New Year is all about resolutions, but before we bound into it, we should probably take some time to reflect – take stock, learn lessons, and let go.
We all absorb, approach, and do things differently. You might be the kind of person who has kept a beautiful leather-bound diary a la Samuel Pepys, you may have a colour coded goals chart on your wall, you may have just about got through each day and thought no more about it. Whoever you are, I have three simple questions to ask you. You’ll need a pen and paper at least, but feel free to get out your highlighters, paints and clippings, a la Moyra Scott, if you want to make this Year in Review a work of art. In any case, consider this a ritual.
1. What am I proud of?
Did you have to rethink and pivot your entire business? Did you have to adapt to enormous personal life changes? Did you have to work your socks off every single day, feeling like everyone else was in bed watching Netflix? Did you help someone out or simply find a way to cope yourself?
My running coach always talks about the pride we have in our friends and family, compared to the derision we meet ourselves with. It’s important to sit down and think about these things because for most of us, they don’t come naturally and integrate into our thought patterns. Taking stock of the things we are proud of, helps us to build self worth. It’s also interesting to take note of what comes to mind when we think about this question. It might provide an extra clue to what drives you and perhaps how you can manifest more of whatever that is, in the year to come.
2. What mistakes did I make, and what lessons can I learn from them?
Our mistakes make us. Not only do we learn from them in a simplistic sense – ‘Well, I won’t do that again!’ but they also shape our character and build our resilience. The way in which we confront problems in our lives, changes as we grow older. This wisdom doesn’t simply come with maturity, it comes as a result of having faltered, wobbled, and regained strength and resolve. This isn’t always easy, but every blow forms a callous. And every callous gives us protection – ready for the next thing.
I always used to marvel at my grandmother’s patience. When the chips were down, and everyone around her was being insufferable, she sat calmly and rarely spoke in anger or frustration. She had had a difficult life – I think that was the reason for her excellent character. So, without getting down on yourself, make a list of all the mistakes you made this year – big and small – then, try making mini spider diagrams around each mistake with all the things you learned / all the good things that came as a result. You might end up wanting to make some more mistakes next year. Enjoy!
3. What am I letting go of?
Ah, the hardest thing of all. So much of our suffering seems to come from holding on to things that either no longer, or never served us. Its difficult to let go of an actual thing, but even harder to let go of those ethereal ghosts that seem to haunt us and have us repeat our patterns again and again (while I’m on the subject of patterns, this is a gorgeous collection of poetry around that idea). Perhaps you have anger or disappointment pent up that’s holding you back in your work or personal life. Perhaps emotional pain and trauma. The recognition of these blockages, and the decision to let them go is half the battle. The other half of the battle might take time, and work. Even so, the end of an old year and the beginning of a new one might give you that extra bit of magic you need.
So try this: Write it down, fold it up, and burn it in ceremony. Take a deep breath as you watch it disappear into the ether, and see if maybe this time you can just let it go.
We’ll see you on the other side! Whatever next year throws, we’ll be here to catch you – providing the inspiration, resources and community you need, for a prosperous new year. If you want to start thinking about resolutions in the meantime, why not have a look back at our blogs on journalling and making space to get the cogs turning!
We always love to hear from you – so please do share your thoughts and insights in the comments below.