There is something so exciting and magical about a new year. I know that January 1st is just another day for some. And for others, those “new year, new me” resolutions usually don’t make it halfway through January. But it’s undeniable that there is a tremendous shift of momentum as one calendar year ends and another begins. Although nothing actually changes but the date, for many of us it becomes a time for new beginnings, transformation, and endless possibilities… a chance to put the past behind us and start fresh. We often feel a powerful surge in motivation and inspiration, so it’s the perfect time to end bad habits, start new routines, commit to goals, and set intentions that will lead us to great things.
The common problem is that most people do not follow through with their goals or lose sight of them throughout the year as life takes us in different directions. So it’s simply not enough to set a few resolutions. The key to overcoming aspirations that never materialize and to actually achieving long-lasting results lies in planning and preparation. Spending some time on this will greatly increase your success in conquering goals during the coming year. Remember, the New Year will be what YOU make it.
For me personally, I have a distinct New Year’s Day ritual that has become more refined over the years. It’s a very important and sacred time of deep reflection where I reserve the day to look back on the previous year and take inventory of the things I’ve accomplished. More importantly, I spend a lot of time setting goals and intentions for the year ahead. I meditate, read enlightening material, rest, and basically take a “me day” to mentally and spiritually prepare myself for the year ahead and to get refocused on my goals. It is a form of self-love and an awesome way to start the year off right. This small investment pays off big time, as it has made me much more successful in not only reaching goals but also in manifesting my dreams one by one.
So why not seize this opportunity to maximize the year’s potential?
10 tips for your own special New Year reflection routine
1. Review the goals you set for the last year. If you didn’t set any, then shame on you! If you did, then take some time to really analyze what you did and did not accomplish. Being honest with yourself is key.
For goals that you knocked out, you absolutely deserve to celebrate and feel proud of yourself. It’s an amazing feeling to earn something you set out to do and worked hard at!
For things that did not come to fruition, simply let it be a lesson learned. Do not, I repeat DO NOT, beat yourself up about it. Every single one of us will miss targets we set or have things come up that prevent us from achieving goals, or maybe we just didn’t get around to it. Perhaps you didn’t lose weight or get the new job you wanted. Life happens. Don’t dwell on it or feel guilty for where you may have felt short, as this serves you no purpose. Instead, channel that energy to crush a lingering goal in the next year and to push yourself even harder.
I even go as far as to grade myself on how well I did on each goal, and I use negative scores to motivate me. I also write down my “highs and lows” for the year, which means my favorite memories and some things that didn’t go as planned or set me back. It’s important to acknowledge both the positive and negative in order to really reflect.
2. Benchmark yourself. Compare where you were at this time last year with where you are today. In what ways have you changed and what have you learned? Is your life better, worse, or the exact same? Are you happier? Goals are very necessary, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. We should always be able to say we have grown, evolved, and become better in some way. Complacency is dangerous so always make sure you are progressing into the best you. A new year is the perfect point in time to assess where you were and where you stand now.
3. Revisit your long term goals. Again, if you don’t have any or don’t write them down, get on it! This is SO very important. Each one of us should have a list of things we wish to accomplish not only in the next year, but also another list of larger things for the next 5-year time frame. These could be things like pay off debt, volunteer, buy a home, earn a degree, start a business. Items that you may not be able to realistically accomplish in one year, but are actively working on or pursuing. Each year, you should revisit and see which ones you may have knocked out, or other ones you need to focus in on.
Also remember to be flexible and reevaluate your long term goals, as sometimes they change as you grow and your life shifts in different directions. Previously, I listed buying a home as an important goal, but that is no longer a priority at this point in my life due to where I live now. I had to remove this from my list, and that is totally okay!
Even further, writing down your bucket list of things to do before you die (places to travel to, learning to play an instrument or speak a language, running a marathon, etc.) is also helpful and even fun. We all have a million things we say we want to do eventually and usually never get around to, but actually putting in on paper and organizing your aspirations makes it more official. This way, you are far more likely to go after these things and them a reality, no matter how big or how small. (For more info on bucket lists, check out my post on them!)
4. Set new goals for the coming year. What are you seeking to accomplish this year? This can be continuations of already existing goals, such as working hard in your career, but also make sure to add some new ones too. Push and challenge yourself. Maybe you want to start a blog, save up $10,000, or plan a trip to Europe. The sky is the limit! Just remember to keep your goals attainable, realistic, measurable, and practical.
5. Set your intentions. This goes even deeper than goals. Goals are what you want to do, while intentions are what you want to be. What priorities do you want to focus on in the New Year? What specific areas are most important? Your health, family, spirituality, finances, hobbies? Or maybe it’s just self-love and confidence? What vibes are you setting for how you want to live your life? Do you want to live more positively, live in the moment, or get rid of toxic people and learn to say no? Do you want to spend more time on gratitude, eat healthier, save more money, or be better about time management? Picking a few areas of focus will really set the tone for the coming year, and will help to fine-tune and polish the goals you need to set.
