It’s the end of the year and it’s soon time to start a fresh one. But before we can start anew we need to say our goodbyes. It used to be enough to show up at the New Years Party and drink a glass of champagne, but that’s not sufficient to me any more.
I need to check in, write something about it all and then do a couple of lists. And as the years go by I add more things in to my annual closure ritual. I think it has something to do with my growing expanding creativity and my drive to document everything. I need to document the ending too, and now it’s time to finish the year.
How to say goodbye to a year
It will never come again, but looking at what you’ve stuffed into it might help you make a better stew in the future – if we talk in food metaphors… I usually don’t so let’s just drop that. It’s time to say goodbye to another creative year. This is how I do it, every year.
- What have I achieved
Go through your year, month by month. I don’t know how (or if, gasp!) you’ve documented it, but I document my life in several ways and at the end of the year I take the time to read through almost everything. I read what I’ve written in my blog, my diary, my calendar and then I also browse through most of the photos I’ve taken through the year. Keep a notepad close by and write down what has been important to you. What went wrong and what did you do right?
- Review your goals and intentions
When you read through your year have your own inner promises in front of you! How many of the goals that you set up for this year have you achieved? How many of your New Year Resolutions have you fulfilled? I made a list of intentions for 2008 that I’ve kept by my bed all year. I haven’t looked at the list that often, and when I look at that list I feel like a failure. I’m thinking I was to vague in my goals and made to many commitments when I had no energy to follow up on all of them. I need to do better next year, maybe you do to?
- Read through your lists.
I don’t know what kind of lists you keep, but maybe you’re keeping track of weight loss, things to do, shows you’ve seen, gifts given, postcards sent or something totally different… One of mine is Books I’ve read this year. During December I transfered my reading list from various places in my diaries to the computer. I will print it and go through it, and then I will add the “result” to my personal yearly statistics.
♥ I love Personal Statistics, a term I’ve invented myself. What it is? It’s the only math I can stand, and it tells the story of my year in numbers and lists.
- Write: sum it all up!
I’ve made a yearly summery in December for a couple of years now. In it I include the notes I took while reading through my calendar. When I first look back I always thing to myself that I’ve done nothing, created nothing, stayed at home and experienced nothing new. This year it has been one of those years again, just doldrums (stiltje) in life. But as I go back and read I find things to be proud of, places I’ve loved and about a gazillion things created by yours truly! That is what’s amazing about summarizing at the end of the year. It puts me in a reflective mood and tells me what I’ve done right, what I haven’t done at all and where I’ve erred. Plus, it makes me feel like the star in my own life.
- Let the list maker out to play
If you’re a list maker you already have those lists I just talked about, with books read and movies seen. Now you can make your own Personal Top Ten Lists and add them to your Personal Statistics! And if you haven’t made enough notes this year you know what to do next year. Your Personal Top Ten (or five or Best of – the number is not important and I prefer a Best of List as it is easier to look through) can be about anything, the more personal they are the more fun… Some suggestions from my own yearly list making is 1) Best Books Read, books everyone I know should read, 2) The Best I’ve been this year, 3) The Best Things I’ve bought, learned or thrifted this year, 4) The Biggest Failures for Me this year and 5) Best Crafts I’ve tried for the first time this year.
This is just the extra fun, but lists are fun to make so you can never have to many.
Oh, and if you do read through your blog which I think you should, please make a list of your Best Blog Posts 2008 on your blog and let me know! I promise to come by and read it, as I’ve probably missed one or two of them on your blog this year!
- Personal Statistics of 2008
Last but not least for me is the statistics. This is where you’ll find how many blog posts I’ve written (211 in this blog), how many books I’ve read this year (45), how many dated photo folders I’ve got on my computer (140) and how many times I’ve been flying (twice)! etc. Just as with the list this is for fun, but will also be very helpful when you plan for next year. As I notice what I’ve read and written I can take note if that’s aligned with my bigger goals for the year. And then I can plan for the future with that knowledge.
When you take the time to end your year thoroughly you’ll get a more true image of the past months, improve your self image and be better prepared for next year. At least that’s what I think. When you take the time to reflect like this you’ll become more grounded.
I will post a shorter list on How to Start a New Year in a Creative Way too. I will present you with my suggestions of actions to take, but remember you shouldn’t (can’t?) go forward if you haven’t finished this year in a reflective mood!
Good luck, and have fun with it.