A new year isn’t about resolutions or taking some kind of important leap off some precipice. It’s about taking stock and giving oneself a reset button. Without start and finish lines we can struggle to tread water much too long without making any kind of course correction.
This time of year I don’t just focus on goal setting. I also think about where I have been heading throughout the previous year. Reviewing the past year it’s important to grieve disappointments and celebrate successes. And it’s not easy. You are opening up old wounds that will follow you around for at least a few days.
Sometimes I go month by month trying to remember what happened. I look at big events like shows, trips, talks, or special endeavors to remind me what went on around them. I try not to look at the whole year in one day. Instead I will concentrate on a couple of events or memories each day. I try and keep it even too. If I have a huge disappointment or loss I also try to carry a huge success. I am kind to myself during this time too because in many ways I am reliving pain and frustration and the vulnerability of joy.
You may find that relationships you are keeping alive are not actually worth your time. You might dig up something you had been ignoring or denying. You might even finally give yourself permission to be proud of something no one seemed to care about but you. It all matters.
You may find behaviors i yourself you are embarrassed with. You might notice a habit you want to change. It is also possible that you will notice positive changes you have made in yourself or your life. It all matters.
Without taking stock of your past year all of those experiences are wasted. While that might feel good in the case of painful memories, we can’t prevent future repeats of bad experiences that we have forgotten. We primarily learn and grow from failure and pain. It is pain points and mistakes that move is to do better and show us where to focus our energy.
Once you have dug up the past, burying it again can be hard. This is especially so with very painful experiences. It can be helpful to talk to a therapist if the experience is causing intrusive thoughts, or nightmares. For some people having a ceremony or ritual to put an end to memories can also be helpful. But the most important thing is that you deal with them. Don’t let painful experiences piggyback into the future.
It’s also valuable to spend some time focuses on your successes. Even small successes are important. If you harness the joy and relief that a success brought you, you can manifest it when you need an extra push later. So spend some time reliving your glory, small or large, and see where that motivation moves you.
Finally, write it down. It can be in a journal, on an app, or on a slip of paper. Then do with it as you please. You can save it, share it, or even burn it. Whatever moves you. But putting these experiences on paper exorcises the demons, and gives new live to your successes setting you up for a fresh and prosperous new year.
Happy New Year Friends!