January 28th 2024

Easing into the New Year

Towards the end of 2023 I was asked by some friends and clients about new year resolutions, 2024 goals and what my vision board looked like for the incoming 12 months.

Comments like “how are you going to top this year”, “where’s the next stop for The Wellbeing Pathway”, “you can’t take your foot of the pedal now” and “what a way to end the year” bounced around in conversations in my real and virtual world.

The related dopamine hit massaged my ego, and initially I could feel excitement rise at the possibilities and opportunities still untapped for me and my business.

As I reflected though, I wondered was it really excitement? Was it about living life on my terms or was I supporting my pleaser saboteur, reacting to the expectations of others that had previously resulted in plans that didn’t always align to my values and the path that was right for me.


Also towards the end of 2023, I completed an accredited Breathe, Laugh & Relax training course, underpinned by somatic experiences and the power of our mind and body connections. This was a gamechanger for me.

breathe laugh and relax

During the training we were invited to become more curious about our thoughts, feelings and behaviours; how our nervous systems work in cycles and the power of our senses in understanding our responses and reactions to stress and trauma.

Although I was already using some of these approaches in my coaching, facilitation and wellbeing programmes, a deeper understanding and the embedding of experiential learning, further supported how I sat with things, really listening to and respecting my intuition and decision-making processes.

December had been a busy month with coaching clients, programme delivery and a trip to New York, where I’d spent some time in studio conversations with one of my TEDxDownpatrick speakers Jim Frawley. He is one of the most intelligent, articulate and genuinely curious people that I know. His commitment to lifelong learning, reading and philosophy is off the scale, but he is also down to earth and values the simple things in life. Spending time with Jim presented me with a gift that reinforced the value of asking good questions and thinking about what matters to me. I put the out-of-office on, shut down the laptop and started my Christmas break on the 18th of December.

With a busy internal dialogue in the run up to the busy festive season, I made a conscious decision to embrace the power of pause and think about I really wanted 2024 and beyond to look like. Easing into the new year seemed like a good way to start. There is a growing evidence base around the power of pause for clarity and setting intentions as opposed to resolutions to support our wellbeing.

remember the power of pause

Positive Psychology suggests that our goals shouldn't feel like punishments. If we are constantly tracking, reflecting, re-prioritising, adjusting, and strategising, a goal or a resolution meant to improve our life may begin to feel like tedious work.

Setting intentions allows for more ease and play. We have more freedom to experiment and discover what actually feels good for us. When we are enjoying something, we are much more likely to stick with it and to create habits that will last for life.

So how am I easing into the new year as January says goodbye? I’m talking a VIP approach:

Values - I’ve checked in around my values, taking time to explore the ‘why’ that sits behind my choices, how I lived those values last year, and how I will do better in this one. It is true that when we have a clear sense of purpose and direction, acting in line with our values, then we are more likely to build resilience and stay on course even in challenging times.

Impact - I’ve reflected on the difference that I am making through my business and how I life my life. In The Wellbeing Pathway, our mission is to inspire wellbeing in the places where we live, work and play. Formal evaluations, informal feedback, reports, social media interactions all help to highlight positive change and learning but it is in the meaningful human connections and reactions where I can see and feel the impact and I want to keep that focus.

People – I’ve taken time to think of how I’ve loved, lost, gained and grown across relationships with the people in my life. I feel liberated in letting some people go, inviting others into my life and staying curious about new connections. I’ve accepted and let be some of the decisions made by others that are difficult to understand, and I am committed to keeping my heart and mind open to everyone that I meet this year.

What has this meant?

  • Improved confidence about my decision-making skills and future plans
  • A relaxed start to 2024 with an ability to feel and think through the noise & drama
  • Plenty of time outside, always learning from the seasonal changes in mother nature
  • New opportunities for business and personal connections, without pressure
  • Laughter, love and learning more about courage and creativity
  • Excitement about what’s to come alongside enjoyment of what’s here and now
  • Time to give back within and across my community

I feel happier, calmer, fresher and so grateful for all of the gifts in my life and how I can continue to play a part in making this world a better place for all. Yes, the vision board for 2024 is underway, clients are booked in and travel plans are shaping up but it’s happening with openness, peace and recognition of the value in flexibility to adapt and grow in an ever changing world.

I’ll leave you with a quote from the aforementioned Jim Frawley

“When we succeed in cutting through the noise and bullshit, we open ourselves up to meaningful discover and vulnerability. I really believe that we are all capable of amazing things – and this is what I’ve always wanted to create”.

Wishing you all a peaceful, healthier and happier 2024!

Catherine Murnin

The Wellbeing Pathway Founder