Congratulations! You have made it through another year.
If you’re like me, you might be scratching your head and wondering, “What did I accomplish this past year? Did I make any progress in my life?” We can lose track of the goals we achieved, the inner growth we experienced, the joys and deepening of our primary relationships, and life in general.
Marking the end of a year with a ceremony has been a centuries old practice among we humans. Creating ceremonies helps us mark time and measure our lives and our life’s work.
In this video, I want to share with you how to create an “end of the year” ceremony of your own using the framework of celebrating the things we did, or others did for us, that fulfilled dreams, met needs, or satisfied the longings of our hearts. We also mourn those choices, words spoken, or actions taken that left our dreams uncompleted, that resulted in unmet needs, or that left us longing for different results. This is a framework I learned from the late Dr. Marshall B. Rosenberg, author of “Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life.”
I will share with you how to:
1. set up your ceremony – what items you will need to make it unique and special for yourself, where to hold the ceremony, and how much time to plan for it to take,
2. how to celebrate the good things that you have made happen in your life over the past year, and…
3. how to mourn those mistakes you made without falling into self-judgment or blaming yourself, and…
4. how to bring your ceremony to a close so that you end on an upbeat.
I encourage to try this out this year and when you do, come back and leave a comment to let me (us) know how it went, what you learned, or even what did not fit for you.
Thanks for watching.
I wish you a very Happy New Year.
Peace & Joy,
Hi, I’m Doyle banks. I’m a coach and educator, and I work with people who are ready to make positive transformations in their personal and professional lives. And I’m here today to share with you how to create your own celebration and mourning end-of-the-year ceremony. This is a ceremony that I often do at the change of the year, or at the beginning of a new year.
It’s something that you can take and adapt to celebrate, in your relationships, maybe in anniversary or at work your, anniversary, your annual review. You can make this part of that by celebration and mourning.
What I mean is to celebrate the things that worked, the dreams that came true, the goals we achieved, the successes we created in our lives. And then the mourning part is to really take an honest look and not wallow in self-pity and get into self-criticism and blame, but to just take an honest look at what did not work, look at why it didn’t work, see what we can learn from it, and then carry forward with a kind of course-correction, if you will, for the coming year.
That course-correction is one of the two main advantages that I experience when I do this ceremony. The other one is that it helps me to anchor the positives. So if there was something I had worked really hard on, I want to be sure that I keep in my mind what I learned and how I created that success so that I can duplicate that in the coming year or at some point in the future.
Now you might be wondering, okay, what’s the big deal? Why would I want to do a ceremony? And my answer would be, it’s important for us to self reflect, to pause once in a while. I don’t know about you, but I get going through my daily life and a day rolls by a week, a month, a quarter and so on and I kind of lose track of, okay, what am I doing? Where am I going in this area of my life or what’s happening in, in this particular relationship?
And so for me, it really helps to take a chunk of time, at a significant point in time, like the end of a year and review things, look at them from different perspectives. And again, I anchor the positives, course-correct on the negatives, if you will.
I like to do do this anchoring and course correcting because it helps me ground myself. In reality, that’s important to do because we can lose track of what our lives are about and we can end up after months of just plowing through without much mindfulness, we can end up coming to a point where we find ourselves wondering, “Why am I doing these things? What is my life about?” And we can experience a sense of loss of meaning and purpose. This helps us keep on track with that and not hit those really low points where we just feel like we’re totally out of sync with our out of alignment with our lives.
This is also an opportunity for us to exercise mindfulness, to look back over the past year of our lives mindfully and pull out the threads of wisdom, the threads of knowledge that we’ve gained and really appreciate them, really appreciate ourselves for the efforts we’ve made.
Even when things have not worked out quite the way we had hoped they would, reflecting on our lives mindfully is important because where we put our attention along with our intention and action will give us a strong indicator of where we will be a year from now. So if I notice that, “Hey, this part of my life, isn’t working, hasn’t been working so well,” I can make adjustments by paying attention, by creating an intention to do better, to do some thing differently. And then to take action on that. Whereas, if I’m just kind of blundering through each day, then I have a much smaller chance of getting to where I really want to be.
So if I could boil all that down into one word, self-reflection, mindfully looking at our past year, celebrating the wins, mourning the things that didn’t work out can help us have clarity about our lives. We can see where we’ve been. We can see where we are in, in this moment. And then we can look out to the future and see, okay, where is it that I’m going? Am I still heading in that direction? If not, okay, then I want to adjust. Or maybe I’ve realized that that direction I was going in is not really where I want to be. It’s not really fulfilling. It’s not really aligned with who I am and who I want to become so I can make changes to get on track, get myself back into alignment, get myself centered in and in integrity with myself and with what my true goals are.
All right, let’s dig into, how do you create a celebration and mourning end-of-the-year ceremony? Now, I’m going to share with you the basics of how I do it, and I encourage you to put your own spin on it. And if there’s something I suggest that you don’t particularly care for, or you try it and it doesn’t fit for you, then let it go and put something else in its place, or just leave it out all together.
