The New Year promises a fresh start, but only if we truly bring the current year to a close. If you don’t resolve the physical and emotional “incompletes” in your life, January 1 will look remarkably like December 31, with the possible minor difference of needing to clean up after the party.
One of the paradoxes of creative polarities is that the only way to finish is to get started. And the only way to get started is to finish.
Let Go of What Should Be
One of the hardest things to be done with is the idea of what your writing (or your reality) should be:
- I should write this new piece the way I’ve written before
- I should invent a new way to write every piece
- I should write for x hours
- I should be able to just show up when I feel inspired
- I should always write freely, easily and without struggle
- I should be willing to struggle and suffer for my art
It’s easier to let go when you know what you’re letting go of. Try freewriting to see how many ways you can complete a sentence that begins with “I should write…”
Let Go of What Was
You might want to write a goodbye letter to 2016 acknowledging what experiences and events you’re grateful for and what experiences and events you regret or grieve. Or you can make a list of your Wins and Breakthroughs in 2016 and your Losses and Breakdowns in 2016.
Consider these questions as you write:
- What are you proud of?
- What are you grateful for?
- What do you regret?
- What accomplishments did you experience?
- What came to you as unexpected, unearned blessings?
- What disappointments did you experience?
- What grudges did you or are you carrying?
- Who do you need to thank?
- Who do you need to forgive?
- What old beliefs and behaviors no longer serve the person you want to be?
- What do you need to clean, clear out, organize, toss or give away?
- What physical objects are out of place in your writing space, your home, your car? What digital “things” are out of place in your devices? What objects, tangible and digital, need a new place to be?
- What do you need to fully celebrate?
- What do you need to fully grieve?
Share your letter or lists with a trusted friend who knows how to listen appreciatively, that is, without interruptions that divert the focus from the person speaking. This is always works best when both partners have a chance to speak and a chance to listen.
Open Yourself to What Could Be
Letting go of last year’s wins and losses creates space for new wins and losses in the coming year; letting go of last year’s breakthroughs and breakdowns creates space for new breakthroughs and breakdowns.
Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, consider writing a welcome letter to 2017.
- What do you want to continue from 2016 into 2017?
- What new experiences and events do you want to experience?
- What kind of person you do want to become?
- What kind of person do you want to continue to be?
- What qualities do you need to develop?
- What actions do you need to take?
What do you need to finish so you can start 2017 with joy, anticipation, energy and commitment?