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By now, many of us are starting to settle into the new year. Many have already set their resolutions and are beginning to work towards making changes and reaching goals. Over the years, I have found the traditional New Year’s resolutions are not ideal for me. Repeatedly, I was setting myself up for failure by creating a laundry list of items I needed to tackle and change – such as working out regularly, eating healthier, organizing my house, being more efficient at work, spending more quality time with family and friends… And the list went on and on. While these are all great goals to have, I found I was not taking the time to reflect on what was most important and meaningful to me.

A few years ago, I realized I wanted to get off of the resolution merry-go-round. I decided to change my approach to the new year. I shifted my focus from the standard resolutions of trying to “resolve” or “fix” an issue, and began spending time reflecting on the previous year and setting intentions for what I wanted to cultivate and manifest in the new year. I discovered that for me this practice feels more meaningful, encourages me to look inward, and deepens my sense of self – allowing me to be in greater alignment with who I am and my life’s journey.

This simple exercise can be done at the closing of the year, beginning of the new year, or any other time in your life when you desire to journey inward and experience transformation. All you need to do is grab your journal or a notebook, find a quiet and peaceful setting, and spend some time reflecting on and answering the questions below.

Past-Oriented Exploration:

  • What areas of your life experienced growth in the last year?
  • What are you grateful for in the past year?
  • What lessons did you learn along the way?
  • What do you need to leave behind, shed, or release for the new year?

Future-Oriented Exploration:

  • What in your life do you desire to nurture and grow?
  • What do you want to begin cultivating in your life?
  • What intentions do you want to set for the new year?
  • What might need to happen in order for your intentions to be realized?

I hope you find this exercise as beneficial and meaningful in your life as I have found it to be in mine. May your new year be filled with love, transformative experiences, and a greater sense of self.

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