Every year around this time, I unplug for a few hours to take stock of my accomplishments during the past year and capture my dreams, wishes and intentions for the coming year. Based loosely on a process shared by architect Sarah Susanka, I journey through the past year, take stock of the present and throw my anchor forward and capture my desires and longings for the year ahead on paper.
It’s a three part process so I split it up over the course of three days. A journal to use just for this process and a couple of hours a day for those three days are all you need. Consider it your strategic planning for your life for the year. Make some time for it this year and then make it an annual process.
Step 1: The year in review
Write down all of your accomplishments since January 1. Every single thing you created, instigated or facilitated. The wonderful dinner party you threw in February? Yep. The impromptu ski vacation you snagged for cheap in March? Got it. The promotion you got in May? Cha-ching! Teaching your niece to parasail in July? Absolutely. Managing the household, kids and finances single-handedly while your spouse was in Asia for a month in August? An exhausted yes. And the time you channeled Martha Stewart in October and cranked out terrific Halloween costumes for the kids? Without a doubt.
We often don’t take enough time to celebrate our successes. This is your time to revel in all you created, made happen and otherwise kicked-butt at in the past year.
Step 2: The radical present
With all you’ve accomplished clearly visible in the rearview mirror, connect deeply with your current state. What are the concerns and interests that have the most significance for you right now? What music, art, books or movies are you moved by currently? What are you resisting or reluctant to do? Are there any things you are trying to force into existence? And what synchronicities have you noticed recently?
Connecting deeply to our present state, or “getting current” as Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way names it, prepares you for creating your wishes and dreams for the coming year, Step 3.
Step 3: The year in advance
What do you want in your life in the coming year? In all areas of your life – work, family, personal relationships, fun, home/environment – what do you want to have happen? Take each area individually and explore for yourself what your heart desires. From changing jobs to being more present with your children to hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon with your best friend from grade school, write them all down. Explore the contours of your dreams for the coming year.
The more you allow yourself to play in this exercise, the more you will connect with what you are yearning to make happen in your life. And when you allow yourself to think about it, you start the amazing process of bring it into being.
The best part of this exercise comes a year from now. Once you’ve completed this process, put the journal away until next year. Then, start the process with a leisurely read of the past year’s entry. You will come away amazed and inspired by what transformed in your life in the past year.
Do you have other end-of-year rituals? Please let me know in the comments.