When things slow down during this time - whether you are at home, traveling to family, or on a full blown vacation- spending 20 minutes of mindful downtime with your journal can really give you clear and focused intention.
We all have a book (or two…or three) that we have promised ourselves we will be quietly tucked into a chair with cozy slippers and reading during the holidays, or a TV series that we have been saving to watch, or a vacation that also includes reading and relaxing. The goal is to make sure that we give ourselves the gift of downtime. The holiday gift I treasure at the year’s end - after my business quiets down and settles - is taking time to mindfully set intentions for the new year.
More than just a resolution, I am talking about time spent quietly writing down how you see the year ahead - more a vision than a plan. A resolution means you are committed to some type of accomplishment, like a stream of consciousness vision board.
I have found that the best purchase for the year ahead is a journal. I begin using it before Christmas Eve and continue right into January. Things slow down during this time. If you are at home, traveling to family, or on a full blown vacation, spending 20 minutes of mindful downtime with your journal can really give you clear and focused intention.
Begin your mindful exercise by selecting a hardbound journal that is not too big, but not so small that you are unable to do illustrations from time to time. I find that drawing your visions and dreams is a helpful tool for clear visualization versus just words. I try to accompany my journal with one book or Audible download by an author who writes on mindful living, thinking, and purposeful being. Some suggestions:
The goal is to commit to just a bit of reading someone else's words for positive thought and mindful living to inspire you to set your own words to paper. December 20th is a good day to begin this practice, as it gives you a few days before the holidays begin. Aim to do this 10 minutes in the evening before you go to bed, and look at it as practice to help you set the tone for the 10 day reset between December 25th and January 5th.
Looking back at my own journal entries, Day 3 and Day 4 are much more fluid and focused than the first few days of writing. If you are feeling like you want to expand and deepen this practice, try out a 15-minute walk, 15-minute sun salutation, or a 15-minute bath before you begin writing. Sun salutations and walking are both great forms of movement medicine that open you up and clear blockages. Hot water mineral bathing will make you sweat and promote moving stagnant energy that causes blockages in writing.
After your movement or bathing, have your journal handy to start writing as soon as you are seated in a quiet space. If there is family around, you may just need to carve out a quiet corner. Allow your journal, pen and hand to work together to transfer your thoughts and intuitive desires onto paper. Try writing the first few minutes free form (without a topic). Just simply write anything that comes to mind at all. After you complete one minute of free form writing:
- Take a moment and begin to think about what it is you are grateful for today.
- After a minute of gratitude writing, jot down your thoughts about where you would like to see yourself - perhaps in the year ahead.
- These visual tools can range from geographic location / professional goals / love and personal goals / seeing yourself expand in small ways with more thoughtful habits (e.g. if your goal is to be fitter and healthier, instead of writing that you want to lose 10 pounds, instead visualize yourself eating slower, preparing food with more fruits and vegetables, and seeking out local farmers to connect to the community that grows your food).
Embrace the intimate concept of a long-term shift as opposed to the broad concept of a resolution; one is planted with purpose while the other is simply a mile marker to a short-lived goal. Practice accepting mindful change that leads to better habits and better living. You will begin to feel the connection to your visualization.
Happy New Year