Ahhh, here we are. A brand-new year. Just the idea of it brings to mind the thrill of sliding into freshly washed sheets.
But the truth is that those sheets, no matter how diligently you wipe your feet or shower before bed or avoid snacking in them (ahem), will get dirty again.
And your year, no matter how well you plan and how excited you get about the fresh start, will eventually feel like the same-old. It’s inevitable.
But the beauty of laundry is that (theoretically) you can get the feeling of fresh sheets any time you want. You have to do a bit of work, yes, but the possibility is there.
And I believe the same is true for your year. By all rights, March 22 and June 3 and September 14 and November 19 are just as good as January 1. They hold all the same promise of possibility, of beginning anew, of making change.
So how do you keep that new-year feeling going?
Well, I don’t know. (If you do, can you tell me?) Because all logic aside, there is something that feels special about January 1. We can’t help it.
But what I do know is that I want to keep the feeling going. I want the optimism, the clear-headedness, the excitement, the sense of possibility. I like that feeling. So I’m here to share a few things I’m doing this year to try to hold onto that feeling. Some I’ve done before and some are new to me, but all are helping me feel like I can keep coming back to that fresh-sheets, new-year feeling—because I’ll be constantly evaluating what works, what doesn’t, and where I’m heading, always knowing I can change directions any time I want (which seems to be at least part of the magic of a new year, no?).
>> Susannah Conway’s Unravelling the Year Ahead and Find Your Word course
I’ve done Unravelling the Year Ahead (which Susannah generously gives away for free year after year) every time she’s offered it. When fall hits, as others are going crazy for school supplies, I start daydreaming about doing this work. It’s that good.
In Unravelling, Susannah gently guides you to take a look at the year that’s passed and decide what you want more and less of in the year to come, making gentle commitments to yourself to forgive and take care of yourself as you go.
Last year, she added the Find Your Word course (also generously free), and it’s the perfect complement to Unravelling the Year Ahead. I had already been thinking a little about a word for 2016, but after doing the work, I chose a word that totally surprised me—and also immediately felt right.
Susannah does powerful work and I can’t recommend it enough!
>> Alaya Morning’s Work // Life // Self worksheets
A couple of months ago, Alaya offered a free online workshop called Work // Life // Self: Balancing It All Without Burning Out. In the workshop, we chose one of five life areas to focus on and went deep into how we wanted to feel, what was working, what wasn’t, and changes we could make (whether that’s adding things or letting go, internally or externally). Over the winter break, I printed out five copies of those worksheets and went deep into each area of my life, working through all of those things and coming up with some pretty intense insights. If you haven’t been following Alaya, check her out—she’s a beautiful, grounding presence in my life and I always love hearing from her.
>> Jess Lively’s Values-based intentions work
I have been following Jess for years, and have so enjoyed watching her grow into the place she’s in now. She is open, honest, enthusiastic, and just a joy to listen to (on her podcast).
I’ve attended two of her live Life with Intention free workshops, and taken copious notes—and now I plan to set aside some time, just as I did with Alaya’s work, and really set some intentions for myself.
I’d love to take her course the next time it opens up—I love the way she thinks about achievements and the three levels of success!
>> Jessica Peppler’s gentle guide to ushering in 2016
Jessica is a professional intuitive, and I love getting her weekly emails—she channels guidance specifically for us, and it’s spot on every time. She’s a beautiful presence in my life!
On her blog, she has offered up a beautiful, affirming practice to use any time you want to (in her words) hit the reset button. I won’t give away Jessica’s approach, but definitey go check it out—especially the part about the coconut!
I haven’t done this practice yet—I’m saving it for when I start to feel doubt or fear or stress creep in. I know it’ll be perfect at that time.
>> Tara Gentile’s concept of choosing a Chief Initiative
Many of you already know how much I love Tara. She just speaks about business in a way that makes sense to me, all while feeling approachable and relatable.
A while ago, she started talking about the idea of a Chief Initiative, and while I struggled with it at first, I’ve finally figured it out and boy is it powerful. The basic idea is that you only pick one big project or goal or intention (I know everyone uses different language here) to focus on for the next six to twelve months, and then you map out smaller projects / goals / intentions to support that one big thing. This is where the insights I’ve gained in the above work becomes real—where I make some commitments and start working toward them!
You can read a little more about it here and here (I went a bit more in-depth in a free workshop she offered). I can’t recommend Tara and all that she does (check out her CreativeLive classes, too) enough!
>> Regular check-ins
I’ve been doing regular check-ins for a while—each Friday, I do a weekly review where I tidy up from the week and plan out the next week, and do some small admin things that help keep me feeling sane.
But this year, I want to get more intentional about reviewing the big picture regularly. It’s way too easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and think, Oh, I’ll do that later—but I do best when I revisit the deep work I’ve done and see how things are shaping up. It definitely helps me keep fear and stress and overcommitment and comparison at bay!
I hope this list sparks some ideas for you—even if you don’t do any of the things I mentioned, I’m hoping you’ll feel encouraged to find your own ways to keep that new-year feeling going all year round! Your ideas and dreams are totally worth it.
(But don't feel like you immediately have to rush off and do everything on this list. That would be super overwhelming. I've done a couple of the things already, and I'm waiting to do a few more later. That's part of keeping that new-year feeling going—knowing you have time, and that you don't have to have it all figured out right now.)
If you’d like to share, I would love to hear what you have planned for this year!
With much love,