By Leo Babauta
We’re entering the last month of the year, and it can be a crazy, shopping-filled, party spree of a month for many people.
Or it can be a simpler, more mindful period of closing out the year and getting ready for the coming year.
I’d like to invite you to a monthlong process that I’m calling Sacred Bow: An Intentional Way to Close Out the Year & Start the New Year.
What will this process be? Here’s how I envision Sacred Bow:
- Review: Spend the first week reviewing your year so far, noting your accomplishments and big events, taking notes on what you’ve learned and what you’ve struggled with, seeing where you’ve dropped the ball and where you could grow.
- Let Go: Reflect on what you’d like to let go of moving forward, what you’ve been holding onto that’s not serving you. This is a releasing of baggage and struggles. Spend a few days practicing letting go, so that we can be clear for the new year.
- Set Intentions for the Next Year: What loving and purposeful intentions would you like to set going into the new year? What would you like to create? Who would you like to be? How do you want to practice? This is taking a Big Picture look at the coming year, and setting some general intentions (and holding them without attachment).
- Create a Plan: Now we’re going to make a monthly, weekly and daily plan. It doesn’t have to be incredibly detailed — just create structure so that we can flexibly move into our intentions, so that we can remember the intentions, so that we can keep checking back in with them. So that we can bring focus, as if this might be the last year of our lives.
That’s the process. It’s a process of reviewing and letting go, so that we can learn from the last year but not hold onto that which is no longer serving us. It’s a process of looking forward, mindfully, and creating a plan to be intentional about how we spend the next year of our lives.
Why This Is Important
So many of us neglect the act of looking back, that we just continually get caught up in the minutia of our daily lives, in the busyness of projects and events, in the drama of unfolding family affairs. We don’t take stock, think about where we’ve been, and use that experience to continue to grow.
This is a more mindful, conscious process that sets aside a week for reflection. That’s a worthwhile way to spend our time, regularly.
Letting go is something very few of us do with intention, and the result is that we continue to carry forward baggage and pain and patterns that no longer serve us, that are just getting in the way. Let’s let those float away into the atmosphere, so that we can be free to move into a new space without holding onto everything that came before.
And finally, setting intentions and creating a structure to carry out those intentions differ from the usual goal-setting or New Year’s resolutions in a few important ways:
- Goal setting and resolutions are more fixed on an outcome, with the intentional approach is about how you carry yourself through the day, how you’re practicing in each moment, how you show up for your commitments and the people you care deeply about.
- Resolutions don’t usually have a very solid structure for ensuring that they continue beyond a couple weeks. Goals often miss out on that structure as well. Our planning week will be all about setting structure so we don’t just drop our intentions.
- Our intentions are going to be more focused on meaning and purpose, on who we care deeply about, than on some fixed outcome. That changes everything.
I think this is going to be a fantastic process. It won’t necessarily be easy. But nothing meaningful ever is.
If you’d like to join the monthlong process and do Sacred Bow with me and a thousand others … join my Sea Change Program today. We’ll be starting very soon.
In Sea Change, to support your Sacred Bow, we’ll include:
- Weekly articles on each weekly module.
- A live video webinar with me, where you can ask questions.
- A new Slack community where can get accountability and support.
Source: Zen Habits