly, wants to be in my husband’s or my lap whenever he’s not being carried somewhere, and wants one of us to be next to him all night while he sleeps. Any time we are unable to meet these needs, he breaks down in tears. It’s heartbreaking to see him so unwell, and also exhausting.

Inhale. Exhale. This too shall pass.

Anyway.. a new year means a rejuvenation of energy and motivation towards setting and achieving goals. I prefer setting focus themes for the year and setting relevant smaller resolutions throughout the year. So that’s what I’m going to do.

In the last quarter of 2022, I started weekly therapy sessions, which really opened my eyes to how out of tune I’ve become with my own basic needs. My experiences from childhood into adulthood have made me feel like no one is listening to me, which has made me feel like I have nothing valid to say, which has caused me to stop listening to myself. Seriously. I’ve realized I frequently ignore and push through pangs of hunger, thirst, urges to urinate, and tiredness until I reach a point where I really can’t ignore it any more. Since I don’t even make my basic human needs a priority, forget about any luxuries that fall under “self-care”.

Initially, I thought my theme for the year would be to slow down but I wanted something a bit broader. I then made a list of things I most wanted to work on so that I could find a common thread that might connect them.

  1. Focus on the present
  2. Make room for joy
  3. Invite connection and collaboration
  4. Let go of all things beyond my control

My New Year’s focus theme for 2023? Start with me. I can’t control other people or many of my circumstances but there’s actually quite a bit within my control and it all has to do with me, my mindset, and my actions.

To live in the present, I need to learn to slow down, breathe, get curious about what’s happening around me, and in many cases, allow things to be without rushing to “fix” things.

To make room for joy, I need to recognize what brings me joy, reduce the noise and distractions, and actively create opportunities for me to experience these things I enjoy.

Inviting connection and collaboration means asking for help even when I technically could figure it out and do it myself. It means unlearning the idea that asking for help is placing a burden on others. While all of these things will require a big mental shift for me, I expect this one to be the hardest.

The reason I chose start with me and worded it as I did is because when I get stuck, when I feel overwhelmed or trapped, I want to remember before trying to change or react to my situation, to tune into myself. Start with me. What am I feeling? What need of mine isn’t being met? What’s one thing I can do right now to help meet that need?

What about you? What are your hopes and intentions for 2023?

3 responses to “New year, new focus: Switching my people pleasing attention to me in 2023”

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