You just can’t help but get that whole “New Year, New Me” feeling inside when the start of a New Year is right around the corner. After all, it psychologically gives us the feeling of starting over, a clean slate, new beginnings. With that comes all of the promises you’ll make to yourself and resolutions for the year ahead. But New Year’s doesn’t have to be just about making resolutions and it doesn’t have to take place just at the New Year. In fact, most times, people who make resolutions (in their head) start to lose sight of them after the first few months and either disregard them, or fall back into old habits or ways. At the start of a New Year, your confidence and will are high and you’re feeling hopeful and on track. There are a few other different fun traditions, rituals and exercises you can do to make sure you’re getting the most out of your “New Year, New Me” feeling all year long. And you don’t necessarily need to wait until the start of a new one to begin. Start when it feels right for you because essentially, each day is a new beginning. These are some of my favorites that I’ve come up with over the years:
1. Set a Theme for the Year – A couple of years ago I started a tradition of coming up with a theme that I wanted to focus on each year. It takes the pressure off of being so literal with what I want to accomplish, and instead sets the tone for what I want to attract while at the same time letting go and allowing the universe decide how I should achieve or receive. It’s a very simple exercise where I sit and meditate and say aloud the theme for the year ahead several times. I set the intention and then let go. For example, the first year I did this I decided that I wanted the year ahead to be about love, in the romantic sense. Simple, and yet so broad. I didn’t specify how I wanted to meet someone, or where but just that I wanted that to be the theme and goal of the year. Low and behold, I did meet someone that year (in a very magical way!), and we’re still together now. The following year I picked a different theme of health. I made that year a focus on going for all my check ups and revamped my schedule to become healthy in mind, body and spirit. I did all of this by reminding myself what the theme was for the year, and also the universe had a way of letting me know healthful changes I needed to make by sending me signs. Currently pondering what I want the year ahead to be! Be open to receiving from the universe. You may not always get what you want, but you’ll get what you need.
2. Happiness Jar – I love this! Admittedly, I haven’t done this one this year but would like to start it up again this coming year. 2014 was a particularly trying and life changing time for me emotionally and spiritually. I decided that I wanted my 2015 to be filled with things that I love, and a focus on the good things in each day. On the first day of the New Year and literally every day thereafter until New Year’s Eve, I wrote one thing each day that brought me great joy, made me laugh or put a smile on my face. Whether it was something that happened that day, or something nice someone said to me, or a quote or song lyric that I found uplifting. It was definitely trying at times, especially if the day wasn’t so great, but the beauty of this is that it forces you to find the positive in each day. It also makes you look harder for the good things in life, instead of worrying about the things that could go wrong. I would write it down on a little piece of paper each night, and then fold it up and put it in a large Mason Jar. The key is not to look at any of them until the end of the year, which is the best part of this whole exercise. On New Year’s Eve open your jar, and read over all of the great things that happened over the last year. You wouldn’t believe some of the things you had forgotten about that happened throughout. It’s a great little reminder that every day is a gift, every day is significant, and there is good in each day. Count your blessings.
3. Oracle Cards – It’s no surprise I’m an Oracle Card junkie, so of course I need to incorporate them into the New Year somehow! Before the New Year begins, I make it a ritual of doing a card reading for the year ahead by choosing a different card for each month. Typically, you could choose from the same deck, but I like to get creative and funky with it and choose a card from a different deck for each month. I also have a lot of card decks so if you only have one deck or a select few then that’s fine as well. I sit quietly for a few minutes before I begin choosing cards to center myself, clear my head and begin to think about what the year ahead will hold for me, and what I need to know for each month. Once I feel calm and neutral I begin the process selecting a card for each month. Yes – it could get a little messy if you’re working with a bunch of different decks but that’s ok. Arrange them however you would like – I prefer circular since it is representative of a new cycle for me. If you are being pulled to draw extra cards anywhere, always go with your gut feeling. For this particular reading (below) I felt compelled to pull a few cards for the center expressing what I need to know in my relationships, career, general advice for the year and what I need to be aware of going into 2018. I absolutely love doing this every year because it gives you something to focus on or be aware of each month. I keep a picture of the reading saved on my phone and reference back to it at the start of every new month to remind myself of what card I picked. It’s amazing to see how it all ties in as the year goes on!
4. Make Lists – By lists, I don’t mean resolutions! If you feel you’re not disciplined or patient enough to follow number 1 (above) and set a theme for the year and be able to allow the Universe to help you, then get to writing! It’s simple to say “My New Year’s resolution is to live a healthy lifestyle.” What you need to do is make definitive lists of the things that you want to do in order to successfully carry out those wishes. Don’t be afraid to get thorough. Make different columns – “Food Health,” “Mental Health,” “Lifestyle Health” etc. and think of all the different things you can do to really make a change. For example, under “Food Health” I will forgo eating fast food on Fridays – “Mental Health” I will take a personal day for myself once a month to do the things that make me happy – “Lifestyle Health” I will forgo using plastic bags at the grocery store and use reusable instead. Seeing all of your laid out plans in front of you will give you more incentive and drive to stick to them and will help you carry them out longer. Keep it somewhere close where you look frequently as a daily reminder. It’s also rewarding to look back on all of the things you’ve implemented into your life or inner being and feel proud that you’ve done it.
5. Daily Zen – Maybe you’re not into the whole resolution thing – then ditch them altogether! Don’t feel like just because it’s a New Year you need to figure out what it is you want to do on that specific day. Sometimes the best things take time, and we are in a state of unknowing. There’s no problem with making your life about daily zen instead. Focus on each day as it comes and think about your wishes or intentions for the day ahead, and show gratitude at the end of each day. You can do this very simply either by keeping a gratitude journal, or saying your thanks or what you would like to manifest out loud. Sometimes a more simplistic way of being is not a bad thing at all. And it doesn’t make you a lazy or non-goal oriented person if you have no resolutions made! It just means you prefer to focus on the present – and isn’t that was zen is all about?
These examples can be done at any time of the year. The most important part of all of this is not what you are doing on New Year’s, where you are, who you are with – but how you feel inside. Not just on New Year’s, but every day. Take whatever steps you need to ensure that you are living your best life – mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Connect with yourself, even if it means disconnecting from everything else for awhile. It’s the best way to find yourself if you aren’t sure where to begin. Once you do begin to find yourself, it’ll be the best journey you take. Happy New Year!