I was talking to a friend today who I haven’t spoken to for a while. She described last year as one of the worst of her life; she’s had problems in her relationship, problems at work and family problems as well. In anybody’s map of the world, a real ‘annus horribilis’.
What struck me though was as the conversation progressed and the strong emotions were a bit more distant, she was able to see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel and explained how symbolic this New Year was to her. Whatever kind of year you’ve had, take a few minutes to go through this powerful process outlined below. It will help you let go of what you don’t need, embrace what you do, and plan for the year ahead in a more focussed way. It’s a gift you can give yourself today for the New Year ahead.
Get yourself a pen and paper- it makes this process more powerful when you write it down.
1) List all the things you’ve accomplished this year: the memorable experiences you’ve had, and everything that you’re grateful for. Make a list of everything you’ve managed to achieve.
You might be surprised at just how much you’ve accomplished in twelve months (if you are saying “I haven’t accomplished anything”, I’d challenge you – at the very least, and you have survived. I expect that as you think about it, you’ll realise that you’ve accomplished much more than that!)
2) List 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 no longer wish to spend time with, and so on.
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? How would you like to be? If you don’t know what you want, or you are unsure, 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) List 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. These can be quite general: Do you want to spend more time with your family? Get fitter? Enjoy earning more money? Spend more time in the present moment? List the things you’d like to attract into your life.
5) Make a list of your goals for the year 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?
6) Read through your lists of accomplishments, place them out on a table in front of you and congratulate yourself.
7) Sit quietly for a few minutes and reflect. Imagine all the good feelings, thoughts and energies from your accomplishments coming into your body in whatever way would work for you. Then become aware of any of your 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 your energy that is tied up in those (e.g. 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.
And finally allow yourself to imagine in your mind’s eye the future ahead of you, having let go of what’s not helping you, embraced your achievements and recognising what it was about you that helped you to achieve these things. As you do this, imagine what it would be like to achieve the goals you have set for yourself. Explore the differences this would make to you and others and as you find yourself seeing and sensing more of the detail of this make a pact with yourself to bring as much of this into your life as possible.
Thanks to Jamie Smart at Salad Ltd for the ideas in this blog.