One ritual we should adopt, is for every new year, clear out the mental clutter of our plans, re-establish our priorities, and plan out our goals for the new year accordingly. Doing this will renew/re-establish our focus in life.
This process is best done in the following steps:
1) Clear the mind
I don’t care how. But everyone has (or should have) a method of purging their thoughts of all stresses, worries, cares, tasks, and appointments. Some people meditate, some do Yoga, some just rest in silence, and others just listen to some soothing music. Whatever the preferred method, take the time to DO IT.
2) List our priorities
Literally …… list them. A thought is just a thought until it’s written down. Once it is written down, then it is a potential reality. It forces us to acknowledge it. It also serves as a constant reminder so we can stay focused. Keep this list somewhere easily accessible. Truthfully this list should be short; 7~10 items tops (and even that is a lot). There are only 24 hours in a day and 1/3 of that is sleeping and maintenance. Look at the last few things on the list and seriously consider if those even belong in the category of “priority.”………. cross them out.
3) Consider how we want to grow.
With our priorities in mind, think of all the ways we want to improve and/or grow as people. Ideas I have heard are: “Spend more time with my children”, “Lose 20 lbs”, “Reach more people”, “re-unite with my family”, “Re-kindle the fire in my marriage”, and “Overcome my fears” just to give some examples of what I am talking about here.
4) Set goals accordingly
Set them, and write them down. Why write them? See #2. List these goals in either time order or priority order. Keep this list even more accessible than the priority one. One should not have to open a drawer for this list. It needs to be on our desktop, our whiteboard, our cork-board; anywhere we can see it everyday without getting it. These needs to be there to constantly remind us.
Make the goals realistic. What can we reasonably accomplish in one year? This doesn’t mean we cannot have a much greater long term goal, but even the baby steps for getting there are goals in themselves. Are they not? Write down these lesser goal/s. I once had a physics teacher that said: “You can eat an entire elephant! ……..one bite at a time.”
Also, the same as with priorities, this list should be short.
5) First Steps
DO IT. Get the gears moving. At the very least, in this first “sit down”, do some research, make some inquiries. Start the process, and keep that momentum going.
Remove from our lives all the clutter, the obligations, the stresses, the possessions, the thoughts that do not serve our priorities, our goals. This may mean filling up a few of the 50 gallon trash bags. This may mean making a few disappointing phone calls to friends and family. This may mean giving up old rituals. No one said de-cluttering was easy.
THIS is the best way that I have found to approach a new year.