There’s something about this time of year that makes me excited about the new year to come – new possibilities, new opportunities – a fresh start.
This time last year I noticed how much I wanted to rush forward into the new year, even with a whole month of 2016 remaining. In fact, I always feel this way at this time of year! And it’s not just me: I think a lot of us are tempted to rush through December and get to the new year.
So last year I asked: what if we slowed down and really savoured December? Rather than crashing into the new year and attempting to start fresh then, we can step gracefully into the new year with a nourishing daily routine already in place. We don’t have to wait until January to start feeling good – let’s do it now.
This led to a simple project called Deliberate December – where you are intentional with your time each day. Initially it was around starting (or ending) the day with intention, but this year I’ve expanded it a bit.
The idea for this round of Deliberate December is to take some time each day – any time of day – to slow down, be present and feel grateful for the things around you. It’s to really sink into the moment, to find the stillness and savour what is left of the year. You might like to actively do something for each day of the month (like journaling, or mediating, or walking), or you might just take a minute each day to be still. The choice is yours – but the emphasis is on being present and enjoying the month, rather than waiting for the new year to start.
How it works
You don’t have to sign up for anything or pay for anything. Simply, all you have to do is commit to doing something deliberately every day (or most days) in December – in whatever way feels good for you. I’ll provide some simple prompts for each day of December (below) to help guide you if you need.
If you feel like it, you can share an image each day with the hashtag #mydeliberatedecember.
Some things you might want to consider for your own Deliberate December practice:
– What time of day do you want to do it?
– What do you want to include? I recommend really thinking about what will make you feel good, not what you think you should include. Some things you might like to consider are:
- Morning pages
- Exercise – yoga, walking, swimming, etc
- Time outside
- Painting, drawing or other arty things
- Self care such as taking a bath, applying some lovely body lotion, deep breathing, a lovely cup of tea, etc.
Note: This practice is about the practice, not producing a product. The focus is on what you are doing and how it feels, not what you might be producing. It’s about being deliberate with your days, not producing a collection of paintings or reading a certain number of books. Being present in the process is what is most important.
Prompts to guide you
I created some prompts to help you in your Deliberate December practice. You don’t have to use these, but they might be helpful. These are very simple, and can be used in any way that feels good to you.
You could use the prompts each day as a guide to:
- Write a journal entry
- Paint or draw
- Take a photograph
- Write a blog post
- Do some hand lettering/calligraphy
- Share a thought/image on social media
- Find a quote that inspires you
- Contemplate how you can bring more of each quality into your life
- Remind you – use as a guiding word of the day and come back to it throughout the day
- Any combination of the above!
My practice will include a combination of journaling (written and visual), photography and sharing on social media.
What to do when you miss a day
Right now, acknowledge that you will likely miss a day, you will ‘mess up’. This practice is exactly that – a practice. It is not meant to be perfect. It’s meant to be gentle and nourishing. This is not another chance to beat yourself up.
If you miss a day of your Deliberate December, then simply get back to it the next day. No blame, no criticism, no guilt.
Remember, it’s about the process, the practice. Even if you were only practicing every second day you would still feel better than not at all. Be open to not doing it perfectly.
The other thing is that you can change the practice if it’s not working for you. Don’t panic about being locked into doing something. If you get a few days in, or halfway, and it’s not working anymore, then change it! You have permission to do what works for you.
Before you begin: Prompts to get you thinking about your own Deliberate December practice
- What is most missing from your life right now?
- What do you need more of?
- What do you want less of?
- How could you nourish and care for yourself more?
- What feels manageable for you to do each day?
- Imagine it is the start of 2018 and you’ve spent December more deliberately. What things might have you been doing? How would you feel?
- What tools could you use to help you stay on track?
Comment below and share your ideas for your own Deliberate December practice.