As we enter the last month of the year, I’m doing my end-of-year administrative stuff for myself personally and professionally. I reconcile all my bank accounts, I add up my mileage, I take a look and see what I’ve spent, what I thought I would do and didn’t do, etc. A big part of my annual close-out, is I write down what I will be celebrating at the end of the following year (ie. December 2015). Extraordinary women, Maria Cristini and Laura Peck, have given me different iterations of this exercise over the years.
I'll own it now. Not once have I completed everything on my list, but I’ve either completed some iteration of and/or have surprised myself in other places. Regardless, it ensures I take pause, to be happy for what I’ve completed, to let go what I did not, and to keep dreaming.
I also do it and then maybe check it out a few times throughout the year, if that. Sometimes I think I should be the person who posts it at my desk so I see it every day but that’s not my style. I like to just see where things go. I usually end up looking at it mid-year for a reminder and just before I do the next year's celebration list.
There are many ways to do this.
My list contains the following:
A theme for the year.
Things I will be celebrating at the end of the year, divided by sections of my life (money, work, relationships, home, etc.). It is usually five or six big life buckets. I use the Wheel of Life to get my areas such as the one found here. (That tool, btw, is an excellent guideline for an any-time-of-year check-in.)
A couple specific details for each section.
- Theme for 2014: Fun
- Big life area: Home
- Statement: I am celebrating a new home.
- Statement details: My new home is full of light and an amazing kitchen.
I wrote a version of that statement in December 2013. At the time, I had NO idea it would be in the form of an Airstream and the amazing kitchen would be a mini three-burner stovetop, an oven only big enough to cook a couple cornish game hens, and a bbq hooked up via quick connect to my trailer propane tanks. Going into 2014, the idea of home was heavy in my heart. I was couch-surfing, housesitting, and on business trips. I felt rootless but had no idea where I wanted to put those roots down. I had visions of land and building a home. But it worked itself out exactly how it was supposed to. Check out my home here.
All my celebrations were like that. I wrote six things down and as the new year quickly approaches, I am celebrating them in whatever form they are in my life as I revisit them.
I didn’t do any laborious planning for all the things I am celebrating, I simply wrote them down and let life take its course. As freakish as I am with details and systems, I tend to not apply them intensely to my own personal goals and life. Life will happen as it should and so long as I am having a constant conversation with my heart. I don’t scold myself for not fulfilling things I thought I would a year ago. I celebrate the things that replaced what I wasn’t supposed to do in the first place.
Anyway, people, if you're inclined, take a half hour before the new year and write down your celebrations. Even if it’s on the back of an envelope. Don't overthink it, just write down what comes to you.