The first part is what I call setting the stage. This, for me, starts with looking at my calendar and picking a day and blocking out a chunk of time. I like to do at least a half day if I can. I like to take a whole day, maybe get out of town, do an overnight somewhere nice and give myself a good day, day and a half to have some space and some ease in, in doing this ceremony, setting it up and doing it it the way I really enjoy.
So if you want, even right now, if you choose to do this, pause this video and grab your calendar, maybe grab a notebook and pen, jot down some notes and mark out a time that you’ll commit to doing this. All right. So get it on our schedule, get it on the calendar is the first step.
Then I like to start gathering some things to take with me. That might be some photos or, printed copies of emails. It might be some mementos of certain people in my life that help me connect to them, and to my relationship with them, whatever it might be. Gather those things so that you’ll have them ready to take with you when it comes time to go and do your ceremony.
By the way, I’m talking about this as, as though I’m assuming you would go out of town, but maybe you would enjoy just setting this up at home, which is more often than not what I end up doing.
If you can, pick a place where you can be uninterrupted, that you can be relatively quiet. Then that will help you have a better experience with your ceremony.
Another thing I enjoy doing is picking out some music that I can have playing softly in the background, just barely audible, something that is calming soothing to my a nervous system and can help me to quiet my mind and to go deep in my self reflection. So that might be something you’d like to add to your ceremony.
Finally, I keep my journal and my pen with me so that I can write out some of my reflections. I like to do that because then a month or two from now, or maybe toward the middle of the coming the next year, I like to sit down and flip back to those pages and see, what was I thinking about? Were there any new goals that I journaled about, or set an intention to do, or to work on, that maybe I’ve forgotten about since the ceremony? So I like to keep some kind of record about it.
If you don’t like to write, maybe you could speak into a voice recorder on your smartphone or something similar. But have a way to memorialize, or to remember, to be able to help you remember what you thought about what you felt, what choices or new decisions you made, and so on.
Next, it comes time to do the celebration. One of the ways I like to frame these up is I like to use Brendon Burchard’s, three Primary Aspirations. These are aspirations we have and we share generally as human beings.
One is what Brendon calls our “Being” aspirations. Who am I? Who am I becoming? Am I, you know, who do I want to become? And that type of thing.
Then there’s “Growing”. Am I growing? Am I expanding? Am I getting better at my skills, my craft better at my life.
And thirdly, then there are our “Relating” aspirations. Am I showing up in my relationships the way I want to be?
So taking those three areas, Being, Growing and Relating, then use those as lenses as we look back over our past year and ask ourselves, okay, am I more of the person I want to be today than I was a year ago? Have I become more of who I want to be? Am I in greater alignment with who I want to be? And if the answer is yes, then celebrate that! Enjoy that! Savor that!
We can look then at our Growing goals. Did I achieve, maybe a professional certification or did I grow as a parent to become more of the parent I want to be, if I have children?
Then the Relating goals again, to see where we had victories, or had wins, if you will, where we accomplished something in terms of becoming better at how we relate, maybe with our spouses or partners or with our kids or people at work, wherever it might be.
And again, you want to really enjoy those successes, enjoy those achievements. Let yourself bask in that. Give yourself a proverbial “pat on the back” and congratulate yourself. Celebrate it because it’s going to not only anchor what you did that worked, but it’s going to inspire you to continue doing those things in the coming year.
As you recognize your achievements and celebrate them, notice, “How am I feeling about those? As I reflect back on those, what feelings are coming up for me right now?”And then maybe put yourself back at that moment. You know, “When I got that certification or when my spouse and I worked through that difficult thing and, and really had aha moments and became even closer to one another, how did that feel in that moment?”
And then ask yourself, “Okay, what dreams or needs or desires were met when I accomplished those things, or when that thing happened with my spouse?” Maybe, if it’s the professional certification, “Well, I, I met my need for competence and that increased my confidence in how I do my job. And so I do my job better.”
Or, “I had really been missing the sense of togetherness and connectedness with my spouse. And by working through that thing that we worked through, now we’re both enjoying an even deeper connection, more intimacy, more fun and play together or whatever the things might be.”
The point is reflect on them, really dial in what worked and what needs or desires were met, what dreams came true so that we can, again, remember those, remember what worked and take it forward.
The next part of the celebration and mourning end-of-the-year ceremony is the mourning . I learned this from the late Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, who wrote the book, Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life. In there he suggests that one of the things that we can do to process the negatives that happen in our lives is to mourn, particularly to mourn where maybe I have missed the mark somewhere, somehow in some aspect of my life.
Maybe there’s a situation where I didn’t show up in a relationship the way I wanted to be. Maybe I even did some harm with something negative I said to the other person and did some damage to the relationship. I want to mourn that. I want to allow myself to feel the disappointment, the sadness, maybe a sense of loneliness or whatever other feelings come up.
