Keeping a New Year's Journal

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Keeping a New Year's Journal has been, and continues to be, a meaningful annual exercise. It provides us with a way to document what has happened during the past year, set goals for the coming year, and measure how successfully we accomplished those goals. (Excerpted from Simple Healing Tools book)

KEEPING A NEW YEAR'S JOURNAL

Become aware that you already possess all the 
inner wisdom, strength, and creativity you need 
to make your dreams come true.” 
~Sarah Ban Breathnach, Author

In 1999 Victor and I decided we no longer wanted to celebrate New Year’s Eve by going out and partying. We both felt it would be much more enjoyable and meaningful for us to spend New Year’s Eve in a spiritual way. 

So we decided to go to our meditation room around nine o’clock in the evening, light the candles and talk about the important things that had happened to us during the year. The list started getting so long I suggested it would probably be a good idea to write it down in a journal. Thus began our ritual of keeping a New Year’s Journal. 

Each year during our New Year’s Eve ritual, we list the following items in our journal:

• all the family events (i.e., births, deaths, family reunions, etc.)
• all the new people we have met during the year and how they have made a difference in our lives
• all the trips we have taken and what was special about each one
• all the creative endeavors we have undertaken and how they have changed our lives
• all the things we have accomplished and why these things are important to us

We are always amazed at how long our list becomes and how very full our life has been during the year.

We then make a list of our goals for the new year. We start by looking back to the previous year’s list of goals noting which ones we have accomplished; which ones we have decided to abandon; and which ones we will carry over to the new year. I remember the joy we felt one year when we found we had actually accomplished all the goals on our list. (This doesn’t happen often!)

All of the above takes a couple of hours and we try to time it so that we can be done by midnight to ring our Tibetan bowl while we hold an intention for world peace. Keeping a New Year’s journal has been a great way to keep a record of our activities and accomplishments. But more importantly, it is an inspirational tool that enables us to see how much we have grown personally and spiritually each year.

* * *

NEW YEAR'S JOURNAL PROCESS

Victor and I do this process every New Year’s Eve. It can be done alone, with a spouse or partner, or as a family ritual. There are no specific “rules” for doing it right. The point is to set aside time each year to write down everything of importance that has happened during the past year and your goals for the coming year.

What you need:

• A bound journal or spiral notebook
• A pen or pencil
• A quiet space where you can be undisturbed

We always begin our process with a short prayer asking our angels to help us remember all the events that were important to us during the past year.

Start your journal by dating the first page so you know the year you began the journal. You can use the same journal every year until it is filled. If you decide to use the same journal each year, be sure to leave a few blank pages between each year’s entries so you can add items later you may have forgotten to add during the process. 
The following is a starter list of activities and experiences you might want to document in your journal. (Be sure to add any other topic to this list that is important to you). Title each page with the topic you are covering and always leave a couple of blank pages between each topic to allow space to add things that come to mind later.

  • Family Events (births, deaths, family reunions, meaningful family experiences, etc.)
  • New People (all the people you have met during the past year and how they made a difference in your life)
  • Trips (all the trips and vacations you have taken and what was special about each one)
  • Activities and Events (all the creative endeavors you have engaged in over the past year and events you have attended and why each was meaningful)
  • Accomplishments (all the things you have accomplished throughout the year and why these things were important to you)

After Victor and I finish our list, we look at the goals we had written in our journal for the past year and check off those we have accomplished. We then write our goals for the coming year, carrying over any goals from last year that were not yet accomplished or remain ­unfinished and are still relevant. 

When we complete our journal entries, we end with a short prayer of gratitude for the past year and ask for guidance to accomplish the goals we have set forth for the new year.

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