Kris: So if you’ve been with me for a while, you know that I love doing end of year rituals and start of year rituals. I always love to ground myself in closing the chapter and readying myself to open the next one. And these rituals are really important because they help us metabolize where we’ve been, and they also help us chart in a very intentional way where we’re going. Okay, so we do these exercises every year and ICW (Inner Circle Wellness) some of you have been around for a while, so you’ve done them with me for quite some time. But if you’re new here, welcome. I can’t think of a better way to end this year together and also to start our year coming.
One of the most exciting part about December is, as I said, looking forward and also imagining what’s to come. We love to, you know, vision and and set goals, some of us, or set intentions or really just think about, Oh my gosh, what do I want my life to look like in this coming year? And throughout the ages, we’ve been captivated by fresh starts and new beginnings. Right? This is very normal. A new notebook—remember when we were in school, it was like, oh, my gosh, new notebooks, new pencils, maybe a couple of new outfits or something like that. A new job. Anytime I’ve moved, it’s always exciting to have a new house and like, just start a new chapter in a new space that I can fetter. Perhaps it’s a new wellness retreat routine, a lot of people join ICW in January with the hopes of kicking off a new wellness practice, and it’s a really great time to do it or a new relationship.
So often we put our focus solely on what’s to come. I know I’m not alone there, you might do it too. And when we put our focus on what’s to come, while that’s really great, we often don’t give proper respect and recognition to where we’ve been, especially around this time of the year. And again, this is normal. We all do it, especially if the year that we’re putting to bed was a tough year and we’re really ready to put it behind us and almost like race forward into the new Year because we’re done with what we’ve experienced. But here’s what I found. By spending time reflecting on our successes and our challenges, as well as the ways that we’ve grown and the insights that we’ve developed, we’re better able to honor our lives while using our experiences as stepping stones for our growth. Instead of being like, “Oh, that stunk,” or, “I’m such a failure,” or, “Yet another year, I didn’t do what I wanted to do.”
When we really look back on the previous year, we’re usually astounded by how much growth we made and we’re about to talk about that minute and go really deep into it. And just by putting our attention on that, we really are better able to use what we have learned as stepping stones for the future self that we’re becoming. So looking back allows us to do that learning from our past actions in order to make—what?—more informed decisions in the future. Right? We’re using our past to help us make more informed, better decisions in the future. Decisions that are more in alignment with who we are becoming. Reflecting on where we were compared to where we are now also reminds us of just how far we’ve come. I’m going to keep saying this over and over and over again, because if you’re like me, you may have a habit of being like, “Oh, that’s all?” Meanwhile, I’m forgetting so much. So this is our time to do some deep remembering. This practice can also help us recognize patterns in our life, habitual patterns and habits and themes that if we don’t acknowledge them or become more aware of them, then it’s hard to actually change them. These are the patterns in our behavior, the patterns in our lifestyle choices, which can be really crucial to, you know, have our eyeballs on or just be more conscious of. Especially if we want to break any negative cycles or reinforce the positive ones. And finally saying thank you, having this gratitude, having this ritual, this experience of looking back and saying thank you to the year and the lessons learned allows us to intentionally choose what we want to carry into the next year, and what we want to leave behind. So what we want to carry into the next year and what we want to let go of, what we want to leave behind, what we want to say thank you to with gratitude, but we’re ready to move on.