It’s that time of year where everyone is stressed about their plans for Christmas and New Year’s, but I’d like to give this time to reflect and think about how I’m going to approach the new year.
I love journaling my thoughts daily, because it gives me space for reflection and mental clarity.
I’ve reflected on my journey this past year, spiritual and mental, and on the experiences I’ve had.
I followed this template from Zen Habits.
- Reflect on the past year. How did it go? What went well? What did you struggle with and what can you learn from it?
- Reflect on what you may still be holding onto: grudges, resentment, anger, emotional baggage and attachment.
- Reflect on your accomplishments and failures.
- Contemplate what brings you the most meaning or fulfillment in your life.
- Contemplate what meaningful work you would like to pursue.
- Reflect on what you’d like to put more focus towards.
- Reflect on what you appreciate the most, or what you are most grateful for.
By doing this exercise, you will start to confront things that were brushed to the side, or things you were in denial about and didn’t want to deal with at the time.
Like any area in life, there’s always room for improvement. We’re not perfect, so we all have something to work on.
It’s crucial to reflect and let go of things that were burdening us so we don’t enter the new year with our minds stuck in the past.
I find letting go the hardest.
We get attached to people and to material things to the point where it becomes such a central part of our life, and to some degree, our identity.
Letting go of these things makes it incredibly uncomfortable for the mind. It likes to replay certain narratives, because it gives ourselves a sense of security, control, comfort, or protection. The mind wants things to be the way you want them to be.
There are so many things we can let go of:
- The lies we tell ourselves — like when we think we can’t do something, or when we’re doomed to fail
- Too many commitments and spreading yourself too thin
- Too many goals and aspirations
- Pleasing everyone, comparing yourself to other’s people standards and ideals
- False expectations
- Grudges, resentments, anger, emotional baggage
- Judging yourself or others
- Old negative habits
- Attachments to material things that are not bringing meaning or value to your life
- Procrastination and laziness
These things may weigh you down and get in the way of achieving your goals and becoming the best version of yourself.
- Ask yourself, does holding onto those ideals or particular things bring you any benefit? Notice where the attachment is in the body and bring your awareness towards the tightness, discomfort or emotions you might feel.
- Allow yourself to feel the pain, anger, frustration, grief. If you’re feeling resentment towards someone, you probably haven’t let yourself fully feel anger at them — let yourself feel it fully in your body.
- Accept the way things are.
Inner peace comes when you forgive yourself, and others. You allow yourself to be and accept other people and situations as they are. When you enter the space of non-resistance, you start to let go of emotions like anger, bitterness, resentment or sadness.
Give this time for reflection, and allow yourself to retreat to a quiet space to look inwards. Practice this daily throughout this month.
Originally published at https://chloelingmason.com on December 13, 2019.