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In 2010 Stop and Drink the Cocoa

by bevbarnes on January 6, 2010

What I love to do at the start of a new year is to look back at the year that has gone by.  I call it the Year in Review and have been doing this every December/January for years.  Paradoxically, this exercise helps me to focus on the present by feeling the joy of the past.  Instead of flash forwarding immediately to the New Year, I try to really feel pleasure about what went well last year.  I bring this pleasure into the present, and it helps me to plan for the New Year.    

It’s a great energizing exercise that you can do too.  Here’s how:   Find about an hour or so when you won’t be disturbed.  I like doing this late at night or early in the morning when everyone is asleep.  To jog your memory, look over your last year’s agenda (I still use the paper kind).  Identify your accomplishments and successes over the last year.  Go month by month, remembering where you were and what you were doing.  Even if you had difficult times, identify what you learned and what successes you had.  Then think about the big themes from your year gone by.  Write them down.

Next, and this part is the most important, really feel the pleasure of what you’ve done.   This means tuning into how your body feels physically.  I like to think of this as having a warm cup of cocoa while overlooking a snowy landscape.  It feels like a hug.  Give yourself an energetic pat on the back and feel the pleasure radiating throughout your entire body.  Focus on the feelings in your body. 

When I did this, I remembered a university course I gave to First Nations education students last year, on how to succeed in college and in life.  I absolutely loved my students and giving this course.  When I think about this I feel warm in my heart area, a sort of total body buzzing.

We so often focus on what went wrong or what we have to do next, that it is easy to forget to feel the pride, pleasure and joy of our successes and accomplishments, no matter how large or small. 

A great side benefit to this exercise is that it temporarily turns off the “I’m not good enough” message that might be randomly patrolling your brain.  And without that thought, the world is your oyster.

Focusing on what you love from the past reminds you to bring that feeling into the present.  That is actually the most effective way to plan.  Ask yourself “How do I want to feel this year?”  Then ask yourself “What do I have to think in order to feel that way?”  Directly from that place come your inspired actions…the things you don’t need to force yourself to get done.

This New Year I’m planning on only doing work that feels like a warm cup of cocoa.  How about you?

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