Updated: Jan 19
These rituals by Cyprian writer Jessica Stillman will tune up your psychology and set you up for success in 2019.
If you really want to soar in 2019, end-of-the-year planning isn't just about getting your strategy straight and your financial house in order. You also need to get your head right, and that means tuning up your psychology, renewing your mental resources, and recommitting to your deepest values.
In short, you don't just need to review and reflect on business matters. You also need to review and reflect on your life, and the way to do that is with rituals. Science has proven that taking concrete actions to mark a new state of mind really does affect our feelings and behaviour.
So what end-of-year rituals are best? The internet is littered with suggestions, though the best bet might just be whatever feels most natural and effective for you. Here are a few suggestions to get you thinking.
1. Give thanks, in writing.
Gratitude is one of the best studied and most powerful happiness boosters out there. Counting your blessings strengthens your positivity muscles, putting you on a more optimistic footing for the year ahead. Take some time to send your customers or team hand-written thank-you notes.
2. Declutter your space, and your brain.
Changing your physical environment can have a surprisingly profound effect on your mentality, so one way to convince your brain it's time to turn a new page and leave the burdens of the past behind is to physically chuck some stuff. You could opt for this comprehensive holiday clean-out plan or simply designate an area of your home, office, or life to ruthlessly declutter.
3. Counteract any lingering suckage.
If you're among those struggling to regain your mental balance after a big year, entrepreneur and financial coach Denise Duffield-Thomas suggests this straightforward ritual to combat the suckage and reclaim your positivity.
Grab a partner, she instructs, and then sit down with a piece of paper and start completing this sentence: "This year, I'm proud of ... " If you run out of steam, your partner can gently prod you with "What else?" Keep going until you have thought of 30 to 50 brags, big or small, business or personal.
Suddenly, 2018 won't seem so uniformly awful after all, and you'll be reminded that even in bad times, you managed to salvage some good. Now imagine what you can do in the year ahead!
4. Remind yourself how much you've learned.
Just as you probably accomplished more this year than you remember, you also probably learned more than you realise. However, the key to getting the most out of that new knowledge is actually putting it to use. This ritual from coach Christi Heisted can help.
"Cull your notes from the conferences, classes, and webinars you've attended throughout the year, as well as the books you've read. Summarize your key learnings and set your top 3-5 action steps. Knowledge is great, but knowledge plus implementation makes you unstoppable," she writes.
5. Make peace with your failures (and your enemies).
While counting your blessings in various ways is a powerful way to end the year, it also helps to put to bed any conflicts and regrets you've racked up too. Wellness blog Thought Catalog offers several good suggestions on how to do this.
For instance, try forgiving an enemy. "Forgiveness doesn't mean welcoming someone back into your life. It doesn't even necessarily mean contacting them again. It just means making the conscious decision to let go of any anger, resentment and blame that you've been holding onto. It means accepting that we're all fallible people, and allowing ourselves to head into the new year with peace in relation to that fact," explains the blog. Science suggests this will do wonders for your own mental health.
Another idea from Thought Catalog is to face your own failures from the previous year head on. "It's tough to make it through the year without a single failure. But rather than dragging that beaten horse into the New Year alongside you, have the strength and the audacity before this year ends to let it go. To accept that you have failed. To let disappointment sink in, but also to revel in the freedom it allows you," the post suggests.
6. Learn to expect the unexpected.
It's easy after something happens to feel that it was inevitable, but it's only hindsight that's 20/20. Remind yourself of that fact and make space in your life for surprises with one more cool ritual from Thought Catalog. "Make a concrete list of all the places life has taken you in the past year that you didn't expect -- and let it serve as a reminder that the coming year will likely be full of surprises, too," the site advises.
7. Light a (literal) fire.
New Year’s Eve is a good opportunity to gather around a backyard or beach fire pit with loved ones. Use that as an opportunity to practice a powerful end of year ritual. Write down all your fears and grievances and burn them to cinders before the clock strikes midnight! As the paper burns, watch all your concerns fly off into the universe!
By Jessica Stillman