6. Dig deeper to ask yourself some tough questions. It’s not like we do this often throughout the year, so this time of self-awareness is the perfect opportunity to get heavy. Here are some I use for myself:
- What am I grateful for?
- How have I changed for the better?
- What things do I need to work on?
- What is holding me back or preventing me from things I have not been able to accomplish?
- Where do you I see myself in 10 years?
- What am I doing to make the world a better place?
- What are my core values?
- What do I want people to say about me when I die? (a REALLY heavy one for ya!)
- Who is important to me?
- What do I need to let go of?
- How do I make people feel when they’re around me?
- What is my ultimate purpose in this lifetime?
7. Create a vision board (or work on your existing one). This is done many ways for different people, but for me, it involves cutting out words or pictures from magazines that embody my goals and dreams, and piecing them together in a large presentation. I place this in my bedroom in a place where I see it every day. Doing this makes these things become more ingrained into your mind so you see them regularly and therefore think about them constantly. This is important since our thoughts are vibrations that attract similar vibrations. Don’t underestimate how powerful visualization is. It’s a highly effective tool that will channel your energy with the Law of Attraction to manifest everything you desire. I am being completely honest when I say that the more I work on mine, the more it helps to brings amazing things I want into my life.
8. Write in a journal. Making lists is one thing, but sometimes it’s also great to just let yourself write. This is something that no one ever has to see, and something you yourself never have to read again if you don’t want to. So be honest and let it flow freely. You’ll be surprised at how much comes out and how therapeutic it can be. It’s been the greatest tool for healing and self-discovery for me personally. Also, if you’re struggling with forgiveness, write the person who wronged you a letter that you’ll never give to them. Let it all out. It works miracles and is a great tool for letting go and moving forward. Do not bring old baggage or grudges with you into the New Year. This is a very healthy vehicle to let go of things that may be holding you back or are not serving you.
9. Meditate. I know people have different feelings and experiences with meditation, and believe me it’s something I still struggle with and do not make nearly enough time for. But it’s so crucial! Even if you just sit in silence for a few minutes, relax, breathe, and observe your thoughts, it is truly incredible how transformative and peaceful this can be. I cannot recommend this enough.
10. Pray. This is another powerful tool and what better time than during this process? Regardless of your religious or spiritual beliefs, anyone can pray for their goals to manifest and for guidance along the way. Ask for clarity, focus, prosperity, success, love, and anything else you’d like to be blessed with during the New Year. My personal belief is that the Universe is always listening.
I understand that a lot of this is difficult for some people to do, and others may scoff at how cumbersome this can be. But for me it has been imperative in being successful and creating the life I have always wanted. I personally cannot imagine how anyone can get ahead or follow their dreams without putting in the work to strategize, plan, and look within. It has been extremely effective and profound for me in so many ways.
– Be flexible, but not too much. Allow yourself to be realistic about life events that change your plans or come in the way of your goals, but don’t allow yourself to slack off or make excuses.
– This does not have to be limited New Year’s Day. For me, this is what works best since I like to capitalize on the energy shift that occurs at this time. However, it could be whenever your heart desires or when the mood strikes. This is all about you and what works best.
– It’s also just as important to spend time throughout the year to review and reassess everything periodically to make sure you’re on track. A monthly check-in and mid-year review work great for me. In order to be consistent, follow-up is a must.
– Remember to be gentle with yourself. Don’t harp on the past or on mistakes made. The point of this is to plan for the future so you can and will improve. Just setting aside some time for this reflection activity already shows you’re on the right track.
A common theme I keep seeing is that overall, 2016 has been a rough and unforgiving year for many. It was certainly full of highs and lows for me. On the bright side, I started this blog, got promoted at my full-time job, traveled 11 different times and explored 3 new countries, fell in love, had a baby (Chihuahua to be exact), got to attend so many incredible events, and in general, made myself proud by staying on track with goals I set. However, I also faced many challenges, setbacks, and went through one of the darkest times of my entire life. Many things happened that I didn’t plan for or expect. But life is all about balance. There cannot be rainbows and sunshine without a little storm here and there. So I have learned to embrace it all, both good and bad. I would not be the strong and resilient woman I have become without opportunities to grow and overcome. Things may not always go as planned, but that doesn’t mean that having a plan isn’t critical. If anything, it keeps me sane along the way. So when I sit down and do my New Year reflection in a few days, I will be gentle with myself as I recommend you to do as well. The entire idea of doing this routine comes purely out of self-love and self-care. Doing this helps me to be the best I can be. I have come a long way, but I have a long way to go. That is the beauty of this journey called life.
Good luck and Happy New Year to each of you! I hope that 2017 is filled with love, positivity, blessings, good vibes, great travels, and everything you wish to manifest.