I was that person who LOVED to get new planners at the office supply store. I would spend thirty minutes looking at every kind of day timer, trying to find the exact one to fit my needs. The blank pages represented so much promise and possibility for the coming year. I would take my planner home, get out my pens and highlighters, and go to work creating my schedule.
The new year always feels that way to me – like an empty day timer. The number of days and hours are set, but you can fill them with whatever you would like! This time of year especially, people talk a lot about dream boards, goal setting and “New Year Resolutions”. I think this is hugely important and started incorporating it into my yearly routine about eight years ago. I actually keep a notebook on my desk that includes goals for the year, pictures that represent certain feelings or things I want to accomplish and inspirational quotes and sayings. I review it throughout the year as a reminder of where my focus should be, and what my priorities are. Then, when the New Year approaches, I’ll go through it and make changes as needed for where I am in my life now.
I know many people go through a similar process, and I think there is so much power in goal setting and setting intentions for our lives.
There is one extra step I go through that I don’t hear many people discuss, and that I think is actually the most important part of the process.
That is offering gratitude for the previous year and honoring what’s occurred to get us to this point.
At the end of every year, before I create any goals or ideas for the next year, I write down the “highlights” of the previous year.
I keep a journal on my desk, and I write down a list of the major memories or events or accomplishments of the previous year. It only takes me five minutes and has been such a gift for me.
Sometimes I can get through an entire year and look back and say “What just happened? Didn’t I want to travel more and work less? Didn’t I want to run that half marathon and become a better cook? Is the year seriously already over?”
Well, maybe I didn’t run a half marathon. Or run at all. But I did become a certified spin instructor! So I wrote that down.
Maybe we didn’t take any big vacations to the beach, but we did travel to see family. We watched our daughter play with her cousins and I took her to meet my two best college friends and their babies. I was able to spend two days away with dear friends at my 20th high school reunion.
I’ll definitely be writing all of those down.
Maybe I didn’t become a better cook, but I did enjoy countless dance parties with my daughter and husband while waiting for leftovers to heat up.
I’ll write every single one of those down.
If you take just a few moments, I promise you will be so thankful you took a chance to recognize what happened and record it.
If you are like me, the previous year might just seem like a blur and, while you know it was wonderful, you aren’t sure what just happened.
Sit down in the quiet for a few minutes and reflect. Look through your phone at all the wonderful pictures and smiling faces. Check your Facebook account or text messages.
Honor another year of your life and be gracious to yourself if maybe you didn’t accomplish one of your goals.
I still have never done a pull-up, but it’s no big deal. I’ll try again next year.
In the meantime, I’ll give thanks to 2015 for providing me laughter, new friends, strengthened old friendships, community, an amazing daughter and husband, a new home we love, some good champagne and precious time with family.
Cheers to you and your loved ones, and Happy New Year!