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Home / Articles / Happy Herald / From the Editor /   Start 2022 with an Intentional Way to Close Out 2021!
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Wednesday, January 5,2022

Start 2022 with an Intentional Way to Close Out 2021!

By Brigitte Lang  

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.

– Bill Vaughan

We are entering the New Year and it can be traumatic, thinking of all the shopping, fantastic as well as crazy family gatherings, money spent, and the many gatherings of the prior month – OR it can be a simpler, more mindful period of closing out the year and getting ready for the coming year. I’d like to invite you to a month–long process: An Intentional Way to Close Out the Year and Start the New Year.

What will this process be?

Here’s how I envision it going:

1. Evaluate: Spend the first week reviewing last year, noting accomplishments and big events, taking notes on what we’ve learned and struggled with, seeing where we’ve dropped the ball and where we could grow.

2. Let Go: Reflect on what we’d like to let go of as we move forward, what we held onto that’s not serving us. This is a releasing of baggage and struggles. Spend a few days practicing letting go, so we can be clear for the New Year.

3. Set Intentions for the Next Year: What loving and purposeful intentions would we like to set going into the New Year? What would we like to create? Who would we like to be? How do we want to practice? This is taking a Big Picture look at the coming year, and setting some general intentions (and holding them without attachment).

4. Create a Plan: Now we’re going to make a monthly, weekly and daily plan. It doesn’t have to be incredibly detailed – just create structure so we can flexibly move into our intentions, so we can remember the intentions, so we can keep checking back in with them. So we can bring focus, as if this might be the last year of our lives. – That’s the process. It’s a process of reviewing and letting go, so we can learn from the last year, but not hold onto that which is no longer serving us. It’s a process of looking forward, mindfully, and creating a plan to be intentional about how we spend the next year of our lives.

So many of us neglect the act of looking back because we continually get caught up in the minutia of our daily lives, in the busyness of projects and events, in the drama of unfolding family affairs. We don’t take stock, think about where we’ve been, and use that experience to continue to grow.

This is a more mindful, conscious process that sets aside a week for reflection. That’s a worthwhile way to spend our time, regularly.

Letting go is something very few of us do with intention, and the result is we continue to carry forward baggage and pain and patterns that no longer serve us and just get in the way. Let’s let those float away into the atmosphere, so we can be free to move into a new space without holding onto everything that came before.

And finally, setting intentions and creating a structure to carry out those intentions differ from the usual goal-setting or New Year’s resolutions in a few important ways:

1. Goal setting and resolutions are more fixed on an outcome. With the intentional approach it is about how you carry yourself through the day, how you’re practicing in each moment, how you show up for your commitments and the people you care deeply about.

2. Resolutions don’t usually have a very solid structure for ensuring they continue beyond a couple weeks. Goals often miss out on that structure as well. Our planning week will be all about setting structure so we don’t drop our intentions.

3. Our intentions are going to be more focused on meaning and purpose, on who we care deeply about, rather than on some fixed outcome. That changes everything. I think this is going to be a fantastic process. It won’t necessarily be easy. But nothing meaningful ever is. Remember, it’s up to us to make the most of this life. Happy New Year!


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