Each New Year`s Eve, I perform a ritual that is so ingrained now that when I think I might not get a chance to do it, I actually begin to panic. It`s just something I need to do in order to face a new year with renewed faith and optimism in myself and my future.
Here`s what I do:
I take out my journal from the previous year, which has a list of goals for the year. I assess each goal with the following criteria: 1) accomplished, 2) still to do, 3) abandoned for good reason. I tally up each list and that gives me an idea of the balance of the year. Did I accomplish more than not? Did I rightly abandon some goals? Is my still-to-do column a repeat of last year’s?
Once I see where I’m at I write out my list of highlights for the year: work, personal life, health, family. This time ’round it helped that I had kept a Joy Jar that held little descriptions of some of the happier moments of 2013. This is the part of the ritual where I count my blessings and remind myself that, no matter the difficulties, the year was still filled with fun, joy and fulfillment.
Then I create a new list of goals. Some are continuations, some are totally new plans that are built on the progress, or because of a need to change direction.
I start this all at around 11 pm so that by the time midnight rolls around it’s done, and I’m filled with resolve and energy for new opportunities. Some people I know are full of this forward-looking momentum at the beginning of the school year, a throw-back to their years when September marked a fresh start. But since I have an end-of-the-year birthday, it just makes sense for me to do my review then. In fact, it just naturally happens that way.
I had a difficult work year in 2013, and I know I’m not the only one. What a relief to know that, although that fact took its toll on me, my Joy Jar revealed that my most content moments came through time spent with friends, surrounded by music, with my nose in a book, or with the two activities that sustain and inspire me: baking and writing.
All was not lost. It never is.