One of the many beautiful things about the beginning of a new year is that it can be an inspiration for change and a new way of doing and thinking about things.
A new year can be viewed as a chance to reflect on the past or embark on a different path for the future. It can also be a time to be more mindful of the gifts around you and figure out how to avail yourself of them.
If you believe in new year’s resolutions, it’s fun to make them, but often they get broken. One way to increase the chance of that not happening is to take the time to write down your intentions in a notebook, journal or on your laptop. When doing so, try to keep a writing source available just in case you have an idea at an unusual time. Having something to write on nearby also allows you to glance at your musings.
There are many ways to jumpstart your journaling practice. I say practice, because like meditating, it’s good to do it every day. One way to journal is to do stream-of-consciousness writing, and the other type of journaling is directed by writing prompts.
Stream-of-consciousness writing, which I discuss in my forthcoming book, Writing for Bliss: Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life (September 2017), occurs when you do not lift your pen off the page or take your fingers off your computer keys. In this type of writing, you tap into your authentic thoughts and voice, and it is that voice from which your best journaling will arise. Some people call this “free writing” or “automatic writing.” In other words, it is writing that flows regardless of where the words lead. Your pen keeps moving, or you keep tapping the keys on the keyboard. This is one way to release any thoughts in your subconscious mind or to release any inhibitions, which allows your creative side to step in.
Writing prompts are an excellent way to get your thoughts on the page, and it’s okay if you begin answering the question in the prompt and find your thoughts going in another direction. This might mean there’s another subject that’s calling to you, and that’s fine. It’s all about finding your bliss through writing.
Writing prompts for the new year:
1) Write a letter to yourself where you reflect on 2016. How did it go for you? What might you do differently to make things better in 2017? Discuss your challenges, hurdles, accomplishments and concerns.
2) Be mindful of your inspirations. write about situations or individuals who inspired you and made you feel good.
3) Practice mindfulness. Take about 30 minutes to just sit quietly with your eyes closed. Don’t speak to anyone or interact with any electronic devices. Think about yourself, your environment and the people you regularly associate with. Now write about your experience in that stillness. What did you notice? What thoughts were rummaging around in your mind? Did you focus on just one thing or did your mind wander to different aspects of your life?
4) Write about what you will do to nurture yourself in 2017. What brings solace to your body, mind and spirit? It can be easy to take on the energies of those around us. Sometimes we have a choice as to who those people will be, but at other times we do not. If you could choose the people you surround yourself with—that is, those who make you feel joyous and content, who would those individuals be?
5) In Chinese astrology, 2017 is the year of the rooster. Roosters are observant and mindful. They are usually accurate and precise with their observations. It’s been said that roosters have a keen “sixth sense.” Those born in the year of the rooster are usually quite clothing conscious and can be obsessed with their looks. They can also be sharp and resourceful, are loyal and have been called dreamers. If you were to choose one of these characteristics to develop in 2017, which would it be?
6) Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. A journal is the perfect place to express your gratitude for all the good things in your life. Many of us tend to journal when things aren’t going so well, but when you make a habit of noticing all that is positive around you, then you bring light, instead of darkness, into your life and into the lives of those around you.
“The more light you allow within you, the brighter the world you live in will be.” ~ Shakti Gawain
Expressing gratitude also offers hope and will bring a smile to your face. So write about the small things that make you happy—perhaps a pair of shoes you love or your favorite food—as well as the larger aspects of your life, such as loved ones you appreciate.
7) Develop your intuition. It has been said that intuitive people listen to the voices of their souls and follow their instincts. For some people, this is a developed skill, but for others it comes more naturally. Write down the questions or concerns you have going into 2017. Stop for a moment and look to your inner soul or higher self, and write down the answers. Try to write automatically or use the stream-of-consciousness approach.
I wish you a happy and prosperous 2017.
Author: Diana Raab, PhD
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock