It goes without saying that come January we will all have at least a passing thought about the New Year’s Resolution idea, and along with that passing thought will come some sort of conscious or subconscious decision to engage it or not. Well, regardless of what you choose, we still believe the new year is a legitimate time to take stock and consider where you want to go. However, a different approach may be more helpful than a list of ways you want to get better that sits dormant until Spring cleaning time where it finds its way to the recycle bin. Here’s the alternative…
The alternative we suggest is a practice some of us at LifeWorks have been doing for years with great results. It’s called “HELLO/ GOODBYE.” The premise is simple. What do you want to say GOODBYE to from 2016 and what do you want to say HELLO to in 2017. There’s a quote that says “If you can’t say goodbye to your past, then you just can’t say hello to your future.” Sometimes that’s true. Sometimes our past holds us back. You don’t need endless therapy to agree with that (but we’re big fans of emotional health- including counseling/therapy)
If you took the time to reflect on the past year, which we encourage, you’d notice there were things that you’re just ready to be done with. Maybe it was the whole year because it was particularly difficult, or may be it’s a habit or practice that you’ve not a nagging feeling is holding you back. Maybe it’s an opposite of what you want, so you need to say goodbye to one way of thinking in order to be open to a new way of thinking. We could go totally psychoanalytical here, but we won’t. We just want to offer you a couple ideas to connect with yourself and the life you want before 2017 is here and gone.
So on with HELLO/GOODBYE. You can find more resources, including a printable workbook, for this at www.leadstoresmedia.com, but I will run you through a quick review. It’s not complicated, so don’t over think it.
Set aside some time to reflect on these questions:
– What were some moments of joy and what were some moments of sorrow?
– What were the high points and the low points?
– What disappointed or frustrated you this year?
– What surpassed your hopes and dreams?
Have open hands with all that happened this year (good and bad). Release it all. The year is soon to be over. Can give up the things you need to let go of?
Write the first few things, or the very first thing, that comes to mind to say GOODBYE to from last year. The author’s of this exercise note “This is not simply so you can make a New Years resolutions list. While those can be helpful, the point is to listen to [your life].” This could be concrete ideas, like stopping a group you are in, or it could be a matter of the heart like, saying goodbye to shame. Listen to your life and expect there to be ideas or even pictures. Write down what comes to mind as you reflect.
Now write the first few ideas of what you could say HELLO to, have freedom to adapt or change the ideas as you work through this section. “This is more than a list of what you are adding to your life. While those an be helpful, the point is to listen to [your life]” for what needs to be embraced as you enter next year. They may be concrete ideas like a specific task or goal to accomplish, or it could be a matter of the heart like saying hello to accepting love or that you are enough. Write down what comes to mind as you reflect.
Share with a close friend or spouse:
– What was this experience life for you?
– Are there things you feel led to say good bye to that you are open to sharing?
– Are there things you feel led to say hello to that you are willing to share?
– What is your plan for responding to this process?
– What is your next practical step?
Write out your list for each category (GOODBYE/HELLO). Put your list some place you will see it.
An additional alternative to the standard New Year’s resolution rigamarole is the commitment to practicing gratitude. Gratitude often changes our heart in ways that graciously leads us into changing our actions or habits.