Life is full of countdowns. We prepare for events or marks on the calendar that will make a numerical or biblical difference to our lives. Children, eagerly awaiting the arrival of a certain date, are often encouraged to count the number of ‘sleeps’ until the event, whether it be leaving to go on holiday, celebrating their birthday or the arrival of an important person. Anticipation and conscious or unconscious countdowns usually go hand-in-hand.
A significant event for many in the Western world is Christmas, marked on our calendars as December 25th. In the ‘run up’ or shall we rather refer to it as ‘countdown’ to that date, a popular tradition (again presumably to capture the attention of children) is the counting of the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’. I was fascinated to read that the counting should start only on Christmas Day and that there are hidden meanings to each of the elements in the song. However, I don’t think it would be nearly as exciting for children to begin counting the days only once they have received their presents!
In general, in the Western world, once the commercial and family frenzy of Christmas have passed, adults tend to focus on the lead up to New Year. Most of us have an array of ‘new years’ in our lives, marked by various religious observances and holidays or a birthday which also results in a new numerical age for us. A ‘new year’ can also come with a change in status, for example, the transition to being legally responsible, retirement age or becoming a ‘pensioner’.
But not many are linked to ‘resolutions’ the way it is expected that people should make ‘new year resolutions’. In my opinion, few people actually enact their stated intentions, whether they be promises to themselves or to others. I’m advocating that people rather first reflect on their past, make meaning out of their reflections and then decide on possible actions.
In order to make this exercise more fun, I have crafted a countdown for reflection. It is intended as a means of transitioning to a better ‘way of being’ in 2018. To help you, here are my suggestions and questions. Please list the:
- 12 top achievements in your life
- 11 people who have helped you to achieve
- 10 biggest challenges you have ever faced
- 9 learnings from these challenges
- 8 activities and experiences that energise you
- 7 people you’ll avoid because you find them toxic
- 6 things you need to continue doing
- 5 activities or thoughts you should avoid or minimise
- 4 new undertakings or practices you have space to start engaging in
- 3 things you’ll do differently in 2018
- 2 plans for big celebrations during the year ahead
- 1 way in which you will honour the most important person in your life…yourself!
Further questions for you are:
How will you:
- minimise negative influences and habits
- energise yourself through engaging more in those activities and experiences that have a positive influence on you?
May 2018 be a year filled with good health, great happiness, peace and prosperity. Oh, and have loads of fun doing the things that energise you!
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