Preparing for the New Year

I’ve been stuck in a conundrum about how to prepare for 2017. I wanted to enjoy the Christmas season and live in the moment. I also want to spend an appropriate amount of time reflecting on the past year, and an equally appropriate amount of time preparing for the new. The latter two activities definitely clash with the general “living in the moment” mindset that Christmas spirit requires. When am I supposed to do all of this?


I debated spending the entire month of December focused on Christmas, and the entire month of January on New Year’s preparations. That would give me enough time to live into both holidays, but completely bypasses the emotional power of the turning of the calendar. We just can’t have that.


Thus my current solution: I’ll dive wholeheartedly into Christmas through December 25th. Starting on the 26th, New Year’s prep is ON. I’ve got 6 total days before the new year hits to complete all of my traditional activities. Let’s go.


Mandi’s Annual New Year’s Traditions


Every single year, I go through a long process to prepare for January 1st. I spend days reflecting by rereading journals from the past year, going through planners, and reviewing my social media accounts. I love remembering the year as a whole, and these activities help me remember what I may have forgotten.


After I’ve completed this sometimes-upsetting task (depending on the year), I start in on my analysis. I reflect on the past year as a whole and I put together the highlights in my journal in one long list. What big things happened in 2016 that really impacted me? I usually try to have this exercise be positive, if I can. Then I write a separate list of lessons I learned in the past year.


Now comes the goal-setting time. I first brainstorm a list of 1, 3, and 5 year goals for myself. I tend to do this every year, but I’ve also wondered if I should only do it every 5? So that I have time to complete my goals? The thought was too meta, so I just decided to do it yearly. I also select three or fewer big resolutions that will help to guide my focus. I’ll take my resolutions and break them down into action items that can be easily crossed off. I’m a bit into setting goals. No judgment.


Finally, I do some manifesting work. I’ve really loved keeping a mantra and/or word for each of the past years. My word of the year for 2014 was “Serendipity,” and living into that word brought me so much joy. My mantra for 2016 was “No mud, no lotus.” This saying played on repeat in my head and got me through graduation and into the real world. In 2017, I’d like to select a word and a mantra to stay focused on.


I’ll be going crazy this week getting all of these activities completed in time for the New Year. Wish me luck! What are your New Year’s traditions? Do you set resolutions? I’d love to hear about any reflection practices you engage in– fill me in in the comments below. I’m wishing you all a happy New Year’s preparation week!


“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” Søren Kierkegaard