With only a few more days before we welcome the new calendar year, many of us are already starting to think of resolutions for 2009, setting goals and making decisions about what we wish to accomplish in the new year. It seems that many people are eager to forget 2008 or, rather, are hoping that 2009 will be better in some ways. I feel it is unfair, however, to forget an entire 12-month period in our lives, or to dismiss it as unsatisfactory to our goals. Every past and present experience in our lives contributes to future events while making us stronger and better able to face these events.
Before starting to set positive aspirations for the exciting months ahead, consider taking some time to review the year to which we are about to say ‘goodbye.’ After all, it seems rushed to welcome in the new year before bidding farewell to the equally important year that is about to escape out the door quietly while everyone happily awaits the time when the clock strikes midnight.
Sit down comfortably, and take a few deep breaths to centre yourself. In your journal, or on a sheet (or a few sheets) of paper, write down your memories from the past year. You may choose to reminisce of the happy experiences that you enjoyed and write them down first, later thinking of the experiences that may have brought some sadness into your life. As you think of each memory and record it, visualize the memory being filed on a shelf in your mind, where you know that it will remain carefully labelled, to allow you to access it at any time, if you wish.
Next, think back to this time last year, when you were celebrating New Year’s Eve 2008. Did you set any resolutions? Perhaps they are recorded in your diary. You may choose to return and read them to yourself to recall these details. Have you followed through with your goals? If you have accomplished all that you wished to accomplish, give yourself a pat on the back and record this in your notes. This is a time to celebrate your accomplishments, to which you may not have paid great attention until this time.
If you did not accomplish all that you had set to accomplish, please remember that this is normal. Instead of becoming upset over this fact, analyze why you did not meet your goals. It may very well be that the goals that you had set in January lost their importance as the year progressed. You may have grown and evolved into a different person, developing new, different interests and letting go of old patterns. Again, celebrate this growth and embrace it!
Perhaps 2008 was not the time to accomplish some of your goals. If they are still important to you in 2009, however, perhaps this is a time to rephrase your goals and start to think ahead about a different approach that you may wish to take in 2009 as you work to meet your aspirations. I will discuss this aspect in my next post.
Finally, summarize the year 2008 in one sentence. Think of this part of the exercise as writing a goodbye note to a good friend who is moving to another country and whom you will not see for a long time. Describe the year 2008 in terms that you would like to use to describe your friend. Please remember, 2008 will never return, as it has served its purpose in all our lives. It is giving way to fresh new experiences, having prepared us for whatever is to come. Take a minute to acknowledge this as you say goodbye to another wonderful year and prepare to welcome a new friend who has waited a long time to travel from afar.
Wishing you a wonderful New Year’s Eve celebration!
Affirmation: 'I bless my past as I prepare to open the door to an exciting future.'