How to Give Thanks and Prepare Yourself for What’s Next

Generally, I slow waaaay down between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Often, I’m catching up on all the overly ambitious projects I planned for gifts and am crocheting like a crazy woman.  Crochet has the added benefit of forcing me to count over and over, so it’s very calming.

Thanksgiving also seems to be when I begin an intense time of reflection. You too? I spend more time journaling and mind-mapping. It’s my way of using this pulling-in time of winter’s beginning to fuel myself for the coming year.

I want to get a true sense of where I’ve been and where I want to go. Then I use what I learned during that reflection time to map out my ambitions and goals for the next year.

Here’s the process I use

  • Step 1: First, I pull out all the different calendars I used throughout the year. Yes, plural: calendars.

One calendar is on the computer, which is the easiest to access. I also use a yearly calendar that’s divided into quarters plus another “normal” calendar in my kitchen where I record random things, like oil changes and when I changed the water filters. They all go into the mix.

I also review my journals: gratitude journal, dream journal, and my normal reflection journal. This gives me insight into what was going on in my mind during the times I recorded on calendars.

  • Step 2: I make one page per month and write down all the significant things that happened.   Pulling from the calendars and different journals, I can then list what I thought were things to celebrate (like walking on fire!), and things I may want to make amends for (like an accidental slight to someone who is important to me).

I include the people that were added to my life because I want to celebrate those connections. I add challenges that are ongoing so they can be considered in my plans.

Those monthly pages can get quite messy, but it doesn’t matter. What’s important is capturing the moments and their impact.

  • Step 3: At the solstice, I light a candle give thanks for the blessings I’ve uncovered. Of course there are obvious things like the perfect client hiring me, or an opportunity to speak, but I also include safe travel and my cuddly kitties. I’m surrounded by my guardian angels and I know they keep me safe and content.
  • Step 4: Now it’s time to look ahead. This is usually done in the last week of December. I like to play music and dance before I start, then light a candle and connect more deeply on a spiritual level.

Here is where I map out my year in a general way and set tangible goals for my business.   There are lots more things I’ve tried here: mind maps, vision boards with lots of pictures, and journaling using the dominant hand for questions and non-dominant hand for answers.

I know that when I can imagine a different future and capture those thoughts, it brings me closer to the outcome I want. Maybe I won’t buy my cabin in the woods this year, but I am convinced this process brings me just a little bit closer.

You try it

Even if you don’t go through the intense process I use, I encourage you to take some time to reflect on your past year and embrace your blessings. Carve out an hour’s time to look through your calendar and capture moments. Write them down.

Take time to offer your gratitude. Then use what you’ve learned to plan a life that makes you smile. When you can name what you want and imagine yourself living it, you’re that much closer.

I’d love to hear your ideas for transitioning from one year to the next. Please comment below!

2 Replies to "How to Give Thanks and Prepare Yourself for What's Next"

  • Mary Ahern
    November 22, 2017 (3:40 am)

    At the end of the year I always make a “Ship It” list. I write down all the things I’ve accomplished for the year. Seeing it on paper has made such a difference, it makes it real. It’s great to see how long the list grows as I begin to remember so may of the things I took for granted when I look back on my calendars. Keeping the detailed journals you do Debra would be so much better but this is what works for me. So far…

    • Debra
      November 22, 2017 (3:52 am)

      I love this, Mary! Seeing it on paper really does make it real whether it’s in a journal, on a calendar or a list. The important thing is that it works for you!

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