December is a month for reflection – for some quiet contemplation on the year gone by and planning for the year to come. While a lot of people set goals and New Year resolutions, I’ve learnt that this really does not work for me. What does seem to work is desire and intention. But first, we start with…
Contemplating the year gone by
Set aside an afternoon with a hot cup of coffee or tea (or even some mulled wine!) and look back at the year gone by.
Here are some prompts to get you started:
- What stood out for you this year – positive and negatives both?
- What did you finally achieve?
- What made you happy?
- Where did you trip up, and what did you learn from your failures and struggles?
- What do you want to work on some more?
- What do you need to learn from the year gone by?
- What do you need to release as you move forward into a new year?
- What are you grateful for?
Or you may just wish to reflect, remember, and give thanks for the year gone by.
Once you’re done, set your journal aside and stretch…go for a walk…dance to some music…do some yoga…basically, use motion as a release for everything that came up.
Mapping out the year ahead
Once you’re finished looking back, it’s time to look forward. There are a number of ways and tools that you can use to plan the year ahead. One that I tried last year that worked really well for me – and that I am doing again this year – is choosing a word of the year. One word that will serve as a guidepost to how you design and plan your year.
As you think about this concept, you may have a word that pops out for you based on your reflection on the year gone by. Don’t worry if nothing comes to mind – sometimes it needs a little bit of an intervention to find the word that’s calling to you. Here’s a very short list of words that you could choose for yourself – see if any of these resonate for you.
If you don’t know how this works or need some help to choose a word, Susannah Conway has an excellent (free) 5-day email class to help you discover your word.
One word has the power to shape and change your life. It just requires a little effort.
Start by contemplating the following questions in your journal:
- If you lived and breathed your word in 2016, what would be different for you?
- Are there any ways in which you’re already living your word?
- What can you do to bring more of this word’s energy into your life?
- Think ahead to December 2016. As you reflect on the year gone by, where do you want to be with regards to your work, relationships, spiritual practice, health and fitness, and any other areas that are important to you?
- As you look at your answers to these questions, do you see a theme emerging? How can you make this theme work for you?
Plan out your year
Now comes the fun part! Download and print out a 2016 weekly calendar and start fleshing out your year. Plot out the things you want to start and when you want to start doing them. Don’t forget to pencil in some holidays and some rest time. And remember, this is just a rough guide to get you started. You can change, add or subtract anything at any time during the course of 2016.
Here’s wishing you a beautiful holiday season!