Oh, you guys. We have done it. We’ve made it.
We are at the end of another year, my friends. We have made it past a MASSIVE year. An unprecedented (sorrrrrry! It’s true, you know?) year. A hard year.
So, I want to you take a second. Right now. I know it’s cheesy but it’s important– I want you to put your hand on your chest… and I want you to feel proud of yourself right now. Not only for making it through a wild ride, but doing so with your heart and joy still in tact. And as intentionally as you could, given the circumstances.
I don’t want to make this that kind of “ugh, 2020 was the worst” blog post, either — because, while I don’t ever want to be blind to the immense pain a lot of this year cost so many of us — I truly believe that there was more beauty, there was more strength, there was more love this year than anyone probably thought possible.
And as we wrap up this year, it’s important to think about that. Not just the headlines and the hard stuff, but the beauty and strength of the human spirit that came unexpectedly too.
Every year for as long as I can remember, I’ve taken the time to reflect on the year that has passed. It’s a ritual that helps me process all that’s happened, and really take in the lessons and amazing things that have happened, before quickly moving on to what’s new.
It’s a cultural thing we do— always onto the next thing or new thing, sweeping things under the rug, without stopping to gather up the wisdom or acknowledge the lessons and gold that came with a year of life.
And this year looked a lot different than I was expecting. A lot different in a lot of ways, from my business all the way to being a mama all the way to being a friend and a daughter and a wife and a HUMAN.
I know I’m 1,000% not the only one, either… not even by a long shot. We’ve all learned and suffered and cried and laughed and loved and lost this year.
So, my hope that you can take this as a little pause for yourself this week. To carve out some time for yourself, and reflect. My top tip? Make it a ritual (of course, you know me!), and don’t be afraid to learn and lean in. Have fun, mama.
My Go-To Ritual for Ending a Year and Starting a New One
Can I be honest? The bulk of this exercise will take you sitting down to actually doing it. That’s where you’ll see its power. Just like anything else that can be transforming, it takes some of your energy and attention to hone in and do the digging.
If you have an hour or even just 30 minutes over the next week or so to sit down, this is such an important exercise not only to reflect on the last year, but to see how it points to what’s next. There’s so much that happens in a year that if we don’t pause and take note of everything that happened, we’ll never know how to change. To make a difference in our habits. To pinpoint holes and goals and so much more.
Ok, let’s jump in, shall we?
Let’s start by first looking at your calendar from just the past year to take an intake of trips you took or accomplishments you’re proud of, just big massive things you’ve done this year. Twelve months is a LONG time, and it’s easy to forget big moments, whether it’s travel, with family or marriage or work, goals, friendships. Even your relationship with food which can ebb and flow just like any other area of your life. Take a look at this high-level picture of what went on this past year.
If your calendar was really full, was it full of the types of things when you look back on the year that you notice and appreciate for how they filled your time? Taking a look in this way at where you spend your time, especially if you use a calendar that does have your daily appointments and the things you’re working on and through, it can be so helpful.
I look at everything– my iCal for events and dates and appointments and also my day designer for the smaller pieces that fill my weeks. It’s just a fascinating process to kick this whole thing off, seeing what you spent the bulk of your time on or made a lot of progress on. Remind yourself of everything that’s happened– the good, the bad, the ugly, the up and down, the in between.
Then I like to answer this: 1) What things were definite YES’S?! Like so life-giving and such a great use of your time and energy? Make a list of them. These are great to keep fresh in your mind for the next year.
2. What things weren’t worth the time, energy, stress, or mental space that they took up in your life? This is key to stop yourself from making the same mistakes next year and get more ruthless about where and what you’re spending your precious energy on.
3. Write down 25 things you are proud of this past year. It can be anything. Don’t be modest for one hour of the year while you do this– too often we brush things aside that do mean a lot to us- even if they are smaller seeming things. If you get any spark of joy or a smile from it, write it down.
4. Pick a word or phrase that summarized the year, overall.
5. Pick a word or phrase (or 2 or 3) about the undeniable biggest lessons/obstacles that got presented to you that year. Do they have a theme? Another way to think about this: what called attention to some places you may have not been paying attention to?
6. Share it with someone you love and trust. There’s a certain beauty in saying these things out loud– not to brag, but to truly let them all sink in. To be encouraged, celebrated and to motivate you to do more of the things that matter to you in life.
I’ll give you an example — I’m still working on mine this week to share, and yours can be/will be totally different depending on what’s important and life-giving to you.
But, in normal years, here are some of my fav categories to recap and revel in their juiciness and memories:
- Number of trips taken/places traveled (locally this year :))
- Number of date nights
- Parties thrown/hosted
- Big highlights of the year
- Best meals
- Cocktail order of the year
- Coffee order of the year
- Motto/phrase/word of the year
- Biggest lesson/gamechanger of the year
- Song of the year that sums it all up
- Best investment you made this year for yourself ( a time, experience, program, book, etc)
Let’s talk about a 2020 version. Things like:
- best meals you cooked at home
- best hobby or way you spent time at home you never would have had time for before
- best playlist or favorite songs of the year
- favorite zoom call memory
- go-to zoom call outfit
- best ways you got creative this year for a “date night in”
- word of the year
- biggest highlights
Kind of fun right?
I like to make it pretty, this one. This is probably what you’ve seen me post on IG each year:) I love keeping this list to look back on. This will be my 6th year doing this and it’s such a great reminder of all the good stuff you’re doing and experiencing and enjoying each year.
Year in review, done.
2. Next up: Planning the next year.
Next up, I have a couple questions for you to be able to put yourself in the driver’s seat a little more and imagine the year ahead.
1. I want you to imagine that it’s December 31, 2021, one year from right now, and thinking through and imagining it was just the perfect year. What made it that way? Write it down.
And then: 2. What did you do differently in 2021 to make it so? What did you have to let go of, shift, and change in order to actually show up in the ways you’re wanting to in every area of your life? Write it down.
3. Pick a word for 2021. Write that down too- how you want to feel, a mindset you want to take on, or a way you want to show up. What is this year about for you?
Ok, you’re done!
Are there any themes you found?
Bits of gold?
You guys, keep these notes. These are treasures for yourself, that help you remember the big things in life, and how you want to live it. Whenever you feel like you need a boost, pull it out again and remind yourself where you want to go, and what needs to happen for you to do so. I personally keep these out and review them weekly, but it’s totally up to you.
And I hope it helps you take a little more control of your future, whether it’s the next month, year, or 10 from now. Living your best life requires some planning and mindfulness and intention, but it’s always always worth it. You are worth it. And you got this, sister. 2021, here we come!