Welcome the New Year

Are you ready to welcome the New Year?

This sunset picture was taken right before the Christmas.
The sun disappearing on the horizon made me feel that we were approaching the end of the year.
We can watch just a few more 2017’s sunsets before 2018 arrives.

How do you feel when you think that another New Year is right around the corner? Sometime, we may feel awful when the New Year starts while nothing feels different.
Even if we made a big deal by attending a party to welcome the New Year, we wake up next morning and spend another week writing the previous year. Oops!

Is it normal to feel that way?
Or can we welcome the New Year without being hesitant, overwhelmed or intimidated?

In my experience, a little effort to prepare the New Year creates completely different results.
Reflecting and celebrating the last year has been my favorite preparation.
And guess what?
Now is the best time for it!!

If you are not familiar with reflection or meditation, let me share what I do.
It will help if you are not used to it.

 

1. Biologically the New Year already started.

After the winter solstice, the new solar cycle begins. The time when the sun sets in the evening is being delayed. Daylight is getting longer. (If you’re living in the Southern Hemisphere, you will experience the opposite.)
Our body recognizes the changes biologically. Our circadian rhythm adjusts.
Now I already started to call 2017 as the “last year”. And, it gives me a room to invite 2018.

 

2. Review 2017 for 15 Minutes.

I make a time to review my calendar, journal and schedule book quickly.
It doesn’t need to take more than 15 minutes. If it gets too long, you may miss the whole picture.
The 15-minute review is powerful. You never know how many important memories will be surfaced until you try yourself.

 

3. Ask Questions.

After reviewing, I ask the following questions to myself.
As I think about those questions and answers, I find gems that I’ve created or found throughout the year.
Some of the memories bring me pain or hurt. But even they hold wisdom and introspection underneath.
This process doesn’t need to be serious. When I talk with my wife (my best friend), it becomes joyous and exhilarated.

Last year,

◊ how was my physical health?

◊ how were my relationships and friendships? (new & old)

◊ how was my financial situation?

◊ what tasks/projects did I work on? And how did they go?

◊ what education/training did I take? (including the books I read)

◊ what did I celebrate? (even smallest events, eating out, watching movies, etc.)

◊ where did I travel?

◊ what was I happy about the most?

◊ what were my biggest challenges/worries?

 

I don’t push myself to find the answers right away. At this stage, I give myself enough time. Then core memories start to float upon the surface one by one. Sometimes a memory pops up when I take shower, sometimes right before I fall asleep. If you can talk with someone who shared the same memories, you can dive deeper. When you hear the same story from different perspectives, your introspection will rise above the roof.

 

4. Harvest the real fruits from 2017.

This is the most important part of the reflection.
At the beginning of the year, we sowed the seeds of our intentions and goals.
At the end of the year, we can harvest all the fruits and grains we’ve grown through the reflection.

I ask the following questions to myself:

♦ When was the most meaningful moment last year? And why?

♦ What were my most important accomplishments or fulfillments last year? And why? (I decide my accomplishments based on my values. They cannot be judged by others.)

♦ Who or what do I appreciate the most last year? And why?

♦ What lessons did I get from the last year’s challenges? How can I improve them next year?

♦ What could I have done “differently” last year? And how can I apply it in 2018?

♦ (If you have a long-term plan such as a 3-year plan) How did my accomplishment last year contribute to my long-term plan?

♦ If I have any old baggage that I don’t want to carry with me in 2018, what are those?
(We cannot change the facts that already happened. But we can change emotions, judgments, interpretation or life lessons regarding the fact. Write down any of them you don’t want to carry in the New Year.)

 

5. Let It Go and Celebrate.

Now it’s a time to join a New Year’s party!
Remember. A New Year’s party isn’t just another reason to drink and be hungover.

It’s an important event to let go of old baggage, celebrate our accomplishments, and welcome the New Year with our best friends and family members.
Burning candles or bonfire is a good way of letting go. However, talking with your best friends will be the best way to let go of them.
We also celebrate all we’ve accomplished last year.
Then we welcome the New Year with champagne, cheering and dancing.

 

Welcome the New Year

Sunset on the West Side of Kauai (on Dec. 23, 2017)

 

This is how I prepare my New Year. I hope it inspires you.
If you have your own way to prepare, that’s great!
If you found anything you can adapt from my article, please take as many as you want.
I will be glad to help you to prepare to welcome the new year with more hope and excitement!