I’m not a big fan of traditional New Year’s resolutions. However, I believe noting down thoughts about the coming year can be valuable as long as I make them inspirations and wants and not yet more shoulds and musts. I prefer “I want/choose to exercise more” to saying “I should exercise more.”
For the past three years, at around the beginning of each new year, I’ve sat down and done some reflecting and visioning. Each time, while doing this “Reflections and Dreams” exercise, a theme for the new year has arisen. My theme for last year was “Asking for Help” and 2016’s theme was “Freedom.” I think this year’s theme is “Experiences and Adventures.” Or maybe it’s “Community.” I haven’t decided yet.
I judge I did a good job of achieving 2016’s theme. In 2016, I left my job, changed careers, followed my dream to lead people in workshops and experienced freedom with my partner, my son and other important people in my life. In 2017, I judge I didn’t do as well in achieving the year’s theme. I did consciously ask for help on various occasions and was willing to receive it. Nevertheless, several times I caught myself trying to manage on my own by not asking for help. This is something I want to continue addressing.
I want to share again the questions that I shared one year ago as I have found this New Year’s Reflection and Dreams exercise to be quite useful and inspirational.
- What kind of feelings or thoughts arise in me when I think of last year?
- What did I learn and how did I grow?
- For what I am grateful?
- What do I want to take with me into this new year? What do I want to leave behind?
- How do I ensure I have time and energy to pursue my dreams?
- How do I sabotage myself when I don’t pursue what I want? How will I tackle that?
Dreams – what I want for 2018
- What do I want for this year?
- How do I want to grow and what do I want to learn?
- What values do I want to live by?
- What is the first step towards my dream? And when will I take it?
Bonus question: What, if any, is the theme of this year?
When pondering those questions, if I’m not sure about my answer, I pause and check the sensations in my body, checking what really felt true to me. After I have answered the questions in writing, I go back and underline the key words and/or sentences and add anything that seems to be missing.
For 2018, I did this exercise with, Pete, my partner [ahem, fiancé—ed.]. We each wrote down our answers and then read them out loud to the other. We also added an additional question: “What do we want for us this year?”—which we answered individually. While doing this exercise with Pete, I felt very connected to him.