I’ve never been one to create New Year’s resolutions. It just seemed like the thing people do in theory not fully in practice. Maybe they stick with it at first but 3 weeks or a month down the road they are back to their old ways. Something about it always seemed inauthentic to me and somewhat forced. Usually like a burden people take on because they feel it is something they HAVE to do which makes it more difficult to maintain for the long term. Think about it. If you add yet another thing to your ‘to do’ list, you’re more likely to create a feeling of stress around it because it’s something else you have to get to or check off the list. As opposed to actually creating a practice that you feel good about and you WANT to maintain because you enjoy it and it makes you feel good.
As I mentioned in previous posts, throughout this journey of self-discovery and personal development, I’ve discovered many transformational and useful tools that have guided me along the way. A key part of that was working with a few different coaches that helped me step up my game and push me to the next level. So as we approach the end of the year, it’s the perfect time to share with you a ritual I began last year to close out the year in reflection and begin the next with solid intentions (vs. your traditional resolutions).
~YEAR-END WRAP UP~
This exercise is about looking back and reflecting on the past year. Think of it as your ‘Year in Review’. It’s pretty simple but does require you to dedicate some quiet time and put some thought into it to really get the full effect. Around this time of year people are usually deep into the holiday hustle and bustle, but for me I love to take a break from it all and sit in reflection of highlights from the year. To help with this process, take a piece of paper and write down all the months of the year starting with January 2014 leaving space to free write after each month. Basically, as you begin at January, think back to this time a year ago as we approached the end of the year and welcomed in 2014.
What was going on for you at that time? Any major life events that have occurred, trips you had taken, workshops you attended? What was going on with your relationships with friends, family, loved ones? I like to think of it more as a highlight reel. Jot down the main highlights, activities, challenges, accomplishments, even a few adjectives to describe your state of mind. If it helps, you can pull up your calendar to remind you of different things that were happening around that time. Repeat for each month until you get to the current month. If you really start feeling it, maybe you want to get even more creative -- use colored markers, crayons, stickers, paint, draw, anything you want -- make it your own, whatever that means to you!
After you have gone through all 12 months, you may be overcome with various emotions. Just let yourself feel those emotions and embrace all that you have been through. After I get through the writing part, I like to go back to re-read and reflect on each month once again to really let it all sink in. If you want, you can take a break and go back to it a few days later and reflect on your amazing year in review (totally up to you and what feels right).
Going through this exercise gives you the opportunity to put conscious thought into all the different significant moments that popped up for you. Allowing you to feel the feelings, take it all in and release anything that is holding you back or maybe you decide there is something you need to put more emphasis on which provides the foundation for the next step of intention setting.
This is a very grounding and enlightening process for me. It helps provide clarity around what I’ve been through and what I want to focus on in the coming year. Not in terms of resolutions but real solid intentions, goals and desires that will continue to elevate my experiences. There isn’t any pressure or specific time limit as there usually are with New Year’s resolutions. It’s more about setting yourself up for the life you want to create, nurture and continue to grow with. These intentions will support and remind you of where you want to be as the year moves forward. You’ll start to make decisions based on these intentions. In my experience, when something doesn’t align with my core desires, I intuitively start to weed out what is important to me, where I want to spend my time and who I want to spend my time with. If it doesn’t feel right, I gracefully decline and continue to focus on experiences that support my intentions.
Make a list of intentions that you really want to bring to life in the next year. Have fun and really dig deep. If it helps you can also break it down into categories: career, personal finances, health/wellness, fitness, relationships, etc. Don’t think of it as too specific (i.e. lose 10 pounds in 1 month). It is more about what you are looking to expand upon and wholeheartedly bring into your life to open yourself up to a more empowered way of living. You’ll be amazed with how it all plays out when you do this exercise at the end of next year!
~CREATE YOUR PERSONAL MANTRA~
The last thing I’ll leave with you is another amazing tool I learned working directly with Bryan Reeves, a life breakthrough coach. I recommend doing this maybe a week or two after the year-end review and intention setting exercise just to let yourself process it all and also to be sure you’re energetically ready to take on this incredible assignment. It’s all about creating your personal mantra or life theme each year.
Think of it as a guiding principle, or a personal tagline that will motivate you to keep pushing harder and aiming higher. It doesn't have to be long, 5 words at the most. It's a short yet powerful statement that exemplifies all your intentions, giving them energy and meaning, making them more tangible by bringing them to life in one empowering sentence. Check out Bryan's video to see his process and allow the magic to take shape.
FUN FACT: My personal mantra for 2014 was “Believe in Miracles”, which was the meaning behind my foot tattoo. Obviously you don’t have to go that far, but it was very meaningful for me and I must say this has been a year filled with unexpected miracles. Can’t wait to come up with my new mantra in January!
As you may be able to tell, this stuff really gets me excited. I would love for you to join me in adopting any or all of the above tools that I have incorporated into my year-end wrap up and New Year prep rituals. If you do, please come back over and let me know how it went and what you discovered. Maybe you have a different or new take or maybe you have a completely separate approach you would like to share. No holding back, would love for you to leave a comment.
So excited to see what 2015 has in store for us all!
Until next month…
Bursting with excitement,