New Year’s Eve Rituals To Celebrate With More Meaning
New Year’s Eve is one of the most powerful opportunities to re-focus and begin creating and setting meaningful intentions for the year ahead. And what better way than with a few New Year’s Eve rituals? In the past, this time of year was all about attending a crazy party and setting “new year’s resolutions” that usually revolved around getting skinny and falling in love.
Over the last four years, I’ve practiced a different kind of New Year’s tradition that focuses entirely on creating time for myself and going into the new year with clarity, commitment and an intention of all the things I’d like this year to be for me. New Year’s resolutions are fine but they are usually superficial and let’s be honest – do they really make your life more enriching?
Since starting a practice of New Year’s Eve rituals focused on intention four years ago, I have had the best years and each time I have accomplished most of what I set out to do. Instead of waking up tomorrow morning with a foggy brain and a pounding headache, wake up with a new sense of purpose after practicing some (or all) of these 6 New Year’s Eve rituals.
Declutter the Physical
There is something so satisfying about beginning the new year in a clean, refreshed space. Whether you take the time to declutter your entire home, your car, your bedroom or even just the messiest drawer in the kitchen, New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to declutter your physical stuff.
Take a look at the things that you own – do you have clothes hidden in the back of your closet with tags on? Do you have tons of coasters but only use one or two sets? Has that pile of shopping bags, old slippers and junk been sitting in the corner of your spare room for the last year or more?
Having all of that excess stuff in your home can increase your stress levels, negatively impact your decision making skills and can even make you feel more tired (even if you don’t consciously realize that your extra stuff is the culprit).
Release the Mental
There’s something to be said for tossing your physical stuff but we can’t forget about the importance of creating mental space. Spend time, whether in thought or by writing it all down, on all of the thoughts and emotions you’ve had in the last two weeks (or longer). I like to write down any of the negative mental energy I’ve been feeling over the last month to a year in an effort to release it all before the new year begins.
If you do this, you might be surprised at the patterns of your mental thoughts and emotions – which ones kept recurring over the last year and why? What did they stem from? Often times I’m able to acknowledge a pattern of my own thoughts and transform them into positive intentions for the year ahead, such as showing myself more kindness or releasing anxiety.
Now that you’ve created physical and mental space in your life it’s time to begin setting intentions for your year ahead. This is my favourite part and the most powerful of these six New Year’s Eve rituals. If you’re not really sure what an intention is, think of it as an extended goal, vision or philosophy that will guide you forward for the next year and will influence your actual experiences. Think about how you want your next year to pan out. What do you want it to bring you? How do you want to feel? What do you want to focus on? You can set intentions for all areas of your life – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
Need some examples? In the past, some of my intentions revolved around connecting to my intuition, living a balanced lifestyle, practicing love in all things, being open minded and open hearted to all things that came my way, practicing gratitude every day, etc. I even dubbed 2016 as my year of preparation to prepare myself emotionally, physically and mentally for a big shift that I wanted to happen in 2017.
Take a moment to look back on your intentions for the year that has just passed. What were your aspirations at the beginning of the year? What was fuelling you forward and making you excited? Were they accomplished? If not, why? Some of your intentions might be small and easy to achieve – others might be on a deeper level that you will have to intentionally practice for years to come.
What experiences did you have this year and what have you learned from them? Practicing gratitude in your daily life is an excellent way to appreciate all that comes your way – the good and the bad. Terrible things happen and there are always lessons to be learned from them. Amazing things happen as well and you need to acknowledge them, focus on them and continue striving for them. If spending just ten minutes in a New Year’s Eve ritual on being grateful for your year isn’t enough, consider practicing gratitude every day by writing in a gratitude journal.
Meditate or Move
Carve out just 5 or 10 minutes to get comfortable, in a cross-legged position on your bed, the floor or a pillow and close your eyes. Spend your time in meditation focusing on the inhale and exhale of your breath. Think of the intentions you just set for the new year; commit to them. You don’t need to know how to meditate or be perfect at meditation in order to gain the benefits of clearing your mind, sitting in silence and creating the space for mental clarity and peace.
Really aren’t one for meditation? Try moving – walking, running, dancing, yoga. One of my favourite things to do after setting my intentions for the year is to solidify it all by practicing a good yoga flow or even just a few sun salutations.