New Year New You: Letting Go of 2018
The first month of the New Year is a hopeful, exciting time. Many of us have made resolutions to adopt new healthy habits (like mindful meditation!) in 2019.
In our eagerness to move forward, we can forget to pause and let go of the past.
This week we will share strategies to say goodbye to 2018 and move into the new year with lightness and intention. (Hint: Practicing letting go can help us leave some not-so-healthy routines behind us.)
Letting Go is one of the seven Pillars of Mindfulness as defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR).
Mindfulness teaches that much of our suffering comes from attachment to outcomes, people, things, identities, and preconceptions.
Letting Go is a readiness to release those attachments – whatever is no longer helpful, relevant, or part of this present moment.
The practice of letting go and forgiveness has research-backed physical benefits – lower inflammation, stress hormones, and blood pressure – and mental benefits – improved mood and sense of wellbeing.
Let’s appreciate and let go of 2018. What are you ready to say goodbye to as you move into the coming year?
Set aside 5-10 minutes to work through the suggestions below to lay the foundation for a happy, healthy and productive 2019.
Reflection: Spend a few minutes reflecting on the past year. Remember the highlights, the lowlights, and the ways you and your life have shifted over the previous 12 months. You might jot some of these insights down as they come into your awareness.
Awareness: Bring awareness to one thing from 2018—a person, behavior, or perspective—you will say goodbye to. Consider the ways in which this thing affected you.
Gratitude: Practice gratitude for this thing you are ready to let go of. Consider how it served you and supported you this past year. You might write a few sentences thanking this thing for being present and explaining that you no longer need it.
Letting Go: You are now ready to release what is no longer serving you. Take ten deep, cleansing breaths: imagine drawing in energy on the inbreaths and consciously releasing this thing you are ready to let go of on the outbreaths.
2019 & Beyond: End by thinking forward one year from now after having let go of this particular thing. Envision yourself light, happy, healthy, and free. Journal about how it feels to have let go. (Note: Our brains are more motivated by emotions than by rational reasoning. Envisioning how great it will feel to continue letting go will help you stay committed to the process of releasing.)
Let me know in the comments how this process resonates for you!
“When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.” - Helen Keller