I love this time of year. It always feels like a chance to reflect on the year that’s been and get excited about the year to come.
It feels like a fresh start, a clean slate, a do-over. It feels full of possibility.
But the only real way to get the most out of a new year is to make peace with the year that’s been, then set some clear intentions for the year ahead. If you don’t let go of what’s been, you may drag it into the new year with you.
I cherish this time of year as a chance to spend extra time with my journal; reflecting, dreaming and planning.
For me, this has been a tremendous year, personally. I’ve started a blog and welcomed my soul sister Kelly on board, I’ve created a regular journaling and creative practice that lights me up, I’ve gotten engaged to the man of my dreams and he and I have begun a journey to build our own little house. I couldn’t be happier with these things.
Professionally, this year has been challenging for me. I’ve been working full-time in a teaching job that I find stressful and, at times, overwhelming. While it certainly has its rewarding and enjoyable moments, as a highly-sensitive person and introvert, it is harder for me than many. Perhaps not the ideal career choice, I now realise after getting to know myself a bit better through my journal. Nonetheless, I made it through the year in one piece.
Our school years run from the start to end of the calendar year in New Zealand, so I am currently in between jobs, deciding upon my next move for next year. Instead of being fearful about this, I’m excited for what could be ahead.
So now, I’m going to take out my journal and explore the year that’s been and the possibilities that lie ahead of me.
Take a fresh page in your journal and create a heading: Goodbye 2014, welcome new year! (Or whatever floats your boat).
Begin by answering some of these questions, and if something stands out to you, go as deep as you like:
- How would you describe 2014 in one sentence?
- If you could redo 2014, what would you do differently? Why?
- List three things that went well for you this year.
- List three things that did not go well for you this year.
- What was the absolute highlight of 2014?
- What was your lowest point?
- If 2014 was a book, what would be the title? Come up with a few chapter names.
- Draw a timeline of the year from start to finish with all of your achievements and greatest joys.
- What was the predominant feeling for you in 2014?
Now, think about the year ahead:
- If you were writing this at the end of 2015, how would you ideally like to be able to describe the year in one sentence?
- If 2015 could be a book, what would you like it to be titled? Come up with a few possible chapter names.
- What do you hope to achieve/do/complete/have happen next year?
- What will you absolutely make happen, without a doubt?
- How would you most like to predominantly feel, next year?
- Create an art journal page or collage that best represents how you would like 2015 to be.
- Choose one word to guide you through the next 12 months. The word I have chosen for 2015 is focus. Kelly’s word is joy. Choose whatever word most sings to you. If you’re a bit stumped, visit Susannah Conway for guidance on this. Once you’ve chosen your word, write it in big bold letters and put it somewhere you will see it every day.
Most importantly, be kind and gentle with yourself while you go through this process. If this hasn’t been the best year for you, try your best to acknowledge that and then look forward to the new year. It’s a new beginning for us all.