The start of the new year is my favorite time of the year. I LOVE new beginnings. Even when I was a kid I loved the idea of fresh starts, a chance to reinvent myself, do better, be better. But I never looked back, at least not until recently. The past few years I’ve spent some time at the end of December reviewing and releasing the year that just passed and I’ve found it to be such a useful thing to do. I pat myself on the back for my accomplishments, ponder the many lessons I learned, and actively clear out my energy so I can truly get a fresh start on the year ahead.
The most powerful lessons I learned this year are all repeats (anyone else learn the same lessons again and again?!), but somehow I feel like I learned them better this time around. They’re more meaningful to me and I’m better able to use them to inform my behavior. Perhaps this is just a side effect of getting older but I think it’s also related to simply paying attention. So much of personal development and spiritual growth is about the basics, about developing a good foundation of habits from which to spring forth.
These lessons aren’t sexy but they’re working for me, and I’m willing to bet they’ll work for you, too! So here you go, the most powerful lessons I learned in 2014:
I put this one first because I think it’s the most important. We all know the benefits of sleep, they’re all over the media all the time, but almost everyone I know, myself included, doesn’t get enough sleep. This has been the case for me for a long time, and I’ve learned the sleep lesson before, but it really hit home for me (again) in the second half of 2014. In July we purchased a 94-year-old home that needed extensive renovation before we could move in. I became the project manager for the renovation, did a bunch of the work myself, and continued trying to run my business, parent my kids, cook healthy food from scratch, etc. It was ridiculous and I sacrificed sleep in a major way. Everything (and arguably, everyone around me!) suffered because I was so exhausted. You simply cannot function at your highest level–physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually–if you’re tired. So I cut back on as much as I could, and things were still crazy, but boy what a difference a little extra sleep made. Prioritizing sleep is still a practice I’m working on, but the benefits are so undeniable that the more sleep I get the more motivated I am to prioritize it. The positive difference in my performance, focus, and productivity is huge. I’ve noticed that my mood is lighter and more joyful and it’s much easier to stay in a high vibration state when I’m well rested. And, vanity bonus: I look so much better when I get a good night’s sleep!
Less is more
This year I gained a much deeper understanding of how having too much drains my energy. Too much stuff in my physical space, too many things to do, and too many things I want to achieve–it’s all so overwhelming!
It started when, after my sixth move in six years (yes, really!), I decided to pare down my belongings. I read the book Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, and it really opened my eyes to the reality of my stuff (all my stuff–belongings, time commitments, things on my to do list–everything). I realized I was hanging on to a lot of “stuff” that wasn’t serving me. It was cluttering up my space, my time, and my mind, and totally draining my energy. I started clearing out my belongings and immediately noticed my energy shifting. I felt calmer and lighter and more peaceful, and was simultaneously more energized as well. The more clutter I cleared out of my home the better I felt, and I was then able to tackle my schedule, my to-do list, and my goals. I’m still working on clearing “stuff” out of my life, but the difference so far has been completely life-changing. REALLY. So, read the book or don’t (though I highly recommend that you do, it gave me so much motivation as well as practical advice), but either way take a good look at your life and see what you can release so that you can move forward with more ease, peace, and freedom.
Write it down
If there’s something you want to manifest in your life, be specific and write it down. Sure, it’s possible to manifest what you want without writing it down, but in my experience the things I want manifest faster and more easily when I’ve written them down. The act of writing down what you want helps focus energy toward your desires in a very powerful way. I used this technique to manifest the aforementioned house, which was definitely one of my biggest and most against-the-odds manifesting experiences ever.
Here are three simple tips to go along with the practice of writing down what you want:
- Be as specific as possible, write down as many details about what you want as you possibly can.
- Review what you’ve written down frequently. If you change your mind or further refine your vision of what you want, simply edit what you wrote.
- Don’t worry about how it will come to you, just focus on what it is that you desire. Imagine what it will feel like when you have it, and wholeheartedly trust the universe to help you manifest it.
Be unapologetic about your desires
Is there something you want to have or to do? Does it seem outlandish, too big, too good for you or too good to be true? It only is if you think it is. If you want something, whether it is sparkling health, a new job, romance, money, anything–you have to feel really good about it in order to manifest it. As long as you’re not 100% committed to having it, the universe isn’t 100% committed to bringing it to you. Want what you want, know that you deserve it, and don’t apologize for it.
Attitude of gratitude
There are a lot of things you can’t change, but you CAN change your attitude toward or reaction to them. Every time something good happens, be grateful for it. Every time something bad happens, find a way to be grateful. As magical as this past year was for me, I also experienced many extremely trying times. When I asked for guidance to help me navigate these situations I was reminded that every difficulty and disappointment presents me with the opportunity to be graceful, to grow, to learn new things. I started looking for things to be grateful for, even (especially!) in the hard moments. And what a huge shift this created for me–I felt empowered, I felt connected, and I was reminded of the impermanence of everything. Nothing, good or bad, lasts forever, so we may as well be grateful for the moments we are given, learn what we can from them, and then let them go. Life only truly exists in this present moment, be grateful that we’re here to live it.
What did you learn in 2014? I’m so curious, please share in the comments!