I love December, even though many people are tired at the end of a year, with a short fuse and counting down the days until they can take a vacation, there is just something about the vibe of December that makes me happy. South African summers, Highveld thunderstorms in the late afternoon, having a braai with friends, drinks with lots of ice and of course Christmas! I always try to find closure at the end of the year and start the new year fresh and without baggage from the year before. In order to find closure, you need to reflect on the year that has passed, and what a year 2016 has been! Not only for me personally, but the world in general, think Trump, Brexit, Harambe, South Africa’s revolution and so the list goes on.
I believe that in order to move on and start a new chapter, you need to close the last one. I am #Teamleavethepastinthepast and wanted to share a few steps you can take to close off the chapter of 2016 and get ready for 2017.
One of the themes that came up several times during 2016 was the concept of being thankful. I am a huge fan of Leandie Du Randt #fangirl, and she once again reiterated the concept of being thankful during her last show of her tour this year. Always find something to be grateful for, even when you are feeling lower than low. So take some time, write down things you are thankful for, things that happened during the year that were small miracles, blessings in disguise or just that fact that you are able breathe, have a home and those clothes that you are wearing right now. If you are one for new year resolutions, why not try to keep a gratitude journal? Write something down that you are grateful for everyday. I do this during my morning devotionals and it has helped me to see the good even during bad days.
2. Highs and Lows
Reflect on the year, the events that stood out for you and pinpoint 5 highs and 5 lows. If you need help with this, maybe go through all the photo’s you took during the year to remember all the memories you made. The highs are likely to be things you excelled in, a new job, a goal reached etc and the lows might be setbacks you faced or feelings of sadness or grief. These events shaped you during the year. Without them you would still be the person you were at the start of 2016. Identify, acknowledge and celebrate your growth during 2016.
It is inevitable that somewhere during the year someone wronged you or hurt you in some shape or form. I found this quote on forgiveness which is very profound:
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” Lewis B. Smedes
I want to to think about those grudges you are still holding, and forgive them for their actions. I am not saying that you are excusing their behaviour and that you need to go back to a bad relationship or continue a business transaction with that particular person, but forgive them, set yourself free from those feelings of hurt or hate and learn from the situation. Your time and thoughts are precious, don’t waste it on someone who is not worth your effort.
Plan for next year, it does not have to be an elaborate plan with detailed actions, but just let you mind wander for a while. Where do you want to be next year? Who do you want to be? What do you want to change about yourself? What skills do you want to acquire? What makes you happy? What do you want to do more of? What do you want to do less of?
Just create this ideal life, ideal YOU in your head and let those thoughts guide you into the new year.
5. Burn it
Once you have written all of these down, go outside (in a safe environment) and burn that piece of paper. There is something magical about seeing a piece of paper burn and to imagine those words you wrote disappear with the flames. I have done this for many years, the fire makes it feel final, letting those thoughts, hurt and baggage from the year go up in smoke is very satisfying.
I hope that you close of the chapter of 2016 in an epic way and that you prepare yourself for the next year which will hold it’s own challenges, victories, hurt and joy. What a great thing it is to be alive!
“Often it’s in the deepest pain which empowers you to grow into your highest self”
Photo credit: Venessa van Heerden – Sepia Moon Solutions