With only a few days to go before we embark on another turn around the sun, it’s a prime time to celebrate – or at least acknowledge – the year that has been and set yourself up right for the unwritten one to come.
Here are seven ways that can help you get ready for January and an extraordinary new journey.
1. Listen to Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen
What began as a published essay by Mary Schmich (intended as a hypothetical commencement speech), soon become a viral email, and then an adapted spoken word recording released by Baz Luhrmann in 1999.
Nearly 20 years after its first appearance in the Chicago Tribune, the advice still rings incredibly true and Mary’s light hearted yet profound perspective is worth being reminded of at least once a year.
A few favourites:
“Don’t worry about the future or worry that know that worrying is as affective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.”
“Don’t waste your time on jealousy – sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind, the race is long and in the end, it’s only with yourself”
“Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either, your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.”
“Enjoy your body, use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own. Dance.”
2. Do an annual audit.
Much like the life audit process we shared last January, take the time to reflect on and write down what aspects of your year have brought you joy, tension, comfort or stress. Which of these would you like to keep and build on and what would you like to change and release?
It’s important to honour both the good and the bad – each offer their own set of experiences and lessons.
Perhaps start with listing all the things you’re proud of. And then all the things you’re done with – i.e. anything that should have a December 31st 2016 expiry date.
*Side-note: You can watch Google’s own 2016 audit, ‘A Year In Search’ here.
3. Wardrobe (and general belongings) cull
There is nothing quite as therapeutic and liberating as a spring clean out…well in this case, a winter or summer one depending which hemisphere you reside.
If you haven’t worn it or used it since this same date 12 months ago, off to the charity shop it goes! There’s someone somewhere who would get much more use and pleasure from item that’s simply gathering dust in your attic. And you’ll start the year with only the things you absolutely love in your life. What a great thought…
4. Create a Vision Board
Who doesn’t enjoy the simple joy of cutting and sticking? It’s cathartic, non-prescriptive and delivers a crafty fix no matter what your level of artistic talent. A lovely way of envisioning – even manifesting – your year ahead is to make a vision board of the things you want to fill it with. Grab a group of friends, a stack of Collective Hub back issues (we design them for just this kind of use), your favourite music and rip out anything and everything you’re instinctively drawn to. Try not to put too much thought into the end result and see what magical picture appears.
Hang it somewhere that ensures you’ll get a glimpse everyday then this time next year look back at your board and see if any of the words/places/events/feelings came to life for you.
5. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT be tempted to make unrealistic resolutions
e.g. ‘I will turnover $1 million in my first month of a new business.’
Instead, try making a couple of bigger picture promises to yourself. For instance, ‘I will do one thing every day that scares me.’ Or, ‘I will factor in time for art/music/some sort of aimless creativity every weekend.’
More specific targets can be really helpful too but only if you give yourself a framework for measuring achievable progress. What does your goal look like in a week’s time, a month’s time, six months time, a year’s time? So often we set ourselves up for failure by over-shooting straight to the end result without breaking down the very commendable steps that get us there.
So what does getting fitter mean one milestone at a time? Could it be committing to a gym, buying a hula hoop, attending a salsa class, walking to work? Don’t pretend like you’re going to be running ultra-marathons by June, it will only lead to disappointment!
And arguably most important of all, make sure you share your intentions with someone – it makes the goal accountable, plus gives you some support and encouragement along the way.
6. Find a new cause
Sir Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” There really is no better way of giving your new year purpose and meaning than taking some the focus off your own world and shifting it to help better someone else’s. Whether your heart is pulled most by animal conservation, medical research, community outreach, international crises or civil liberties, follow the tug and find out how your time and skills can be used for a greater good.
7. Ponder and declare what you truly want 2017 to bring you. Pick just three words.
And just for fun, maybe give it a theme tune too!