New beginnings

Hope Hospital opening day back in 2017



I love a good New Year’s celebration. It might seem cheesy, but I relish marking the letting-go of the old and welcoming in the new. Having said that, I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. It seems they often do the exact opposite of their purpose; or perhaps it’s only me who never failed to screw them up year in, year out.

Let’s see if this sounds familiar: 

You think, “what don’t I like about myself that I need to change”? A torrent of ideas to improve yourself come to mind, but eventually, you manage to narrow your options to one thing. ‘Right, that’s it. This is the year I am….… because……. and it’s about time I sorted myself out.’

For me, for many years, this resolution was to stop smoking and here’s where the recipe for failure comes in.


1. We guilt or shame ourselves into change
2. We mistake this desire, combined with feelings of low self-worth, as being sufficient grounds for change and fail to do the mental groundwork we need to also change our attitude and therefore our behaviour
3. We go into it either with ready-made insults to sling at ourselves if we fail or we attempt to bribe our way to success. ‘I’ll put a pound in a piggie bank each time I resist then buy a fancy pair of shoes as a present to myself”.


Furthermore, we convince ourselves that the 1st of January doesn’t actually count as it’s technically still part of the New Year celebrations, et voila, another resolution doomed.


So I stopped doing this four years ago. Now when I think New Year, I think bigger and broader; I think fresh energy, shedding the old, letting go, lightening the load. I think of regeneration - renewal. A new beginning.

My thought process now goes more like this:


1. What’s going into my fertiliser pot?

This is usually a pain, a sadness, a regret, a bad habit or an internal story that I want to simultaneously focus my awareness on but recognise it’s no longer serving me and it’s time it went into my fertiliser pot; put with other life lessons that need to be allowed to rot away and in doing so, feed my growth. It’s key to do this with kindness as this is about acceptance, forgiveness, assimilation and the intention to move on. This is the release and when we do it with heart, it feels so good. We enter the year lighter. 

2. What do I want to co-create? What do I want to be more like this year? How do I want to show up this year?

What does a higher, elevated version of myself look like this year? What particular qualities do I want to cultivate in myself?
How will the new, fresh me be with my family, friends, community or as a global citizen?

It could also be a dream, an aspiration that I have for this year. The more clear we are about this, the more we can visualise this positive self/world and the better we are able to apply it to the service of others, the more uplifting this feels and the more likely it is to come alive. This is the energising bit when you feel awash with possibilities, your imagination on fire. You gleefully rub your hands together with a glint in your eyes. Positive energy driving you forward.

3. What resistance or blocks may/will come up and what will be helpful ingredients to enable me on this journey?

From my humble experience, I’ve found that we all too often focus on external circumstances not realising that most of the time we are inadvertently acting as our own worst enemies.

Our self-limiting beliefs make the biggest difference to our mindset and the energy with which we go forth on our intended new beginning. I have found it essential to absolutely believe that whatever you desire is possible, to trust in the universe and yourself. That you can achieve it or even something better than you have imagined.

We often block ourselves by either having a sense that we are not worthy or good enough. Recognise your blockage and thank it for raising this issue, make peace with it and release it - into the fertiliser pot! Finally, call upon your strengths and support networks, drop your shoulders, smile AND set the intention full-heartedly. Make your fresh start. Even if you start again every day, start!


I am happy to say that I am now a non-smoker. It took several weeks of working on my mindset to amend my internal stories before I was able to change my behaviour. This new year not only have I renewed my intention to be a responsible and caring global citizen working to better humanity in my own little way, but I am also mega excited about my soon-to-be very new beginning, becoming a mother. 

Happy New Year, all. May we all have the grace to accept with serenity that which can’t be changed, the courage to change that which can be changed and the wisdom to know the difference.


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About Dr Rola Hallam

CanDo's Founder & CEO. A consultant anaesthetist who has worked for 14 years in global health. Loves the diversity of humankind and has a deep sense of interconnectedness - with that rare ability to connect with, and accept all people.