Now you may have noticed something funny on the picture above. I wrote 2017 not 2016. But it's not a typo. It's all part of my new New Year's Tradition.
I'm not a huge fan of the New Year's Resolution. I'm also not a huge goal setter. Perhaps it is just my personality type, but if I want to do something, have something, or accomplish something, I just do it. If I want to change the way I eat, exercise, or whatever, I will do it that day, I don't need the number at the end of the year to change to get it done.
Don't get me wrong, wanting to improve yourself and your life is admirable and absolutely possible, but chances are if you are waiting for a specific day, time, astrological sign, whatever, you're not really interested in making a change.
So, I am here to propose a new tradition that doesn't involve the pretense of change at all, just desire, which we all have anyway.
I can't seem to find it now, but about two years ago Yoko Ono tweeted something to the effect of:
On a piece of paper write what you want, seal it in an envelope and place it in a drawer for one year. After one year, open it and see what happens.
Being a Yoko-lover, I wrote out a list of things I wanted, sealed it in an envelope, put it in a draw, and set an alert on my phone for one year later. The list was a mix of specific things like "Live in LA for the winter" and others were completely vague, like "Learn to live creatively". But clear or vague, realistic or not, they were all things I wanted in my life.
When I went back and opened the envelope a year later, I was completely amazed. A lot of the things on the list had in fact happened in some way, others were completely nonsensical, and others I had realized I didn't really want.
Now you may be asking why I didn't just make all those things my resolutions and set goals to achieve them. But this exercise is less about making a plan and more about concretely expressing your desires for yourself, giving it time, and seeing what happens.
The thing I found the most interesting was how clear my priorities from the last year became when I opened the list. I could see that I naturally put my energies and efforts toward whatever it was I wanted most. It was an illuminating experience.
I've decided to make this my New Year's Tradition and invite you to do so as well. Below are instructions to help you get started.
What you'll need:
Piece of Paper (I like to do mine on nice stationary)
1. On your piece of paper, write a list of desires you have for your life. These don't have to be concrete things, like losing 10 pounds or buying a house, although they can be. Just be open, and honest. This list is just for you, so there is no need to censor yourself.
2. Seal the list in your envelope and write the date for one year from now on the front.
3. Set a reminder on your phone or calendar for one year from today to open your list and make another.
4. Put your sealed envelope in a drawer and leave it for one year.
That's pretty much it! There's no wrong way to do this exercise. It's just a way to shift your focus from what you "should" fix about your life to what you actually want. Some of it will happen, some of it won't, but regardless, you'll be sure to get a kick out of what it was you wanted your life to be a year ago.
Happy New Year to all of you, your families, and friends! I've got a terrific feeling about 2016