5 Rituals To End The Year On A High Note
The power of ritual is undeniable, and has been tied to the process of healing and growth long throughout history. Rituals allow us to connect better with ourselves and the world around us, and turn even simple, everyday acts into something meaningful that is filled with purpose and intention. And what better time to establish or honor some rituals than the end of a year?
All over the world, across various cultures and traditions, the end of the year marks a special time, with unique traditions carried out to mark the occasion. While we could argue that it is technically “just another day”, it’s also the chance to mark the closing of a chapter, and be ready to start a new one. Whether or not time is simply a social construct, we can’t deny the fact that the chronology of our lives, or the passing of time and all of the fragility that that can hold, is an important way for us to measure our growth. The New Year is a powerful chance to mark a new beginning – one that allows us to celebrate and acknowledge where we have been and where we’re going, and to help reinstill us with a sense of hope: an incredibly powerful emotion that can have an enormously transformative, positive influence on our lives.
Before we can begin our new year with a fresh mindset, we must first acknowledge all that we’ve learned in the past one, so that we can move forward with more clarity. Here are some wonderful rituals to try in the last week or few days of the year (or on New Years Eve itself!) to help you do that.
1. Let your gratitude fill your cup
Gratitude is an extremely powerful emotion. Not only can it help us lower our levels of stress and anxiety, feeling gratitude can also help us increase our happiness and sense of satisfaction, improve our relationships, and give us a more positive outlook on life. Take a moment to reflect on the year that’s just gone by. What are some of the things you are most grateful for that have happened this past year? It can be anything: a person, an experience, or an event. If you need a little help doing this, why not consider trying a gratitude meditation? Once you have your list, you can meditate on it and simply carry this energy within yourself, letting its positivity spread through you – or you can even make a physical list that you can refer back to in the future, anytime you might need a pick-me-up in the new year.
2. Express that gratitude
Sometimes, it can be intimidating to tell people how much we value and appreciate them – but doing so helps us to spread the love, joy, and good vibes that we feel. Acknowledging our gratitude is wonderful, but if some of the things on your list are people, why not let them know? Send them a message, write them a note, or go and tell them in person if you can, expressing that you are grateful for them, and telling them why. Or you can simply do something nice for them if you’d prefer to keep it private: there are countless ways to show others that we appreciate them, whether that’s verbal or nonverbal.
3. Figure out what you need to leave behind
As time passes, we grow, change, and evolve. And with that, we often need to shed, discard, or leave certain things behind. Wanting or needing to let something go doesn’t always have to mean that it was bad for you – perhaps there was something that served you well this past year, but it has served its purpose. This could be anything from a schedule or routine, to an old frying pan that you’ve loved but need to retire and replace. Then there are the things that perhaps weren’t so great for us, and that we need to leave behind in order to be a happier, better version of ourselves in the next year: perhaps it’s a toxic friendship or relationship, or a bad habit. What is it that no longer serves you? Whatever it is, take a moment to connect with yourself and reflect upon what these things might be – and be honest with yourself. Write down a list, or write multiple lists for the different aspects of your life, and cross things out as you figure it out. Holding onto clutter - whether that’s mental, emotional, or physical clutter - will only prevent us from moving forward.
4. Discard the negativity! Mentally, physically, and emotionally
That list you just made? Toss the thing! If it’s a mental or emotional thing, then try to figure out how you’re going to move forward from it. Perhaps there’s a conversation you need to have, or maybe there are some boundaries that you need to set to be able to protect yourself better and give yourself the space that you need in the next year. Maybe you need to set up a new pre-bedtime routine that allows you to practice better sleep hygiene. If it’s a physical item you need to get rid of, then it might be time to grab some bags and make some piles of things to throw away, things to donate, and things to repurpose. When you’re done, if saging or smudging is part of your practice, you might want to consider refreshing the energy of your space this way – if so, ensure that you’re doing so in a way that is ethically-sourced and culturally respectful, and that you fulfill the ritual safely in terms of fire and smoke precautions! Alternatively, you could try doing an energy cleanse through the use of sound, like through one of our sound healing meditations!
5. Affirm what you’d like to take into the new year
While it’s great to go with the flow of life and embrace the countless unexpected possibilities that may come our way, having some idea of where we’d like to go and what we’d like to achieve is an important aspect of goal-setting that can help lead us to success in our desired pursuits. Make a list of goals, or set some intentions for the new year – then write down a few potential routes that can help you achieve them. You can also try writing these down as statements, and using them as daily affirmations to help remind your brain and spirit of them, until you’ve built up the confidence and power to attract what you need to accomplish or manifest them.
However you choose to spend the rest of your New Years celebration – whether that’s by nourishing yourself with a delicious meal, enjoying celebrations with loved ones, watching the bright lights of the festive celebrations, spending the evening indulging in some soul-feeding self-care, or even going to bed early to give yourself some quality rest (there’s no rule saying that you need to stay up until midnight on New Years Eve!), remember that how you choose to spend this occasion is entirely up to you – no social obligations or FOMO triggers necessary! Whatever you decide, one of the best ways to end a year and ring in a new one is by doing so in a way that honors your confidence, self-compassion, and self-respect. That’s the kind of energy that’s well worth carrying over into the year ahead!
All of the content on our website is thoroughly researched to ensure that the information shared is evidence-based. For more information, please visit the academic journals that influenced this article: A Large-Scale Experiment On New Year’s Resolutions: Approach-Oriented Goals Are More Successful Than Avoidance-Oriented Goals; The Power Of Rituals In Life, Death, And Business.
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