End of Year Rituals

Every year when December rolls around, I look at the calendar in shocked wonder, as if this whole “end of the year” thing hasn’t happened to me 43 times already. Like, WOW, December happened AGAIN?! (Well, duh.) Every year I complain about how it came so fast, when only a few months earlier I complained about the year moving so slowly. I can never decide if there are too many hours in the day or not enough, though that opinion seems to depend entirely on how much procrastinating I do! As the end of the year approaches, I do a few rituals to properly close out this time and start afresh in the new year.

There are three main things I do at this time of year:

  1. A MASSIVE clean up, clear out, slash and burn, throw shit out, take no prisoners approach to sorting out my work space. For me this is a desk, for you this might be both a desk and a kitchen. I’m doing the crazy stuff like testing out pens to see if they still work, cleaning between the keys of my keyboard, recycling several trees work of stuff I’ve printed out but never actually did anything with. This has several benefits other than a clean space to work in. First, you run across stuff you forgot you have, which you then either use, sell, or give away. Second, you realise what a hot mess you are and you resolve to do better next year. You won’t, but you’ll resolve to and that feels good enough for now. Third, while you are mentally cleaning out your space, you’re also mentally clearing it out. Getting rid of things which don’t serve you, making room for new thoughts and ideas, and enjoying the crazy sense of satisfaction which comes with each swipe of that good orange smelling antibacterial spray and wipe stuff. (I mean okay what might be happening is you’re getting high off it, but hey I don’t judge.)
  2. Picking a Word of The Year. I originally learned how to do this via Christine Kane (she has a worksheet to help) but these days I do it on my own. The idea is that rather than a whole list of somewhat self defeating ridiculous new year’s resolutions, you pick one word as your theme word. That word then guides ALL your actions for the coming year. Some of mine from past years have been: PROGRESS, RICH LIFE, HEALTHY. I try to pick words that have multiple uses across my life too. For example “healthy” was about my health but also about a healthy bank balance, choosing healthier relationships, and finding healthier ways to spend my time rather than worrying and stressing. I also recommend you anchor that word in so you see it a lot – mine is the wallpaper on my phone, written down on my desk blotter, and used as a laptop screen saver. Basically, there’s no way to avoid it and that’s how I like it. I draw the line at tattoos though. I mean I’m committed and all, just not THAT committed.
  3. Goal setting in ways that work, not ways someone else decided it should work. Truth be told I find this one really hard to do, though it’s probably the most important one of these three. I take the most un-fancy, un-scientific approach because it works for me. I look at what I did this year and the stuff that worked well and I enjoyed, and I vow to do those again, only better. The stuff that sucked and I hated, I ditch entirely. The stuff which challenged me and kinda worked, they will often get another turn around the dance floor to see if I can’t improve upon them. And then I throw in some crazy shit because I want to, because I’m somewhat insane, or because I read about it somewhere and it seems like a good idea. That’s how this year I did a 100 day challenge for my wellness (100 days of: 1 litre of water, 30 minutes of exercise, and a least 10 minutes of meditation.) It’s how last year before I learned to box jump (well, I WAS learning, then I fell over, then I cried, then I took a lot of pain meds, then I ate ice cream.) It’s also how I published a book, started a podcast, and did some other insane big things. I always put in some big, hairy, scary stuff which is designed to push me right out of my comfort zone. Some years I create year-long goals, other times I go one quarter at a time, other times in 6 month blocks. Whatever works for you is the way to do it – but I firmly believe we can write our future into existence, so the important thing here is to pick what you’re going to do, write it down, and get on with the business of doing it.

Whatever rituals you might have to signify the end of another year around the sun, or even if you do none at all, I think it’s at least important to take time to take a deep breath or two and congratulate yourself for making it this far. So many people I’ve spoken to this year have said that it’s been a year of trials, of frustrations, of plans gone wrong and things getting terribly overwhelming. Hey, if we made it this far, we’re doing pretty good.

Onwards and upwards – and sometimes, through.

One thought on “End of Year Rituals

  1. Hi Michelle

    I like your one word theme for next year and I tried a similar theme this year in “being kinder to myself” more words but I am going to employ the health and rich life for next year!

    For me the Christmas Season begins with
    : massage and beauty treatment to get body feeling right and cheery
    : catch up lunch/dinner with special friends to get headspace in right gear and reflect on our year and enjoy the richness of good friends before the Xmas storm
    : prepare Christmas present/card/menu lists
    : Purchase the above early to avoid the maddening crowds
    (just completed wrapping all my gifts in beautiful Christmas Paper, complete with real ribbon, curling ribbon Etc with gifts that I would be happy to receive)😊👍

    Next is the clean-up, clear out time (similar to yours)
    : Ensure that I have 30 minutes to myself daily to do whatever I want or don’t without any interruptions
    : plan and prepare all I can for the big day so I can have some time to enjoy it (thought it was only going to be 3 of us, having lunch at a local restaurant for once, now it is 10 coming to ours for Christmas dinner that I am calling the Lonely Hearts Club!!) hubby’s response when I asked why “but you like cooking and I love your ham and turkey best,” (these kind folk would have each been on their own and my late parents never excluded anyone, so I will carry on their kind tradition).

    Differences between last year and this year:
    It has taken 59 years for me to find my voice
    I am finally comfortable in my own skin
    I have a couple of gifts and skills and I am learning how to maximise them
    I am pruning out the drainers and surrounding myself with energisers in my life
    Whilst I have another funeral to attend on Thursday, I realised I was suffering from compassion fatigue and will now only do what I can when it is possible for me

    Achievements for this year:
    Thanks to Michelle’s classes, I am much better organised with my business
    More local and interstate people are learning about my cakes and are ordering all via email Etc.
    I am finally online (still on L Plates but it’s a start)
    Discovered that marketing is one of my strengths as clients are telling me that they chose me because of my passion to create special cakes for them because I listened to their needs
    Despite having to move to two different work venues in a year, I am now nearly finished with my own studio (they have just ripped up the brand new flooring because it buckled and had to take all the new blinds down, remove all the new fixtures and will be replacing them (hopefully before Christmas Day) the guests have been warned that we may be a little crowded in my day kitchen if it is not ready!
    It has been a very expensive year but I have bit the bullet and put all my savings, heart and soul into this new chapter and I believe I can succeed.

    Last year was horrible losing 10 special people in my life and this year did not start out well.
    Losing special loved ones and death then sorting out belongings brings out the best and worst in folk around us and that added to my grief. Sometimes it is easier to walk away with a heavy heart than continue fighting a losing battle.

    Goal for next year:
    Focus on the business side of my work
    Enjoy experimenting with my new play tools from the recent Cake, Bake and Sweets Show in my funky new cake studio –
    a room with a view!
    Start attending some local and regional markets with my cakes
    Keep networking with my new family of Cakers
    Continue to make time for myself and loved ones
    Keep gaining inspiration from my home, garden, feathered and bovine friends
    And finally make time to smell my beautiiful roses,🌹💐😊

    Merry Christmas Everyone, travel safely and best wishes for the New Year from Elene xx

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