I like New Years'. Not because of the celebrations or the change in year. I like it because it is a clear delineation in time when society is urged to put the past behind them and reflect upon what they want their future to look like. Who do you want to be? What are your goals? What do you hope for? What is important to you? It's a hopeful day - one where you are coaxed to celebrate your past and future by enjoying the present.
How I ring in the New Year has shifted throughout the years… when I was little, we would bang on pots and pans. As I got older, the celebration became more sophisticated, incorporating headbands, horns and other noisemakers and then drinking my face off (which contributed to a rough New Years' Day). Over time I lost connection with New Year's because I no longer had the same interest in drinking, but my partner rekindled it with a new tradition: a nice dinner, games and a reflection activity.
Every year he would update a template of questions that promoted reflection on the past year and our plans for the coming year. We would fill it out and share whatever we wanted with each other, and then we would seal it in an envelope for review on the following New Year's Eve. It was a great way to reflect on what we survived, what needed to be celebrated, and layout our hopes and future goals.
I shared this activity with a friend, and she told me that her household had adopted a gratefulness activity where throughout the year, they write the things they are grateful for (big and small) and put it in a mason jar. On New Year's Eve, they dump out all the paper strips and read them. It provides them with a reflection activity that reminds them how much they have to be grateful for.
I love hearing about New Year’s traditions!
Regardless of whether this was a good or bad year for you, consider applying the concepts of New Years' regularly to your life.
If you have identified the need for change in your life, implement it as soon as possible. Life is too short to wait.
Leave the past in the past. Reflect upon the hard times and consider what you've learned from it. Then do your best to let the pain go. It's in the past.
Adopt a gratitude practice to focus your attention on the things you are grateful for. One of my favourite quotes is, "Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day." Sometimes life is shit, sometimes it is meh, and sometimes it's great, but there is always something or someone to be grateful for.
Be present in the now. Do what you enjoy. Celebrate your milestones. Surround yourself with the people you love (even if that is only virtually). Enjoy today.
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions because I initiate practices to improve my life throughout the year. Still, if I were to “make a 2021 New Year’s resolution,” it would be to take baby steps towards the things I’ve wanted to do, but I’ve been putting off for years, the ideas that aren’t important enough to me to get priority. Some things seem big or scary, and they won’t significantly improve my life, so I never do them. Yesterday I shared one of these ideas with a friend, and she got so excited about it. I downplayed it, saying, “I have too many ideas and not enough time and motivation.” She replied, “I totally get it! I guess we just have to prioritize and make time for the things that are most important…or get really fast at doing everything!” She was right, but I had this feeling of “how do we know what is important?” I accomplished a lot this year, and it required a lot of effort, but I also didn’t do many of the things I would have liked to. So I’ve decided that I can focus most of my time and energy on the most important things, and I can take baby steps towards the other things.
So today, on the last day of 2020, I take another baby step by posting to a blog, and in time we will see if this leads anywhere but it’s ok if it doesn’t. J Happy New Year!