End of Year Rituals: How to Start 2019 with Joy, Anticipation and Clarity

Happiness, Wellbeing / Friday, December 21st, 2018

I don’t know how you are feeling, but the year 2018 just seems to have flown by for me. It almost feels like I haven’t really been able to grab it at any point. It’s a bit like when my dog tries to catch a fly. She waits patiently, first watching the fly sit on her nose and fly around it. Then, suddenly, she attacks and tries to snatch it, but still always seems to miss it by just that little bit. This is how 2018 has been for me.

This is also why I believe it is so important to pause and to reflect everything that happened this year. To make time for myself, for my end of year rituals. So often day by day nothing changes, but when we look back at the whole year we realise how much we may have learnt, achieved or let go. The last few weeks of the year are a great chance that we are given by the universe. A chance to self-reflect and to redirect ourselves. Using end of year rituals helps to make this process easier and gives us a guideline for setting goals for the year come.

1. Monthly Review

The first ritual I can highly recommend is a monthly review. This includes listing each month individually and asking yourself some questions about it that you are then answering. The three questions I usually use are:

  1. What have I achieved?
  2. What have I learnt?
  3. What have I let go?

You can of course adapt this and add specific questions that may be related to a certain month, e.g. if your work concentrates on a specific event each year or a big life event happened you would add more questions and so on. I usually keep it pretty simple with not too many questions, but you can go as crazy with this as you would like.

One important thing though: Make sure to actually write your answers down. By hand. On paper. It may seem old-fashioned, but I think in this case it adds personality and clarity to the whole ritual. Plus that way you can keep your notebook and look back at it a few years later. I like this ritual, because it gives me an overview and also a boost of energy and self-confidence to see everything listed. In the end we usually achieve and do more than we give ourselves credit for.

2. Decluttering Your Mind and Your Home

My second ritual is to declutter and let go everything I do not want to take into the new year. This could be thoughts, mindsets, beliefs when talking about our inner lives and decluttering our house on the outside. Home office and clothes cupboard are good places to start. What has piled up over the year that is not really needed anymore? What have you bought and changed your mind on after that could now serve somebody else better?

However, I think it is best not to just throw things out but think about other uses. Could you sell or donate the item so it can have a second chance somewhere? Moreover, this will show you whether you have made too many consumer decisions and purchases that weren’t really thought through and could be avoided in the future. You don’t have to declutter everything, but every bit helps. Freeing up some space and putting things in order will give you clarity to finish the year and you will feel good and happier about what is yet to come.

Of course, this ritual could mean different things for different people. I mentioned clothes and home office first because they are probably the areas I personally tend to indulge in the most over the year. I could happily buy stationery all day long. No idea why, but I just love it. If you love cooking, you may want to tidy up your kitchen and find things you have not used in a while. If you are obsessed with books and DVDs maybe you want to put them in a new order or give them a good dust and clean. If you are into gardening, you can trim your plants and tidy everything around your house.

To declutter your mind, write down some thoughts and beliefs that come to you that you want to let go and that don’t serve you any longer, e.g. “I am not good enough” or “I cannot handle money well”. Then reverse your list and turn your negative statements into positive ones. In this case: “I am good enough” and “I handle money with ease and I deserve to live in abundance”. Put your reversed list somewhere where you can see it and are reminded of it frequently.

3. Letter to Self

My third ritual is to write a letter to myself which I will open a year later on the last day of the year. This letter usually contains my current personal thoughts, things that happened during the year and what I am hoping to achieve in the next year. There is no real plan to it, I just start writing and see what happens.

Reading my letter from the year before always gives me a bit of a weird feeling, but also fills me with positivity and energy to keep going and to chase my goals. It can also make me quite emotional, but it is good to be reminded how I felt a year ago and to evaluate what has changed since then.

Additionally, you can create a folder or a box where you keep every year’s letter and this will one day make a nice collection of your end of year thoughts, ideas and plans. Year by year.

What About You?

I would love to know what you think about these rituals and what your own end of year rituals are. What brings you joy to do at the end of the year? How do you reflect on it? How do you prepare for the new year?

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