Rituals To Begin Your New Year
Currently, I’m with my family in New Brunswick and it is minus 30 degrees outside. Mid-afternoon, we bundled up and went outside to stand by a fire and say goodbye to 2017. We each held a piece of paper with a list of things to release into the fire. Good and bad. We watched our lists go up in flames.
It’s the first time I’ve done this specific ritual. I loved it because it gave me a chance to honour the last year and symbolically create more space for things to come.
Here are three exercises to help you set the stage for a more joyful and fulfilling year ahead.
1. GET EXCITED
Most of us don’t spend enough time thinking about what makes us happy (let alone doing it!). Even when we are daydreaming, we are often focused on what needs ‘fixing.’
So, right now, I want you to focus on what makes you feel the best. If anything is possible, what would be most exciting for you to do or be or become? You know that feeling when you love life the most? When you feel most alive? We are going for that.
Get a blank piece of paper and title it Exciting Ideas (Go get it now. I’ll wait…).
Create a list of 50 things / ideas/ concepts/ plans/ wishes/ desires that would make you feel truly excited next year.
Here’s the trick: Don’t restrict yourself to things that feel ‘attainable’ or ‘realistic.’ This exercise is about being fun and playful, and designed to strengthen your creativity and optimism - two qualities at the heart of goal setting and dream catching.
When you re-read your list, you may feel your heart flutter: “is this really possible for me?” What if I told you it’s all possible?
Now look at your New Year calendar: empty space that can be filled with any of your exciting plans, words, and ideas.
See the magic in that?
When I did this exercise today, I surprised myself by writing that I want to own a house in the country. I want to homeschool my kids and travel the world for a year. I want to be an amazing tango dancer.
I am not sure how any of these things are going to happen. Not the point. The point is the possibility. It’s exhilarating!
2. GET CREATIVE
Snap out of auto-pilot and remember that no matter your profession, you’re a creative being. You’re the creator of your life.
What do you want to create for yourself, your family and the world in 2018?
Here is a list of 10 categories to consider:
Personal development / spirituality
For each of these areas, articulate 1-3 things you’d love to create next year.
Here’s the trick: Carry over the excitement from the first exercise! Don’t be shy, don’t be afraid to stretch or surprise yourself and don’t be fussed about trying to be correct.
Activate your creativity muscles (yes, they are muscles).
Send a clear message to yourself and 2018 that you have some big plans and ideas.
3. Let Go of Last Year
I mean, last year is so…. last year! The act of releasing and creating new, empty space makes anything feel possible.
Write a list of what 2017 meant to you
How did it amaze you?
How did you amaze yourself?
What habits or beliefs do you plan to leave behind?
What existing or new habits or beliefs do you plan to bring with you into the new year?
Once you have the list, I want you to let it go! You can close your eyes and envision releasing your list up to the clouds. Or crumple it up and put it in the recycle bin. Or shred it. Or make a paper airplane and send it flying. If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace or fire pit, burn it, like I did.