THE BLOG
12/31/2015 10:39 am ET Updated Dec 31, 2016

How You End is How You Begin: Getting Ready for a New Year

Ezra Bailey via Getty Images

I don't know about you, but for many years I wanted to leap across the border to the New Year faster than a track star. Sprint past disappointments, and grab the holy grail where now I would manifest a thin waist, a fat wallet, a book deal, a trip to Bali, all with the thin flip of a calendar page. Other years, I turned cynical. I spit on resolutions and goals. I snarled at "vision boards," new gym memberships, and stomped on silver party hats.

But this is what I know now.

We do have the chance to begin again. We have the chance to enter miraculous time. But there is no "New Year" without a blessed year before it. How you end one year is how you begin the next.

I want you to end this year with love.

Here's how.

I don't care what you "got done" this year. I care about who you've become.

I want you to look at your past year in terms of the relationship you've developed with yourself. How did this past year help you grow? The wisdom tradition A Course in Miracles teaches that "Everything is a teaching device for bringing you home." That means there aren't bad events or good events. How did you respond to your life? Who did you become through facing the circumstances in your life? Did you uncover new capacities? Or did an old story about yourself re-surface for further healing? Did you try on new ways of being? Where did you backslide? Have you realized that your "identity" is just a set of beliefs and you can change your beliefs at any time? There are no wrong answers. There's just information. When you are on a spiritual journey, you view every circumstance as designed to help you become more of who you're meant to be. Sometimes we make choices that cause us pain before we make the choices that set us free. It's all just tennis balls coming over the net; every ball helps you practice your swing.

Collect Only The Good

What happened for you this year? If you were taking a carton into the New Year what would you put in it? What moments or experiences do you want to carry forward or experience more of? What were your biggest lessons?

Here's my suggestion. Collect all that was good and put this love into your box to take with you. Remember moments you shined or dared. Remember moments you realized something new. Remember people or resources that showed up, even for an instant. Put everything you appreciated about this year in the box. You are going to leave all else behind. Discard other memories as you would an article of clothing that no longer pleases you or fits. This is not about shunning or condemning anything.

If You Don't Forgive, You'll Re-live

Is there a place where you feel ashamed or frustrated? Is there something you want to see yourself do differently this year, if not this minute? This might require loving self-honesty.

As we move into the next year, we will bring forward what we can't leave behind. Whatever you haven't made peace with, glues itself to you like gloppy white bird soil on your windshield. This searing pain hunts you down like that assailant in your dreams. It is the same jarring song again and again on the juke box, the song you hate. This agitation begs for your attention, understanding, and amends. It influences what cells replicate in your body, which neurons fire in your brain, what you see or don't see, and how your clients or children hear your tone of voice, no matter which words you choose. Whatever haunts you, informs others. So what do you need to forgive or do differently? What do you need to do to come to peace?

I want you to have a year like never before. I want you to discover a power within you that can accomplish anything with great love. There are so many dimensions of freedom and expression we all have yet to experience. So if there's anywhere you feel stuck at all, forgiveness is your ticket.

Please do whatever you can to forgive yourself. Are there new commitments you need to make to yourself? Remember you are not upset for what you failed to do in the past. You are upset for what you are failing to do right now.

You have the chance to make it right. You have the chance to go forward with a new tool, lesson, awareness, or resolution in your heart. You have the chance to give yourself another chance. You have the chance to take something "broken" and make it count for something. You have the chance to turn self-hatred into self-respect and direction. You have the chance to re-build a sense of trust. It doesn't matter if you can't go all the way at once, you can do one small thing. It doesn't matter if it takes time. It matters that you care enough about your life to move forward.

There Are No False Starts. Only False Conclusions

Maybe you feel nervous about trusting yourself, because you've begun strong before, only to run out of steam. Maybe you suffer from self-forgetfulness. You have good intentions, but they have no roots. Let me whisper something to you. "Every time you've ever believed in yourself, you put gold in your veins. The gold is still there. Even when you forget."

I know that being a writer, I have so many "false starts." I began writing articles or short stories that died on the vine, or disappeared into ghost-fog in some notebook. I've never regretted those attempts. They were bursts of joy in the moment, sacred times of reunion with my creative power. But more importantly, when I wrote months or even years later, something coalesced. It was all those "false starts," all those bursts of enthusiasm, new strategies, and chasing ideas even with torn butterfly nets, that got me over the finish line.

It wasn't as if I sat down one day and discovered my solid truth from a vacuum. Every prior attempt fed into the final results. The "fruitful times" were connected to the "useless ones." Everything counts. This is what I've seen a thousand times with myself and with all the creative clients I worked with over the years. There are no false starts. There are only false conclusions.

So this year...let yourself commit to losing weight again, writing your memoir, asking for a raise, meditating, taking that trip to Paris, creating your coaching empire, speaking your new spooky truth to your spouse or kids, or whatever you'd like to experience. Dream big. Get naked about what you truly want. These are your years. Who do you really want to become? Maybe you'll hit it out of the ball park right away. Maybe it will take you ten tries or ten thousand. It doesn't matter. It's the courage to aim for what you desire that counts. And the dedication to love yourself all along the way.

End Your Year With Love

Here's a Year End Invocation of mine you might find helpful.

"I bless this year of my life. I bless all that it offered me. And I bless all that I received. I thank myself for this year of my life. I thank myself for everything I tried, whether or not it worked. I thank myself for the times I believed in myself, even if I couldn't sustain it for as long as I would have liked. I thank myself for the times I got it right. I thank myself for the times I stretched. I thank myself for the times I was generous with myself and others. I thank myself for the times I invested in my dreams. I thank myself for the moments I spoke my truth. I thank myself for...." Keep going with this. There is just so much to appreciate.

Take in this past year as much as you can because it will never come again. And, how you end this year is how you begin next year. Let's end the year with love.