I want to do that, not to get stuck in that, not to beat myself up, but I want to fully experience those feelings so that then I can let them process on through and move the negatives out and replace those with positives. So I can look at a situation again, using the professional world example, maybe I studied for a certification and I did not pass the exam. And let’s say that caused me to lose an opportunity for promotion at work. I can really allow myself to feel into that lean into that experience, and see, okay, what needs were left unmet? What dreams were left unfulfilled and what were some of the factors that played into that?
Maybe I didn’t put aside enough study time or study consistently enough for it. Maybe I needed some help, like a tutor or a study group or something. And I didn’t give myself that advantage to prepare for the exam, whatever it might be. I can look and see, okay, here’s something I could have done.
Then let’s assume I want to try for that certification again in the coming year. Now I know that I need to be more intentional about my study time. I need to find some help from a person or people who know the material, who have taken the exam themselves and could coach me, or mentor me in that. And again, do that course-correction so that I have a much better chance in the coming year of making that dream come true or achieving that goal.
So you see the, the mourning, as I mentioned, it’s not about staying stuck and it’s not about beating myself up. I “shoulda coulda, woulda.” It’s about, “Here’s what happened. Here’s how that felt. Here are the needs or dreams that were left unmet. And here are some adjustments I can make if I want to continue pursuing that dream.”
One important aspect of the mourning process then is to forgive ourselves, not beat ourselves up, not heap more criticism on ourselves, but to forgive ourselves, to acknowledge, okay, at that point, that was the best I could do. And I’m going to let that go. Now, I’m going to let go of any tendency, any urge to blame myself, to beat myself up. I’m going to forgive myself and move on.
Once we’ve forgiven ourselves, we set the intention to let it go. And if it was something fairly significant in our lives, it may take a while to actually let go of the negative feelings about it. So we just set the intention as best we can right now in this ceremony. And at this point in time, I’m going to let it go.
We can also then set the intention of, maybe, I want to try again. Again, using the certification example, “Maybe I’ll try again in this coming year.”
Or, if it’s a relationship where something didn’t go well, I can commit to, “I want to go back and heal that or repair that relationship with that person” and make the commitment to myself, to follow through, to take action on that.
We might also come to a realization that that’s not really what I wanted to do or what I want to be doing. So then we can choose a different goal. We can let go of that one, let go of, of obligating ourselves, demanding ourselves to push through when it’s not something that really fulfills us and turn our attention, put our energy into something that will be fulfilling and helpful in our lives.
Finally, then I like to close the ceremony. The way that I do this is I, I take a glance back through whether there are any other celebrations or mournings I missed that I want to acknowledge and process.
And then I close my eyes. I take three to five deep breaths. Nice, slow, deep breaths. I check my body, scan my body. Am I holding onto anything? Was there something that created some tension or stress that I need to pay attention to right now, in this moment? And I just try to relax that, make a note of that so that I can deal with it at another point in time, let it go as best I can in the moment, or make the commitment to come back to it at a later date.
And then I like to take a few minutes and just offer myself some gratitude. That might sound something like, “Doyle, I’m really grateful that you’ve worked so hard in your relationships this past year. I’m really so grateful that you made the efforts did in your profession,” and so on. And you might extend that out to bring other people into mind who helped you, who supported you. It might be gratitude for your spouse or gratitude for a mentor at work, whomever. It might be some people who have contributed to your success. People who stuck with you when things didn’t go well for you.
And just bring up that gratitude and, and send that out, send it inward to yourself, send it outward to the others you bring to mind.
Then offer yourself some appreciation. That could sound like, “You know, I really appreciate how I showed up in that situation with my kids and how I was able to really contribute to their wellbeing and create a really wonderful connection with them in that situation. I appreciate myself for how I have worked so consistently and persistently through the past year.” And so on.
Ending with gratitude and appreciation ends us on a up note. It inspires us then to step into the new year with more confidence, with more joy, with more curiosity and excitement, and to meet new challenges as they come along. Because we gained another year of experience of meeting challenges, of succeeding, of achieving goals, of making dreams come true and of dealing with the challenges, the obstacles, when things didn’t go our way. And so we can go forward with more confidence, more joy, and more anticipation of other successes and wins in the coming year.
That’s the Celebration and Mourning End-of-the-Year Ceremony. I hope you’ll take it and tweak it, make it yours, add your own special sauce, “secret sauce” to it, if you will. And please let me know, come back and leave a comment or send an email to me at email@example.com and let me know that you tried it. Let me know what kind of “ah-ha’s” you got. Let me know if there was something you tried that I suggested that didn’t work for you and, and maybe why it didn’t work and what you, what other thing you did.
All right. Thanks so much for your kind attention. I really enjoyed getting to share this with you and I will be back next week with some more tips on how to create lives that we enjoy living and how to create positive transformation in our personal and professional lives.