Released on 03rd January 2020
Every year, I go through a simple process to ‘close’ the year gone by and to embrace the new year. This year I thought it might be fun to do it for the whole decade, but if that seems a bit much, you can just do this for the year.
It’s a nice way of checking in with yourself and taking stock of the past year, future possibilities, and the present moment. The process is called “Closing the year”, and it’s a simple ritual that will help you to go into the new year with maximum energy. Spend 5 to 10 minutes doing each of the following steps:
1. Brainstorm all the things you’ve accomplished this year/decade, the memorable experiences you’ve had, and everything you’re grateful for. Spend a few minutes writing a list of everything you’ve managed to achieve.
2. Next, brainstorm the things you no longer want in your life; make a list of the things you’d like to leave behind. We all have things in our lives that are past their ‘use by’ date. Physical objects, unhelpful habits, limiting beliefs, thought patterns that hurt, people we wish to no longer spend time with, etc.
3. Think about your dreams for the future. What do you want to bring into your life? What experiences would you like to enjoy? What new skills would you like to learn? What would you like to do? What would you like to explore more deeply? How would you like to be?
Make notes, draw a picture or speak into a recording device to help you remember your dreams. Spend as long as you like dreaming about the future you desire. If you don’t know what you want, you can ask yourself the ‘miracle question’:
If there were a miracle in the night, and when you woke up tomorrow, everything in your life was exactly the way you’d like it to be, how would you know there’d been a miracle? What would you see, feel, and hear that would let you know a miracle had taken place?
4. Brainstorm the things you’d like to bring into your life. What are the things, experiences, qualities, and ways of being you’d like to experience more of in the future?
Make a list of these. They can be quite general: Spend more time with family? Get fitter? Enjoy earning more money? Spend more time in the present moment? List the things you’d like to experience more of in your life.
5. Make a list of any goals for the year/decade ahead. What would you like to accomplish? What would you like to learn? What would you like to get? Who would you like to meet? If nothing comes to mind, that’s OK. This is just a way of ‘daydreaming’ about the future.
6. Read through your list of accomplishments and congratulate yourself for them. Put this list (#1) on your left.
Read through the things you’d like to leave behind, and forgive yourself for any mistakes you feel you’ve made. Put this list (#2) on your left also.
Take the materials relating to your dreams (#3) and put them right in front of you.
Review the list of things you’d like to bring into your life (#4) and put this list on your right.
Read through your goals for the year ahead (#5) and put this list on your right also.
(If you are left-handed, it may make more sense if you reverse the position of the lists!)
7. Sit quietly for a few minutes. Imagine all the good feelings, thoughts and energies from your accomplishments coming into your body (you can visualize this as a stream of light, sparkling dust, or anything else you imagine. If you don’t find it easy to visualise, that’s OK – just get a sense of it.)
Then become aware of any of the energy that’s tied up in the things you want to let go of, and see it returning to your body. Look to your dreams, attractions and goals: any of the energy that is tied up in those (eg. in wishing or wanting) can also return to you in the present moment. Notice how it’s possible for you to feel even better about those dreams and goals when your energy is in the present.
A great deal of people’s awareness is often wrapped up in wishes for the future, or memories of the past. It’s great to have access to these dreams and memories, but it’s also good to have our energy available to us in the present moment.
8. Allow yourself to be fully present in this moment. Become aware of the fact that all your accomplishments and activities of the past year were accomplished in an earlier present. Become aware of the fact that all your future accomplishments and experiences will take place in a future present. Really experience how it feels to be fully present.
Wishing you a wonderful year, a delightful decade and many more to come!
I’ve always liked treating the new year as a time to reflect and reset. I really like the way you’ve laid out this process. I’m going to go through the steps and look forward to the amazing year ahead.