How to Create Your Compass and Find More Joy in the New Year

Jan 11, 2023 | Design Your Life | 1 comment

The New Year can be a fresh start. It can also be a lot of pressure to declutter and organize, lose weight, build your business, get a new job, set audacious goals and improve yourself. We all know what happens to most resolutions. Even goals and plans can feel more like something we have to strive for. 

You don’t have to push so hard

What if instead of focusing on what you will do this year, you focused on what would bring you joy? 

You can let positive ideas pull you forward. You can listen to what’s calling you right now. You can set up inspiration for yourself. You can create a compass that helps you stay the course (or get back on) even when things are hard. 

Create Your Compass

I create a visual compass for myself to make sure I keep the things that matter most at the forefront. I hang by my desk so that I can use it to stay focused on what I value and what creates joy. 

The main parts are: 

  • A guiding word for the year (or quarter)
  • What the word means to me
  • Values that resonate
  • Tools and reminders 

My compass for 2023 looks like this:

Start with your guiding word, it is your inspiration. This year I chose CONNECTION as my word as I want to deepen my friendships and also connect more deeply with what I value. 

Knowing your values is the next step. Our values usually stay mostly the same, but often their individual importance can shift for a time and then shift again. What words would you use for your values?

If you aren’t sure what your values are or haven’t revisited your values recently, that’s a great place to start. (My free 3 Steps to Having a Meaningful Life You Love can help you identify top values.) Then journal about what you want from the new year … including how you want to feel. Play with words that lead you to what you want out of the year. Have fun with this process. Choose a word that inspires you. 

Then go a little deeper into your guiding word with this prompt: I will feel (your word) by (doing…).

You can list other values and inspiration at the top of the page. At the bottom, list tools that can help you — like mindfulness or getting into nature or setting boundaries. It’s your compass. What will point you in the right direction? 

Add images that help you remember your intention and how you want to feel. 

Finally, don’t forget to USE your compass!

More Ways to Set Your Compass for Joy in the New Year


Here are some other things that can help you set your compass for joy. Knowing these things helps you stay on course:

  • What makes you feel alive – energized and engaged
  • What values support those activities
  • How you want to feel

To get clear on those answers, use the journaling prompts below. 

Journaling Prompts

  • What do I want more of and less of in my life?
  • How do I want to feel? 
  • When did I last feel that way? 
  • What brings me joy? 
  • I’m most energized when …

When you are setting your compass, you aren’t mapping out every step. You’re pointing yourself in the right direction and creating a tool that you can use anytime to get back on track. 

Wishing you joy and a great start to 2023.

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1 Comment

  1. Gail Braverman

    Melanie I am “starting over” in a huge transition in my life and am finding your email most comforting this morning at this exact moment in my life.
    It is interesting that no matter what you know intellectually, when you are in the emotions of a change, the intellect is not what you need. It is faith, heart, and words of hope like yours this morning.

    Blessings to you for reminding me about hope and joy and inspiration in the New Year. May 2024 be a beautiful and meaningful one for you.


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Hi, I’m Melanie!

I’m a Journaling and Joy Coach and I believe your story is the key to the life you want.

I guide my clients through intentional processes to find the answers waiting for you in your stories, bringing compassion, deep listening — and fun — to the process.

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