Each year, with the onset of Christmas and the end of year fast approaching, I feel the urge to reflect, reset and contemplate on what lies ahead. Sometimes I do this formally, taking a couple of days to think and write and ponder – other times it’s more intuitive, the planning and reflecting taking place in my head. On New Year’s Eve, after the festivities and indulgences of Christmas, my husband and I usually spend a quiet night at home, chilling and chatting. Over the years we’ve developed a little ritual that leaves me feeling grounded but excited for the upcoming year and a fresh start. It doesn’t take long, but allows for some reflection, some planning and a release so that the year starts new. Here’s what we do…
Take two pieces of paper and on the first page:
- Write five things from the past year for which you are grateful.
- Write three things from the past year which you’d like to let go.
- Write three things that went well
- Write three things that you would do differently (and how that might look)
On the second page:
- Write three things for the upcoming year that you’d like to see, do or accomplish.
- Write three things for the upcoming year that you’d like to feel or be.
- Write three things for the upcoming year that you’d like to stop doing or finish.
- Take a few moments to think about how the choices you will make in the next year can align with these intentions.
Take the first page and set it (responsibly) on fire, honoring the gifts you received and the lessons you learned. Let that shit go.
Take the second page and place it somewhere you will see it often (bathroom or kitchen are often good choices); revisit a few times throughout the year as needed to revise or update. Keeping it close will remind you of what you want for the year when faced with difficult choices or when you get off track, but also how much you can change in a short amount of time.
I wish for everyone, a peaceful and happy holiday season, and a fantastic 2017. See you in the new year!
Over the past year I’ve taken up a practice which I have tried before but never managed to continue – the practice of gratitude, which is especially useful at this stressful and chaotic time of year.
It has been scientifically proven that practicing gratitude has amazing results for improving health and well-being, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start or how to do it.
For my birthday last year, my sister gave me “The Five Minute Journal” and I’ve been using it almost daily since. It literally takes only 5 minutes a day – about 3 in the morning and 2 before bed (depending on how easily your answers come).
The morning practice asks you to list what you’re grateful for and then has space to write how you can make your day great, and a daily affirmation. The evening practice looks at the best moments of the day and how you could have made the day better. There are daily inspirational quotes, and a blank spot at the top for the date, so if you miss a day, you don’t have to miss a page.
It’s a beautiful book and using it has made me feel happier, more in control of my choices, and it keeps me focused throughout the day so that I spend time on things that I choose rather than things I react to or get caught up in accidentally (hello, social media); it has encouraged me to stay focused on what is going well in my life rather than what is going wrong.
No matter how you do it, practicing gratitude has incredible benefits, so from Sunday 18th until Saturday 24th December, I’ll be hosting a gratitude challenge on Instagram. It couldn’t be easier: simply take a photo of something you’re grateful for and tag me or use #gratefulholidays2016
Do you have a gratitude practice? Any different ideas on how to practice? Let me know in the comments. I’d be grateful 😉
This time of year often makes me feel frantic and airy, so to stay grounded I incorporate lots of rooting poses and strong beats into my yoga practice and yoga playlist. Here’s what I’m practicing to at the moment.
I’d love to know what keeps you grounded this time of year, and what music helps out. Let me know in the comments or drop me a message on Instagram – @laurenewilkie