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:
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.