I love this time of the year, when I am surrounded by family and loved ones; when everyone is in a good mood; when we all share good food and funny stories. It’s loud and busy, and can oftentimes become somewhat overwhelming too. This is why I believe it’s important to find time in those last days of the year to just be by yourself, to enjoy your own company and clear out your thoughts. It brings balance and serenity. I have never been too enthusiastic about New Years’ Resolutions as they are commonly described. I don’t believe that just because you say to yourself (or someone else) that you will start or stop doing something on January 1st, you will actually go through with it. The intention is good, but the work put in is not. It takes more than just a simple promise. What I find works for me better than simple resolutions are rituals. I find rituals can be somewhat transcendent, and can allow us to tap into our deeper emotions, thoughts and desires.
Rituals don’t need to be complicated. And they shouldn’t feel forced. When you create your own ritual that works for you, you will find that the simple act of doing the ritual will give you lots of satisfaction. Rituals are an excellent facilitator for building new (lasting) habits, which is the whole point of a resolution after all. Here are the four rituals that I have somehow unintentionally created for myself over the years. Now I do them with a lot of intention, and they help me process the year that has passed, release stored emotions and start the new year fresh and light. It is like a cleansing act, one that has proven to be of a great help for me over recent years.
1.Review the past year
I like to sit still in the last few days of the year and review it. I think about everything that has happened in those twelve months and try to see the events from an objective, and detached way. It is not always an easy exercise, but it helps tremendously to process everything that has happened and draw lessons from it. I write about the positive experiences and give myself credit where it is due. I write down the challenges, and the lessons they’ve taught me. Oftentimes I see a general pattern by doing this and can sometimes uncover the connections and purposes to particular events. These realizations always give me chills. I do this review in different ways – I write it all down on paper, and I talk about it with my husband. The talk is always helpful, but the writing is where the most cleansing happens for me. I just pour it all out, no judgment, no need to explain myself or to find an answer to why something went a certain way. It is just what it is.
2. Forgive and forget
Holding grudges and resentful feelings towards certain people are incredibly toxic emotions. In the end, having those feelings, and not being able to forgive someone burdens only us – the one that holds that emotion. I realize this and try to work on that a lot. Don’t get me wrong, I am no saint, and I am not saying I am good at this one. Far from it! But I am trying. Progress not perfection, right? So what I do is I say out loud to myself, that I forgive a certain person, or I reach out and say it directly. In the end there are always two sides to a story and both of them are right. What is important is to learn our lesson from the experience and move on. And if you can still be in a good relationship with someone after that lesson, than how great is this?! This way we can all start the new year with a less emotional baggage and more love in our hearts (cheesy but very true ;)).
3. Out with the old
I go through all my things and get rid of most things I haven’t used in the closing year. If I haven’t used it for twelve months, chances are I’ll never use it! So I give away clothes, shoes, household items etc, and throw away things that are broken or even things I was emotionally attached to but are no longer of any use for me. It is liberating and makes me feel lighter.
4. New Year Goals
This is in a way a new year resolution, but a broader one. I make myself a hot tea, and stay alone for an hour or two. I write down where I see myself in the new year and what I would like to achieve. I also write down how I will achieve this. It gives me direction, a clear goal and a plan for the next year. It helps me to direct my life towards my dreams, rather than just flow through the months without a plan. I find it this is a really powerful process, that can help transform ones life.
Do you have any New Year Rituals? I would love to know how you bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new one!
Wishing you a very happy New Year! May you be blessed with health, love and happiness in 2017!