There’s nothing inherently special about New Years that couldn’t be done any other time of the year.
But there’s something to be said for new beginnings. The idea of a “new start” is probably why New Year’s Resolutions live on despite their very low success rate.
Knowing that low success rate, I don’t set resolutions anymore. I do something different. Something I’ve never seen anyone else do.
Reflecting on the past year and working on improvements for the year to come is something I enjoy very much.
Every year, reflection is a big part of my New Year’s tradition. A tradition I’ve decided to share with you. Not only does it make you feel good, but it really makes for a better year ahead.
Side Note, you can do this any time of the year. It doesn’t have to be New Years.
If you’d like to see the (less detailed) video explanation, you can watch here:
Or, if you prefer the written version, keep reading.
1. A Year Full of Blessings
You’ll need a piece of paper for this tradition. You can do it with a group (my favorite) or by yourself. As it becomes your own tradition, you can change it to suit your desires.
The first step is writing down all the good things that happened to you this year. All the blessings, the achievements, the goals reached, the wins.
How has your life changed over the year? What have you learned? In what ways have you grown?
Maybe you made new friends or met the love of your life? Perhaps you bought a house? Or you ended a toxic relationship, lost 20 pounds, or got a degree?
Maybe you got closer to your kids or went on the best vacation of your life…
List it all.
Sometimes you don’t notice how far you’ve come until you see the page full of stuff that happened. A list of the things you’ve done in just one year.
And don’t feel bad if you don’t have a full page. Some years are better than others. It’s give and take.
2. List Your Lessons
Now for the “bad” stuff. I write that with quotations for a reason. You’ll understand in a few minutes.
Write down all the things you didn’t like about this year.
Maybe you lost your job, or broke a bone, or had a bad breakup?
There are roadblocks and straight up bad days. No one gets sunshine every day. Those seeds you’re planting need water. Sometimes it has to rain.
Once you have all this “bad” stuff written down, write down what you learned from each experience. What was the universe trying to teach you?
I can see some of you rolling your eyes over this one. “Bad stuff is just bad. There’s no hidden lesson in it.”
But I beg to differ. The way I see it, every experience teaches you something. If you allow it to. You can have the bad experience and that’s all. End of story. Or, you can have the bad experience and ask what the universe is trying to teach you.
Either way the bad stuff happens. You might as well get something out of it.
My example for this is when my mom passed away last year. Her death taught me how very important people are. It taught me tomorrow won’t always come. I needed to carve out time for the ones I love.
So, I did. I visited many friends and family last year. I made time to reconnect. One of those people I made time for was my grandmother.
And she was the next person to pass last year.
Had I not learned that lesson from my mom’s passing, I might not have had that extra time with her. Time I will cherish forever. Time that really meant something to me.
But learning those lessons are up to you…
3. Set Goals for the New Year
Once you get through the lessons, it’s time to look to the future.
Where are you trying to end up? What kind of life do you want?
Close your eyes for a minute and imagine the life you want. Where are you? Where do you work? Who’s with you?
In order to get to that dream life, what would need to change? What goals would need to be accomplished?
Write down big goals and break them down into smaller goals.
List list list!
Usually eating right or exercising will be on there. It’s always on my list. I eat pretty healthy, but after Thanksgiving and Christmas I always need a renewal of my good eating habits.
You might have goals relating to school, or for your job.
Maybe you’re building a business. Maybe you want a raise.
It’s possible you just want to spend more time with your family or travel more.
Put it all on the list and be as specific as you can.
Bonus points if you write down HOW you’ll do these things.
4. Share with the Class
There’s something magical about sharing all this with someone(s) you trust.
I usually do this every year with my partner, sister, brother-in-law, and whatever friends want to participate.
This year I got my teenagers involved. It was really fun.
It’s kind of like declaring to the world what you’re going to make happen.
They won’t necessarily hold you accountable (unless you ask them to). I like to think of it as making it more real to myself.
And I LOVE hearing what everyone shares. We get real and vulnerable. And that’s beautiful.
You hear what everyone is dreaming. You hear what they’ve accomplished that year.
There’s a lot of fluff talk in the world. Talk where you don’t say anything of importance. You just habitually spew words from your mouth.
This is REAL talking. It’s talking about things that matter. Things that make up who you are and where you want to go.
I’m not lying to you when I say it’s a beautiful experience.
Onward to the New Year
I realize this practice won’t be for everyone, but I sure love it. And maybe it’s worth a try for you too.
And if you do enjoy it, you can do the same thing for your relationship. My partner and I did it for our relationship this year.
We listed the good (a lot there), the bad (not any), our goals for the future and our thoughts on it. I asked him when he felt most loved by me, how I could love him better, and if he had any concerns for our relationship. Then he asked me the same things.
With or without that last bit, it’s important to reflect on where you’re going. Otherwise, it’ll be really hard to get there… if you get there at all.
All in all, making a better year is as simple as knowing where you want to be, and making small steps in that direction. It can be as fast or long a journey as you want.
There’ll be roadblocks and challenges along the way. But learn from them and allow them to make you better.
If all you learned from this post was to find the lessons within the “bad” stuff, that’s enough to have a better year.
Cheers to a great 2022! I hope it’s full of growth and magic for every one of you.