This is a simple yet effective New Year ritual to let go of the old and welcome in the new! Seasonal rituals can be healing and help us connect to our deep and authentic desires, and forgotten potential. Taking advantage of the natural psychological landmark that January represents can help you get motivated to let go of what didn’t work for you in the past year and create new intentions for the year ahead!
Here is a New Year ritual to help you do just that:
- Set some quiet time aside when you won’t be disturbed in an uncluttered area of your home specifically to do this ritual. Light some candles or a fire, make some tea and sit in a comfortable position with some paper and a pen. You may want to start with a Body Scan or Breath work meditation to help you focus inwardly (these can be found on many Mindfulness sites on the internet). It may be best to do the ritual over a period of several days or even weeks, to allow for more reflection and integration of what you’ve brought into your awareness.
- Begin to reflect on the past year and write down your thoughts, focusing on the positive and the negative, writing these on separate pieces of paper. Some questions you might ask yourself are:
- What has happened in my relationships this past year? Which relationships were nurturing and which ones depleted my energy or took more than they gave? Which are necessary and which are best left in the past? What new types of relationships would I like to nurture into my life? What have these relationships taught me about myself and my desires?
- What happened in my work or my life’s project this year? Did I face challenges? Did I learn anything new? Did I progress? How do I feel about this work? What might I want to change?
- What happened to my body and health this year? What efforts did I make to care for myself and treat my body with kindness? How much of a priority did I make my health and wellbeing?
- What situations or relationships highlighted behaviour or aspects of my personality I was proud of or less so? What behavioural changes, or aspects of my personality would I want to improve? How have I changed as a person? Do I like the choices I made or is there something I want to change about myself?
- How do I feel about the passing of 2017? What am I ready to let go of? How do I feel about letting go of these things? Relieved? Excited for a new start? Anxious about possible changes? Energized? Tired?
- Look at your answers and reflect on these. You may want some time to do this over several days or weeks. Remind yourself about how much and what you learned, and make peace with any conflicts, relationships, choices or regrets you’ve listed, including facing your own failings with compassion and forgiveness. Use this awareness to think about intentions for new ways of being, better yet, write down some specific action points for things you would like to change. And remember to list everything you are grateful for – gratitude has been widely studied and has been shown to improve happiness and positivity, which can help boost motivation.
- On a separate sheet of paper use your answers to the above to set intentions for 2018. You may also want, with gratitude, to burn the list of negatives, as a symbol gesture of letting go of what did not work.
- Make a proactive effort to review the progress of your intentions on a regular basis throughout the new year.
If you have an interest in going even further in this type of practice, ask me to send you the Wheel of Life Practice, a practice that helps you assess on a regular basis what is and isn’t working for you in your life and action some steps to make the changes you need. I have used this practice in my life for the past 7 years and it is truly life-changing (though challenging)!