Start of the Year Mindful Practices
My 2023 was a year full of giving, hard work, managing projects, supporting family and friends, and working on my mental health. To put it plainly, 2023 was exhausting.
As I enter 2024 I'm committed to making this year a year of beauty, stability, and rest. I want to be one step ahead, I want plans made, appointments booked, and energy spent in the right places. I've always admired how Eco Collective's founder, Genevieve, practices reflection and discovers her goals for the year.
Below is her wonderful guide on how to start the new year and find what is most important to you. Take a read and I encourage you to implement some of these practices this month to help guide your goals for 2024.
A message from Genevieve:
This has been a heavy year for me - my mom was diagnosed with glioblastoma in October and it knocked us to our knees. We don’t have a lot of time with her so I’ve been on the east coast soaking up some time with her this new years and I’m naming this my Year of Yes. Yes to love, yes to gratitude, yes to grief.
Looking back, it was also a beautiful year of adventures - 100 mile sail races, 30 mile bike rides, camping, hiking, cider making. As we start anew I’m returning to my favorite New Year’s habits to hold me steady.
One of my favorite practices to look back on each year is to do some mindful journaling. To reflect, ruminate, and reset. I have a lot of friends who are really measured about New Year's resolutions - they want to hit a specific goal (number of books read, miles biked) and that's so fun and rewarding to see your own growth and achievements, but I'm honestly not that organized. I'm more of an All Year's resolutions gal! I like to set new goals and visions every few months and regularly assess what I want more of in my life. But it does feel especially poignant and charged in the last days of each year, and if you know me at all, you know my deep love for all holidays. :) So I tend to dive in head first into the New Year's energy!
Here's a few of the things I do (throughout the year) to recenter myself and start fresh. PS - at the end of this post, you'll find my end-of-year reflections practice in the form of a set of questions and writing prompts.
Some easy mindful practices I do to end the year and start fresh:
- Look through my Favorites folder on my phone (Photos and Notes) to look back on all that this year held. I usually look at Instagram and Twitter to jog my memory too. I make a list of all the big things, rambling through highs and lows.
- Make note of some of the biggest moments and most notable numbers of the year. Hours meditated, miles walked, books read, places visited. I try to view these in a positive light without measuring up. It's the reason I don't set a number as a goal or resolution, but rather choose things I want more of. Like more biking, more reading, more trying new things.
- Make a list of things I want more of in the New Year. For example: I'd like to be more hydrated - i bought this cute glass bottle hoping it’ll encourage me to make a fresh juice every week! :) I'd like to find ways to fit movement into every day, whether a walk, a workout or a sail. I'd like to read more and set aside time for research (hormone health is peaking my curiosity big time). And more cold plunges, always more swimming.
- Practice manifestation - a friend taught me to write out what a perfect day in my dream life would look like, making it as detailed as possible. The key is to use present tense, like it’s already happened. I like to look ahead a few years, rule that anything is possible, and describe my day from the moment I wake up, and how I spend the day, to where I fall asleep.
- Read my dream day aloud and then do a meditation to this abundance frequency on Youtube.
- Hydrotherapyyyyy. I didn’t have a bathtub on the boat (LOL) so I came to love finding new lady’s spas where they have a day pass - cold and hot pools, ma the a steam room or a salt room. Breathe out the old, breathe in the new.
- Clean the house!!! This is a big one. I like to do a deep clean and a decluttering to start the year fresh (click here for my Cleaning Guide), do laundry, make the bed, vacuum up all our furry friend's fur, air out the place, light some sage and burn some incense.
- Polar bear plunge baby. For the last five years, my husband and I have jumped into freezing cold water on New Year’s Day. It is oh-so refreshing and always clears my mind and invigorates my perspective. Last year it was a 32° lake!
- Go for a walk, read a book, bake some bread, whatever I want to see more of in the New Year, I like to get started right away. It's cheesy, but I love how rosy and inspired everyone around me feels, and I like to tap into that collective energy.
- Make a new list of books I want to read and download the samples (okay so it’s a long list), habits I want to build and things I want to try outdoors.
- Bring the outdoors in. I like to go on a walk and collect a few pinecones, seashells, foraged flowers or fallen branches to usher in each change of seasons, and it's always sweet to do this on a New Year's Day walk.
- Make a vision board. I ask my buy nothing group for leftover magazines or I go to the nearest health foods store and grab a plethora of magazines - home, travel, exercise, lifestyle, pop culture, and get to clipping. Inspiring quotes, beautiful aesthetics, motivating images... I'll glue them all to an 11 x 17 cardstock and tape it up on my mirror in my bathroom so it's the first thing I see every morning. We had a vision boarding party in our very first Eco Collective office above our old store. The sweetest memory, I shared a photo below.
- Fill out my Journal. This is a big one. I like to journal at poignant moments in my life - business milestones, life changes, big events... it helps me tune in to where I am, feel everything fully and honor the passing of time.
My end-of-year reflections journaling practice consists of a series of questions and writing prompts. I shared them below in case any of you lovely readers want to join me this year. I asked if we wanted to do this live on Instagram, and several said yes but more of you said you'd prefer a written version, so thank you for making my job easier ;). You'll find the writing prompts below. If you do try them, tag me in a picture of you or your notebook @ecocollective_ so we can share the joy and release in this creative energy.
Remember: self care looks different for everyone. Some of you may want to grab a friend to do this with you, some will seek out solitude. Maybe you want to keep this simple like building a "things that are good for me" list or maybe you want to go all out and pair this journaling practice with a vision board and a perfect day manifestation. If you're like me, you'll be doing a mix of all of the above over the next few days :)
End of year writing practice:
Write down some of the brightest moments of the year, both small and big.
What were some of the heaviest parts of your year?
What are you grateful for right now?
What were you proud of this year?
What is the best way you invested in yourself in the last twelve months?
What (and who) was worth your energy this year? What wasn't?
What's something you want to leave behind in 2023?
What's something you want to take up or learn in 2024?
List 21 self care items you can do when you're stressed - quick ones, ones that take more time, free things and ones you would pay for.
What's one habit you want to break and one habit you want to build?
How you want to feel at the end of 2024.
What would bring you joy and growth in the new year?
What do you want to do more of next year? Who can you connect with to help you explore these things?
- What's inspiring you lately? What tools do you need for that next big project or creative outlet?
- Make a manifestation list. "I will do _____ every day" or "I will read more about _____" This can be anything from waking up early to starting a tea ceremony to reading about growing your own food.
However you are celebrating the end of this wild year, I am thinking of you and sending you positive energy to close the chapter, believe in hope, and continue chasing the best version of you and learning to love yourself more and more.
Sending light and gratitude.