6 practices to intentionally ring in 2018 & spark more creativity, inspiration, & discovery in your work.
In a time where "Happy New Year" can bring up images of glittery dresses, loud crowds, and boozing until you black out, I encourage you to take a different approach to the start of 2018 and the end of 2017.
I hope that these practices help you to feel more centered, alive, and empowered as you move into the new year.
There are no right or wrong ways to engage with any of these practices. These are merely suggestions for you to consider creating a different way to celebrate the new year.
You don’t have to do these all at once; honestly, it’s best if you take it slow. I encourage you to revisit this page over the next few seasons. Bookmark it, print it out, save it in your email, whatever you need to do to keep it on hand and easily accessible. It’s OK to only try one or two of these practices, or none at all because the point is to think more intentionally and to shift your focus onto activities and experiences that open you up rather than shut you down.
Find a practice that calls to you, and then start there.
See where it takes you.
Happy New Year, friend.
1. Make a gratitude alter
Honor the end of the year of 2017 by making an alter that (whether it’s made of tangible objects or a Pinterest board or family photos made into a collage) celebrates from where you’ve come, the memories you’ve shared, the obstacles and challenges you’ve faced and moved beyond, the lessons you’ve learned, and the people whom you love the most. To start, think of what 2017 brought out for you; what did you learn? What did you overcome? What moved you and shaped you? What memories do you hold dear? Who, what, where, and when are you most grateful? Then, select objects or images that can represent those pieces of your 2017 and display them in a special spot in your office, home, backyard, or favorite place in nature.
Enjoy this sacred space you’ve just created for yourself, and spend time sitting in and around the little alter as you reflect on your past twelve months of growth and change. Say thank you to 2017 for bringing you what it brought and for being what it was.
2. Craft a 2017 accomplishment list
This time of year can bring up many feelings of self-criticism and doubt, as we tend to reflect on the past year and how we didn’t do what we wanted to do or didn’t follow through with our resolutions or intentions. I encourage you to do something a little different this time around; for your transition from 2017 to 2018, take some time to craft a list of accomplishments you made during the past twelve months. These can be small or large, complex or simple; reflect on each month and discover what you’ve done. Maybe you’re proud of how you hired a new team member in January, or you worked out a schedule and daily routine that allowed for an hour of yoga or a bike ride. Or maybe you’re happy to remember that you in May you finally checked off a special project off of your list. This is your list, so make it and feel good about it.
3. Write a letter to yourself from 2019.
What if 2018 goes so well that it’s your very best year? I know that I sound optimistic and even a bit cheesy but what if it’s true? How do you envision 2018 going for you, your family, and your work? What do you hope will come your way? What do you hope to let go of and move beyond? Imagine you’re sitting in your favorite place and it’s January 1, 2019. See yourself reflecting back on the past year of 2018. What would your 2019-self want to share with your 2017-self? Have fun with this exercise. Be playful or serious, contemplative or outlandish. I encourage you to keep that letter for future reading and inspiration or burn it, shred it, or toss it in recycling and see what 2018 brings to you!
4.Commit to doing more of what brings you joy and less of what doesn’t.
This is a simple practice that explains itself. Simply think about what in your life delights you the most and devote more time to integrating those joy-bringing things into your life and work. The things that aren’t serving you and that make you feel down, doubtful, or just plain icky? Make a vow to do less of those things and move into a lighter and brighter new year.
5. Choose a part of yourself to highlight in 2018.
The phrase, New Year New You, comes to mind here, and it makes me chuckle. New Year, yes, does bring new life and opportunity for transformation and transition, but it also brings a sense of impending doom and ‘what if’, meaning, what if we don’t accomplish all we want to do or what if we don’t follow through with all of our resolutions? Let’s take the pressure off of ourselves and of this new year.
This year, I encourage you to think about what parts of yourself are hiding inside, just waiting to shine in 2018. What characteristics, ideas, and unique qualities that make you, well, you deserve more attention? Are you a math whiz who works in accounting but you also love to paint and write poetry? Can you find ways to bring that creative part of yourself into your daily life? Are you a powerful leader with a sharp wit, but you also love puppies and kittens? What would it look like if you brought more of that softness into your work and home?
Discover the beautiful parts of yourself and then let them have more stage time this coming year.
6. Layout a year-ahead-spread.
This can be a fun, powerful, and inspirational activity to kick off your 2018. Create a year-ahead-spread with an oracle or tarot deck like this gorgeous one from The Wild Unknown.
Find some cards that speak to you, whether it’s the illustrations or the writing to describe the images, and then work out your own spread. Year-ahead-spreads are a great way to gain insight into your personal journey ahead. They’re fun and flexible—how you choose to interpret it is entirely up to you! You can use it to determine your goals and vision for the new year or to reflect on ideas and issues you want to explore in the coming months. Bonus idea: try laying out a reverse spread to reflect on the past year!
Whatever you choose to do and however you choose to celebrate the new year, I wish you a lovely 2018.