What the heck is Authentic Relating, and why is StartHuman offering it? 
November 12, 2019
Show all

My End of Year Ritual Routine

As some of you may have noticed, people have started posting memes about how there are only [insert number of days] left in 2019, so you are “running out of time” to make the year count. The sudden sense of urgency seems a little misplaced—if your New Year’s resolutions fizzled out in February, there’s no need to make a last-minute salvage attempt—but it is never a bad idea to reserve some end of year time for reflection and intentionality. Why not take advantage of the scientifically-validated power of rituals to add meaning, mark transitions, and make us feel more grounded and in control?  

While many rituals are culturally prescribed, you have the power to create your own or adopt someone else’s if they resonate with you. You don’t have to create an extensive ritual routine spanning decades, but I invite you to grab a pen and paper, or a cup of tea, and devote a moment to the conscious consideration of end of year rituals.  

For inspiration, I offer you my favorite end of year rituals. In the final days of December, I like to: 

  1. Review my intentions and goals for the past year using questions like:
    • What did I achieve?  
    • What progress did I make?  
    • What was less important than I originally thought?  
    • In what ways have I grown?  
    • In what ways am I the same? 
  2. Review my values using questions like:  
    • Which values did I honor this past year and how?  
    • Are these still my core values?  
    • If so, why?  
    • If not, what’s true for me now?  
  3. Set my intentions and goals for the next year. I think about:  
    • What theme or words will guide this next year? 
    • What am I craving most in my life? In my business?  
    • What’s needed for me to continue growing as a human? As a business?  

These rituals are about reflection (one of the most powerful tools for growth and development), and identifying what I want more or less of in my life (my own version of goal setting). Rituals help me let the past go, accept what is right now, and clear space for what is yet to come. For example, burning journals is like clearing out junk in the garage: It not only clears out physical space in my house, but it also clears out mental and heart space. My rituals leave me feeling lighter and more open. 

I’m adding two new practices to my process this year. They are:  

  1. Instead of just identifying wins and progress, I will do something to celebrate. These somethings might include: 
    • An awkward happy dance 
    • A “wahoo!”  
    • An affirmation 
    • Hugging myself (sounds weird, but it’s SO effective and awesome!) 
    • Taking myself out 
  2. Examining my whys – Why did I do something or not do something? Why did I think I wanted to do it to begin with? Do I still want to do it, and why? This is a practice that comes from Optimal Motivation. It will give me insight into the quality of my motivation this past year and will inform my choices for this next year.  

What are some of your favorite end of year rituals and go-to tools? Will you be adding or subtracting any practices from your end of year process? If so, let me know in the comments. 

Amber Barnes
Amber Barnes
Amber is a leadership development professional with a heart for helping leaders maximize human performance in the workplace (and beyond.) With over a decade of experience coaching, training and advising leaders, she writes to helps leaders become more effective. Amber highlights common pitfalls, effective (and human) leadership practices as well as "must-knows" for leaders.