In a few days, we’ll be entering not only a new year, but a new decade! This is a great opportunity to create a new ritual to go with your New Year’s resolutions, vision board, and goal setting planning.

As a new year and decade approach, it’s wonderful to look ahead and plan your future. Before you do this however, let’s take some time to review your past. This way you’ll be aware of some recurring themes that are cycling through your life so you can consciously choose whether you want these themes to continue onward or to create new themes.

The End of a Decade (or Year) Ritual:

To review your decade/year, sit down with a pad of paper or at your computer.

Step 1: Write down a list of all your external milestones. For example, you ran a 5k, you got a raise, you got married, etc.

Next, identify and write down a list of internal milestones.

For example, you’ve noticed you don’t get triggered emotionally as much, you reached a goal and felt proud of the way you were disciplined and focused, you went to counseling and worked on your sadness, etc.

Step 2: Now I want you to go through those 2 lists and pull out the themes and write them down.

For example, is there a theme of working through your “not feeling like you’re enough” hot button trigger?  

Or, you’ve become aware that your financial habits have become more responsible.

Maybe you’ve become more organized, more in tune with self-care and balance, or that you’ve developed a lot more healthy habits.

I’ve found that one of my themes is that I’ve done an incredible amount of external and internal work and I don’t give myself enough credit for how much I’ve actually done.

Step 3: Now that you’ve found some themes underlying your external and internal milestones, think about and write down what the lesson in each theme is.

The lesson I learned from this theme is: _____________________________

So for example, the lesson you’ve learned from working on the belief “I’m not enough” is that you’ve wasted so much time worrying about a fear that holds you back from joy and enjoying life. It holds you back from taking more risks and losing out on some amazing opportunities.

The lesson you’ve learned from becoming more responsible for your financial situation is that you have more peace of mind. You feel more in control of your life and your ability to handle whatever comes up.

The lesson I learned from not giving myself enough credit for how much I’ve accomplished is that if I think I don’t do enough, then it ties into “I’m not enough” and it ultimately suppresses my joy and inner worth. Inner worth and joy are available immediately, and are not tied into anything external. Additionally, instead of looking at what I haven’t done, by focusing on what I have done, I can propel myself forward on positivity instead of motivating myself from a place of lack/negativity.

Step 4: Looking at your list of themes from the past decade, write down what you want to carry forward into the future. Knowing what you’ve learned in the past year and decade, what intentions would you like to create now and moving into the future? What would help you create your most fulfilling, amazing life?

For example, let’s say you’ve really nailed it financially, but maybe your relationship skills need some work. Your intention would be to create more love and connection in your life. What does that look like to you? Would you read up on that topic? Volunteer your time to help others less fortunate while getting out and meeting people in your community?

Or, let’s say you feel lonely because you noticed, now that your kids are out of the house, you had filled up your time with them and now you had some space for something new. Would your intention be more love and connection? To learn new skills? To create a more fulfilling life? What would you like to fill that space with? A new hobby? Learning a new skill? New friends? Volunteering?

I find the Wheel of Life to be helpful if you’re having difficult with what areas to focus on moving forward. You may be so focused on one part of your life, that you have forgotten other parts. For example, new parents may not even be aware that they’re neglecting fun and recreation. Or, that your physical environment is important because you’ve learned to ignore all the clutter around you.

So let’s sum up this end-of-decade (or yearly!) ritual:

  1. Create 2 lists: one is to identify and write down your external milestones and the second is for your internal milestones.
  2. Find the themes of these lists and write them down.
  3. Summarize the lessons in each of the themes (the lesson I learned from this theme is: ________________).
  4. Set your intentions for the new year and decade based on the past themes.

That’s it! I want to encourage you to do this exercise! It took me about 15 minutes and now I’ll use it to create a vision board and goals/intentions list.

Do you have an end-of-year ritual that you do? Leave a comment below.

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Published by Nicole Nenninger

Nicole Nenninger MA Psychology, MA Marriage & Family Therapy, Life & Relationship Coach Nicole is a life and relationship coach, and author. She understands that the quality of the relationship you have with yourself reflects the quality of the relationship you have with your partner. She works with women who need help with self-esteem and confidence, life purpose, motivation and direction, relationship issues, break-ups, and more. Nicole lives in a beautiful coastal town on Long Island, New York with her handsome husband and soul mate, 4 children, 2 dogs, and a cat. She loves running, reading, kayaking, and going to the beach.

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