I love the transition from December into January — a time of deep reflection, with the excitement of a fresh new year on the horizon. It’s a wonderful time to think about where we’d like to go in the next year, what we’d like to bring into our lives and (sometimes even more importantly) what we’re ready to let go.
As much as I love the new year and all of the reflection and dreaming that come along with it, I also realize it can create a lot of anxiety for many of us (raises hand), especially when we become hyper-focused on what we didn’t accomplish in the past year or set goals for the upcoming year that aren’t truly aligned with what we want. I know the feeling of sitting down with a pen and a blank sheet of paper with the intention of having a productive dream-fest only to have it turn into a full on panic attack within a matter of seconds.
That’s why I’m taking a different approach to my goal setting this year; one that is going to take me into the new year with a sense of peace and grace. Here is the process I’m using to set goals that feel good for 2016:
Kick your goal setting party off by celebrating all of the amazing things you accomplished this year. Seriously, get out your notebook and make a list! I bet you’ll come up with more than you think. I did this activity recently and I was pleasantly surprised by my list. Write out any accomplishments that come to mind, big and small. They all add up and being reminded of your amazing accomplishments will put you in a good frame of mind to create goals for the new year. Do me a favor: please, PLEASE, fight the urge to discount any big spurts of emotional and spiritual growth just because you may not be able to physically see the effects of your work. These are often the most important accomplishments because they can change your life forever. For instance, I cleared a lot of money and relationship stuff this year, which is no small task. Trust me.
As you read through your list, make note of any themes. I like doing this because it gives a sense of purpose to the year gone by. (Plus, I just like themes. 🙂 ) For me, 2015 was a year of really digging deep and shedding core beliefs that weren’t serving me. I’ll take it.
REVIEW WITH COMPASSION
Next, objectively (and without dwelling) take a mental peek back at the year and ask yourself what could have gone better? What did you set out to accomplish that you didn’t but really wish you had? Why do you think you didn’t follow the goal through? This isn’t an opportunity to beat yourself up over what didn’t happen. Simply get curious. Resist the urge to judge yourself. Getting caught up in a cycle of judgment only makes it more likely you won’t accomplish what you want to in the future, however, it can be beneficial to take a compassionate and genuine look at why your goals didn’t pan out. Is there a core belief or fear that you’re still needing to let go of? Does this particular goal no longer light you up? Or did something else simply take precedence?
I originally planned to do a ton of redecorating to my house this year. I had a designer lined up, a Pinterest inspiration board at my fingertips and I was really excited about it. Instead, I ended up putting a lot of time (and money) into redesigning my website (coming February 2016!) which was long overdue and will serve my clients (and me) better in the future. I’m still a little disappointed about not getting the house where I want it, but I can see now where renovating my website took precedence.
Now, (and this step is REALLY important) take a look at anything in the ‘not accomplished’ list and forgive it. ALL of it. I’ve recently become a fan of Hoʻoponopono, which is an ancient Hawaiian forgiveness practice where you make a list of things (or people) you need to forgive and review them one by one while saying, “I love you. I forgive you. Thank you. I’m sorry.”
I love this exercise because it essentially energetically releases you from the past and wipes the slate clean for the future. Awesome, right?
If there is anything on your list that you no longer feel drawn to, don’t try and force it as a goal for 2015. Yuck. Simply wish it well and let it go. Too often we drag old goals into the new year just because we feel like we still need to check them off the list. Here’s the thing: we are constantly evolving spiritual beings, and as we evolve, it only stands to reason that our goals and desires will change too. It’s ok to say goodbye to old projects, goals and desires that are no longer serving. In fact, it’s healthy
Now for the fun part! What do you want to do this year? Who do you want to be? Now is the time to dream big! Don’t hold back. What lights you up and makes gives you butterflies in the pit of your stomach?
Don’t fall into the trap of feeling like you have to have a rhyme or reason for every single one of your goals. Sometimes we need to pursue the things that light us up inside for the sole reason that they light us up inside. Have you always wanted to take a cooking class or dance lessons? Don’t discount that. There’s a reason it’s tugging at your soul.
I like to do a big free write of all of the inspiration and ideas I have for the new year then go back and circle the ones that really excite me. These are the goals I keep in the forefront of my mind throughout the year.
Lastly, what are you ready to purge or leave behind in 2015?
Are there any habits, beliefs or ideas that are really holding you back or just causing mental clutter? Let them go.
Write them down and make a commitment to release them in the new year. Don’t you feel better already?
I hope this process serves you! Leave me a comment below — I would love to hear your goals for 2016!