Welcome the New Year
December 31st marks a transition from the close of the current year to the beginning of the new year. The new year, 365 days from beginning to end, in which to live with intention, thought, and consideration of that which was and that which could be. Although it is only a turn of the calendar page, or perhaps a whole new calendar entirely, many people take the opportunity to ritualize the transition and to begin the year with ideas for positive growth and change.
Rituals can be as simple as watching the ball drop in Times Square (either on the television or in person), getting together with friends and family to share food and cheers for the new year, or to make a list of intentions or goals as a way to start the year focused on the path of purpose.
It is a common ritual or tradition to make a new year’s resolution. I recently saw a segment on a morning talk show about the 5 top new year’s resolutions—on that list were “To be a better person”, “To lose weight”, “To eat healthier”, and a couple others I can’t remember. These are pretty general goals which could use a lot of clarifying for best outcome…how exactly do you know when you’re “a better person” and would you be happy losing only a pound this year? The intention is definitely positive, yet more actionable (and measurable) resolutions can be the difference between a positive idea and a positive result.
When thinking of a resolution or intention, make it fairly concrete and consider what the outcome will look like, and make that your intention. For instance, if you want to “be a better person”, does this mean you want to speak with more kindness and less criticism? Or, to have a compassion practiceor meditate for 20 minutes a day? Maybe being “a better person”, for you, means that you spend more time with family or friendsthat you don’t see often. Whatever the case, state what you will do and how often in order to achieve the intention you would like.
Some other rituals for welcoming the new year:
Review the year— take a walk down memory lane. You can do this as a conversation, in your journal, or as a silent remembrance. What happened this past year in your personal and work/school life? What were your accomplishments? Celebrate the accomplishments without guilt, shame, or shyness, feel whole-hearted joy for your achievements. What were some memorable events (happy and sad)? What goals/intentions did you start the year with and what worked and what didn’t? Who did you spend your time with this past year? Remember friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and others in your community. What did you learn? What challenged you and do you see these challenges as opportunities for growth? What would you like to let go of? How will you integrate all that this past year has offered you?
Start the new year fresh- Out with the old and clean out the clutter. Part with things you no longer use or need- giving away objects that could be reused and reloved by someone else. Clean the house, empty trashcans, clean out the refrigerator and pantry of expired or old goods, sweep the floors, change your bedsheets, do the laundry… Start with a clean slate and clean home and contemplate the possibilities of the new year ahead of you.
Welcome good luck and prosperity
Invite in positive energy and release difficult energies. After the house is tidy, a ritual for releasing difficult energies is to place salt in the corners of each room, cleanse your entrance with white vinegar, open the windows, and ring a bell, singing bowl, or chanting as you imagine the difficult energies leaving your home. Then, invite in positive energy by bringing in the new- add fresh flowers or plants to your home, a new candle, or a piece of art. If you feel compelled, rearrange your furniture or create an area dedicated to beauty, love, career, family, and connection.
Set your intention for the new year. As the clock strikes midnight (or sometime around the change of the year) on December 31st, set the tone for your year by stating your intention or wish- say it out loud, write it down, or simply repeat it internally while connecting to feelings of love and joy and possibility. It is often helpful to write out your intention, put it in a place that is visible or accessible to you so that you can remind yourself, in the coming days, of all that you would like to create and embody. And, if you feel creative, make it into a visionboard (add pictures, words, poetry, ideas) to enhance your focus and inspiration on the path toward the intention and the life that you envision.
And, to close, these words from Neil Gaiman’s (writer, creator, speaker) blog from many years ago…
...I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you'll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you'll make something that didn't exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind. --Neil Gaiman