At the end of the year, decade, or even the week, we have an opportunity to draw a line under what has and hasn’t happened. We draw a line under what was before… and get ready for what’s about to come. Trouble is, most of us aren't actually clear on how to make a fresh start and create change that really sticks.
If you want to make a truly effective commitment to change in any form, read on to understand how to make a fresh start that lasts.
Happy new year?
New year is probably the most potent experience of this opportunity – when we collectively experience that looking back/looking forward feeling. Trouble is, we tend to arrive there bloated and fed up after a holiday of overindulging, in the company of those who don’t always bring out our best.
Maybe you feel it on your birthday – that sense of a year passing. Who hasn’t felt that moment of “Oh god – I thought I’d be WAY more sorted by now!”?
Regardless of how “together” we look on the outside, or how much success others tell us we’ve had. That little voice which whispers “You should have done more / earned more / been better” can be a pesky one to get rid of.
A time of opportunity
At these times we have an opportunity to set our course for what’s to come. But all too often, we go about it in a way that sets us up to fail.
It’s not about how you frame what it is you want to do in the coming months.
Some of us make resolutions.
Some us avoid them at all cost.
What we rarely do is make the time to what needs doing at these moments.
Clearing out, learning from and releasing what's past – whether it’s the year, decade, quarter or week. SO that we can ACTUALLY create some NEW intentions.
Not reactionary promises rooted in guilt, that will result in us feeling like we’ve let ourselves down all over again!
Thinking and thanking
If we choose to, we can experience this “fresh start” at the beginning of every day. And one way I set myself up to do that is to do a simple exercise at the end of the day that’s gone before.
(See a theme emerging here? It’s how we end what’s past that’s often the missing piece of our good intentions!)
The process is as simple as it sounds.
First, I think back over what’s happened. The good, the bad, the mess ups, the moments of serendipity. I try to reflect on it all, honestly and
And I give thanks in my heart for the good things – the coincidences, the people who’ve helped me. In doing that, I choose to focus on the positives, rather than dwell on the things that didn’t go well.
I'm not alone. Amanda Nguyen is the founder of Rise, a social movement accelerator that fights for sexual assault survivors’ rights, she’s written 27 laws that have helped 72 million people. She’s been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. So this is a woman who knows a thing or two about being effective.
“Every night, I text my girlfriends five things I’m grateful for, and they share five things they’re grateful for, too. It’s really helpful. It’s a meditative practice. Even if things aren’t great, you always have something to be grateful for.”
It’s a weekly practice in our team meetings, too. Every member of the team shares a “win” from the previous week, as well as acknowledging someone else for their contribution. It’s one way we consciously foster gratitude and focus on our positives as well as the inevitable challenges we come across.
Where to start?
As well as thinking and thanking, try spending some time really digging into what you've experienced and what you might be able to learn from it.
Here are some prompts which you can use in your journal to begin to reflect and let go on what’s passed. You can reflect on any period of time – a year, a week, a decade. Just let the memories and ideas flow, without censoring them.
- Where were you twelve months ago? What was worrying you then? What was your biggest goal?
- What lessons have you learned?
- How did you learn them?
- What did you do for the first time this year?
- What would you be happy to do for the last time?
- What change are you ready to create?
Take a moment to celebrate everything you've been through. The successes, the challenges, the unexpected curveballs. You've made it to today – and the future is filled with possibility.
Want some support?
Our BeOne group is an extraordinary community – and it’s the perfect place to share what you’re grateful for, the challenges you've overcome, and the lessons you've learned.
If you’d like some support and tips on how to turn this reflection into action, this Tuesday 31st December I’ll be hosting a live session in the group, all about how to release the year that’s gone.
We’ll be reflecting on what’s passed and I’ll be sharing my tips on letting go of the past so that you’re in the best place to move forward.
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