How will you say goodbye to 2022—and what would you like to be able to celebrate in one year’s time? Endings and beginnings can be powerful transitions in our lives. As we approach the end of 2022, I encourage you to take some time to consider what you want to release—and what goals or milestones you want to reach in 2023.
Make space for reflection over the holiday season. Walk through a set of questions and spend a little time journaling your thoughts. Writing is a powerful tool for reflection as you identify what isn’t working and open yourself to activating more of what works well for you.
Reflection: Take a quick look at this year’s greatest hits. Scan your year month by month, week by week, day by day—whichever way best serves you. Be mindful of your highs and lows—spend more time on your highs. What went really well for you this year—and how can you leverage that success as you look into 2023? What didn’t work so well for you—and what tweaks do you need to consider moving forward? Don’t let yourself get bogged down in maudlin memories—just acknowledge what you want to let go of to make space for what you want more of in your life. Think of it as cleaning out a closet, or a garage. You can’t park that Maserati if your garage is full of a year’s worth—or more—of outdated detritus. These are some of my framing questions:
- What did you love about this year? What worked really well for you? What should we be celebrating in your life?
- What did you hate about this year? What didn’t work so well for you? What do-overs would you give yourself?
- What were your most joyful moments this year? What do you want more of, looking forward?
- What were you most painful moments? What do you want less of, looking forward?
- What did you learn about yourself?
- What was the best decision you made this year?
Ritual: I call my favorite end-of-year ritual “Burn Baby, Burn!” I’ve done this activity collectively to celebrate the end of a New Year’s Eve party, at workshops and retreats, and sometimes all alone in my backyard. It begins with a brief period of reflection. Guests receive small squares of paper and pens/pencils and are invited to consider what they loved and didn’t love about the past year. I ask them to think of one thing they want to release, say goodbye to, remove, delete from their lives forever—and to write that down on a piece of paper. Questions I like to ask include:
- What do you need to do to clear your own runway for takeoff?
- What barriers stand between you and success?
- What are you dying to unload or unleash in your life?
- What’s holding you back?
- What habit or practice do you need to stop doing? What do you need to get rid of and eliminate from your life?
Write them all down—and get ready to cast them all off—this is where the fire comes in! I start a small bonfire in my backyard (are my country roots showing yet?) and invite my guests to join me in the frigid winter air. One by one, guests approach the fire and are invited to hold up that piece of paper and proclaim (either silently or out loud) what they are releasing—and then toss it into the fire. Or rip it up into tiny pieces and then toss it into the fire. There will be some tears and there be a lot of rejoicing as the fire builds and your guests experience the freedom of letting go!
Reframe: The last step of my annual reflection and renewal process—and the perfect ending for the “Burn Baby, Burn!” experience—is to breathe in the new. Invite everyone to reflect on what is good, acceptable, and perfect about their lives. I like to encourage my guests with the ancient wisdom of St. Paul: “forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.” Invite your guests to release what has been turned to ashes and to commit to a new habit, practice, promise, or way of being. Have them write down this renewal pledge as a way of saving it in their hearts and minds.
Real change is possible—and transitioning into a new year is a great time to double down on what you want to invite more of in your life. Give yourself the gift of clarity and support as you move toward your own challenges and commitments with renewed intention. Find a friend, hire a coach, sketch out your action plan and post it where you’ll see it every day, invest in an online program—give yourself whatever you need to support the changes you seek. And get ready to celebrate your success at the end of 2023!