In my previous blog post, I discussed the importance of having a week or more of self-reflection in your meditation practice at the end of each year. December is the perfect time to look back, do a scan of how you’re feeling about the outgoing year, both good and bad, and release what no longer serves you. This clears the way and frees you to set good intentions for the coming year. I love planning out my goals for the new year, both big and small. I hope you will join me in mapping out the near future!
During your meditations through the end of the year, I encourage you to take some time to scan this past year, month by month, and ask yourself the following questions:
What did I accomplish during this time that I am most proud of?
What did I set out to accomplish that didn’t happen? Is that still a goal I plan to work towards over the course of the coming year?
Did I form any habits that I’d like to continue?
Are there any new habits I’d like to adopt over the course of the next year?
What do I wish to accomplish during the months ahead? What are the most important things I want to do?
While reflecting and setting patterns, maintain focus on the positive. Really feel that gratitude and happiness from any and all of your achievements over the last year. Live in each one to allow that gratitude to build within you.
Whatever pattern you’d like to set for yourself long term, it’s important in your time of self-reflection to both acknowledge it and also see the good it will bring into your life.
As you organize these thoughts, I recommend making a priority list of the things you wish to accomplish over the next year. When I do this exercise, I list out any big accomplishments that I’m hoping for (which are generally things that are more out of my control or will take many steps to achieve) and any smaller accomplishments (which are generally things that I could do on my own). I look at each list and prioritize what I want to work towards. Sometimes, it helps to come up with a plan and schedule out the coming months, notating which accomplishments to work toward, and when. The more detailed I am when prioritizing these goals, the more it helps me to accomplish them. But everyone is different, so try and figure out what works best for you.
Next, to set these intentions, I give them acknowledgment each and every day during my meditation practice, especially in this last period of the old year and the beginning of the new one. I list them out loud at least once a day, but more than that, I visualize how I will accomplish these things on my list, and what their outcome looks like, in detail. In other words, I spend a bit of time each day manifesting my goals. If my goal is finishing my book, I see myself in that moment the book is complete. I feel that jolt of excitement that will come once I know it has been completed. I smell the way the finished book will smell, and I feel myself holding it in my hand. On the other hand, I also see the steps that it may take to get to that finished product, which can help provide my more logical mind with clarity on how to get there. I do this for each of the things I wish to accomplish, seeing their outcome as a success. Visualizing your next year, the goals that you have, and the changes you wish to make in your life will help you to turn these goals into realities.
As far as establishing patterns, perhaps, have you noticed that you’re just a bit happier overall this year because you finally put aside 15 minutes a day to meditate, and you want to keep that pattern? Or, maybe you wish to meditate more, so you want to make that a pattern? Whatever pattern you’d like to set for yourself long term, it’s important in your time of self-reflection to both acknowledge it and also see the good it will bring into your life. The best way to set lasting patterns for the new year is to continually visualize yourself completing the patterns while truly seeing the benefits that they will bring into your life. If you can visualize the joy and gratitude it will bring you, the more motivated you will likely be to work towards something.
In the end, we are the masters of our own lives. We can create the world we want to live in one small step at a time, and the best way to begin living your best life is to actively work towards the small goals and set the patterns you’d like to have in your life. It really is that easy. So, during your reflection of 2022 and in your meditation practice in 2023, I hope you will focus on the ways you can set intentions that will continue to make your life happier and more fulfilling. Happy new year!