This season usually comes with an overwhelming desire for renovation. It may be the only time of year we focus on home improvement. We discard old, unused or expired items, paint, upholster and rearrange furniture, or finally fix that lousy leak.

Most Jamaicans spend a large part of November and December improving their homes.

That’s commendable, but we often ignore what really matters. The part of this tradition that is truly inspirational is the idea of starting the year “fresh”, except that this freshness seems to stop at the external. 

We suggest you carry that desire for freshness into your personal life this year, and clean house. Not sure how to? It’s just like cleaning your home, just apply the same tasks to your life. Let’s start with: 



Bertrand Russell once said, “It is the preoccupation with possession, more than anything else, that prevents men from living freely and nobly.”

The principle of de-cluttering requires that differentiate what is needed from what is wanted. Start with your material desires. Do you really need that new phone, or do you only want it? Knowing the difference can remove a huge layer of stress. Many of us drive our monthly expenses up with optional things just to keep up appearances, inviting mental anguish. Let go of what you want if it will put you in unnecessary debt.

Apply the same thinking to emotional and mental aspects of your life: was I reasonable in reacting that way, or was I just trying to hurt someone more? Am I holding on to the past for protection, or out of fear? These questions can help you get a clearer understanding of yourself and more self-control.

Next, clean out your phone. All those unused phone numbers and texts from your ex are ghosts that will hold you down. Delete messages from people you are no longer in contact with and contacts you have not used in the last six months. Then begin to cultivate and maintain consistent relationships throughout the year with people you believe that are assets to your life.


Rearrange your priorities

We rearrange our homes to “change the energy” in hopes of unblocking or inviting what is new and better. We should reassess our priorities in the same way. Maybe this year you were so focused on your career that your family suffered. Or, you were too focused on socializing that your education suffered. All you need to do is look back at the year and identify your failures then simply make adjustments. If your goal is to make the Dean’s List next year, then perhaps limiting social outings to weekends may be the right strategy. If you want to improve your family life, take on less at work. What is important is that you know what you want, value those things in your life and take steps to achieve or keep them.

Rearrangement doesn’t stop at your career. Perhaps there was something this year in your personal life that made you reconsider your relationships. Rearranging the position people play in your life and the amount of attention you give them is completely fair and can help reduce the stress and drama you endure. 


Make Additions

Was there something new you tried this year that you really enjoyed? Did you start exercising or practicing a faith? Perhaps, you had an encounter with someone that pleasantly surprised you. Did you begin learning to play an instrument? Whatever the case, adding something new to your routine next year is a useful and healthy way to aid your personal growth.

Fixing Leaks

Leaks are tiny, but they add up. We tend to ignore them until they manifest into larger more threatening problems. In our lives, leaks are our passive-aggressive tendencies or our unexpressed emotions that we try to suppress but that often come out in unrelated areas of our lives. We ignore them until they manifest into something much more severe such as addictions or fits of violence. 

Fix all leaks for the New Year simply by telling people how you truly feel. Whatever has been bothering you for some time now you let go because it is vital for your personal growth. Maybe it’s letting someone know they disrespected you or addressing a bad habit in your partner. You need to let them know how you feel. You don’t have to be disrespectful, just communicate their offenses and how these have affected you. Holding on to unpleasant emotions does not hurt anyone but you. 

Neglecting the state of your life is easy, especially if other things seem to be functioning. Don’t let that happen to you. This holiday season as you renovate your homes, take some time to make some changes to your personal life. Set yourself free in 2019!