My son turns three this month. While every mom feels the bittersweet pang of another year gone by for their littles, his birthday is always especially poignant.

Three years ago: January 2020. The same month (and, in fact, week) that COVID hit the U.S. My son’s beautiful birthday will forever be intermixed with a start to one of the most devastating periods of our collective lifetime. Thanks to the tireless work of many – healthcare heroes and frontline workers, top among them – we are emerging from the pandemic. I do question, however, how much we’ve arisen.

I asked my husband to go out for trivia with friends on Wednesday night, and he responded, “I don’t do anything during the week.”

I messaged a group of girlfriends to schedule a long overdue moms’ night out. The commitments were shaky at best, with promises for “in a few weeks” without a confirmed date.

I recently spoke to one of my long-time favorite extroverts who rarely leaves her house now, instead preferring the quiet of home.

Each New Year brings the opportunity for a new you along with it. Three years ago, kicked off a prolonged period of loss, isolation, and tragedy. But each year after that doesn’t have to look the same. We can lead ourselves and each other out of the loneliness we have found our way into. It starts with each of us committing to a truly new year.

  • 2023 can be the year of community – reconnecting with co-workers, friends, family members, and spouses.
  • 2023 can be the year of excitement – taking a big adventure, going on that long-awaited trip, and finally betting on yourself and that exciting goal you’ve had in mind.
  • 2023 can be the year of wholeness – remembering who you were, embracing who you’ve become, and shaping who you will be.

Sometimes being a leader means inspiring yourself first. When you’re inspired, you can inspire those around you. I worry we’re all a bit light on inspiration these days.

It’s a new year and a new you, friends. Let’s light our internal fires for community, excitement, and wholeness in the year ahead. And in doing so, let’s light others’ fires, too.

Angie Morgan and Courtney Lynch are Lead Star’s co-founders, leadership coaches, and the bestselling authors of SPARKLeading from the Front, and Bet on You. They help professionals reach new levels of success through their innovative coaching program, Year to Rise.