The last month of the year is upon us, and the last month often ends up being spent in very inefficient ways in our own senses. Most of us have given up on our high-spirited resolutions, our goals and we have let our systems slacken by the time December rolls in.
But must we spend it this way?
December, in my opinion, can be put to much better use than as a month to hibernate in the aftermath of the year that has passed.
We can look at the month to be a buffer month or a prep month. A month that'll help us wrap up this year and prepare for the one that's coming. December is like the Sunday of the year. We can use it to rest, rejuvenate and reset for the next cycle.
So here are 5 things to do in the last month of the year:
1. Clean and declutter your environment
Nothing speaks of a fresh start more than a clean environment. Since we're looking at December to be a buffer or prep month anyway, why not use it to our advantage?
Since you have the whole month at hand, it can be split wisely to clean and declutter all the areas in your space, as well as your life.
Here are a few areas to consider for decluttering:
Your physical space: Whether it's your room or your apartment, or any sort of physical space that you spend a considerable amount of time in; consider cleaning and decluttering it. WIpe all surfaces, get rid of anything that's not necessary. Keep things a little blank so that they can be filled up with calendars/ notes/ posters/ decors throughout the next year. That'll help you associate your space with that specific year and make it feel new and refreshed.
Your devices: Our goal of decluttering is to create a blank slate. A blank slate, which we want to fill up as the year progresses. Back up all the necessary data onto hard drives and cloud storage and then free your devices from this storage. Go through your gallery, downloads folders, documents and apps and simply delete anything and everything that is not useful anymore. Do this for all the digital devices you use on a regular basis, and while you're at it, give the devices a wipe down as well.
Your belongings: This will include your wardrobe, your stationery, books, notebooks, and anything that else that you may possess. Take some time to go through your things, get rid of what doesn't serve you anymore and make space for the new year.
Making space by decluttering and cleaning for the new year can make us feel freer. This is a great feeling with which we can enter the new year. Fresh and rejuvenated.
2. Reflect on the past year
While decluttering you're bound to come across a few items that spark the nostalgia inside you. That's your cue to reflect on this past year.
Reflection is a big part of wrapping up any chapter in your life in order to get the necessary closure and to bid it a proper farewell. Reflection is an important tool that'll help you relive the past years one more time and let you look at everything that has gone by. Looking back on what has happened can provide us with valuable insights about how to approach everything that's about to come our way.
Here's how to go about the reflection process for 2021:
Collect all your memories/ documentation of the past year in one place.
Go through all your notebooks/ notes/ journal entries/ pictures/ videos/ social media archives/ school work/ personal projects and anything that you have used in the past year.
Make a new spread or a new entry in your journal to note down your impressions for these reflections. Write down and make notes about how you feel about this past year.
We often understand things better in retrospect. Reflection helps us gain a matured, experienced perspective on past events and lets us look at things in a different light.
3. Do a life audit
While reflection is neutral in nature and lets us be the observer to our own lives, doing a life audit is like taking stock of everything that has happened. This is the place to note down the positives and negatives of the year, to analyse it. A life audit helps us gauge the quality of our life in the year that we have lived through and helps us make necessary changes for the course ahead.
Here's how to do a life audit:
Go through your reflection notes/ entries from your journal. If you didn't write down anything while reflecting, go through your planners/ calendars/ anything that can give you an idea of what you've done during the last year and how you've lived it.
Write down all the important, significant things (positive and negative) that have happened during the last year. You can go monthwise, in a serial order or simply brain dump as and how you remember these events.
Make a list of all your achievements for 2021. Big, small, minuscule, all of them. The objective here is to be aware of all the things you've been capable of doing and to remind yourself of your potential.
Next, write down the negatives or the significant difficult scenarios of this year. They can be events that happened, for eg. loss or mishaps of any kind or events that did not happen for eg. not getting the job you were hoping for, not being able to go on that trip, etc.
Lastly, write down all the positive or the significant pleasant scenarios of this year. These are different from your achievements in the sense that these include things that have happened TO you. For eg. getting the job you applied for is an achievement while being offered a job is a significant pleasant scenario. These scenarios can include anything and everything that made your year better.
The point of this 5 step audit is to see your life in totality and to be more aware of how and why your growth has happened. The positive and negative experiences in our lives impact us in various ways and we take shape accordingly. A life audit helps you do just that.
4. Get closure on the year that is about to finish
A lot of times we start the next year and it doesn't still 'feel' like a new year. A lot of times it is because we haven't wrapped up the last one well enough as of yet. After reflecting on your life and then doing a life audit, you'll be able to process the whole year much better and there'll be some more clarity and understanding in your life.
Getting closure on the past year is more of a mental exercise than something that can be done manually or physically. What can definitely help is journaling or writing down your thoughts as and when you feel necessary. One more thing you can do is to pair up with a friend and relay your experiences of this past year to each other. Voicing out your feelings out loud to someone you can trust is also a great way to get closure and wrap up the year.
Getting closure is coming to a good place of acceptance and understanding about the events of the past year. While doing that, you may realise that there are a few thoughts/ patterns/ people you don't want to carry forward into the next year and that's totally okay. You may also find a few habits/ patterns you've picked up in this past year that you want to reinforce. Becoming more aware of these things is also a part of getting closure.
5. Prepare and plan for the new year
While all the earlier steps are more to do with the year that has passed, this last step is more to do with the year that's about to come. Even so, we can take a look at the previous year and work off of that experience.
Planning and preparing for the new year means that you need to be aware of the following things:
Did your last year's way of planning work out for you?
What kind of planning system do you want to build for the new year?
What are your main goals for 2022?
What sort of systems and habits do you want to build in 2022?
What are the main areas you want to focus on for 2022?
What kind of routines and rituals do you want to set up for 2022 to make your life easier?
What are the major life chapters/ events/ phases that you're anticipating in the coming year?
How do you want to feel at the end of 2022?
Of course, answering all these questions in one go is not an easy feat. This is not an exhaustive list which means that there may be more such questions that can sprout from this basic list of questions here. Take the time to plan and prepare for the new year in advance. This way you can make sure that you've set everything in place already and all you have to do is wake up on 1st January 2022 and start following this framework.
While this is easier said than done, here's how I can be of help to lighten your load.
I will be offering planning consultation calls all throughout December. Book your 60 min session with me and we can discuss how to go about everything from today's blog post and set up a good framework that's tailored for you.
Head over to the Save Ourselves Instagram account and book a call today!
Most of the activities that we talked about in this blog post are on the lines of finishing up one project and moving on to the next. That's how I view my years and I think this establishes a healthy cut off between the past, present and the future and lets us compartmentalize things accordingly.
If you enjoyed this post, I have some similar ones linked below, feel free to check them out.
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