I love that the new year gifts each of us a tabula rasa. It is fascinating that the sun setting on December 31st and rising January 1st is like closing the curtain on the final act of a 2023 play, and then, the very next day, you are invited to star in an entirely new adventure for 2024. You are given the opportunity to create and control the direction your life goes because you are a co-creator with the Divine of your own path. How exciting to design and direct the positive changes you want to see appear in your life. The first blog in 2024 for Living Life the Happy Way invites you to reflect on where you have been, where you are, and where you would like to go. Reflecting on the past helps to get clear about what went well for you and what didn’t last year, so you can let it go and bring in what will work instead. So, what is the story that you would like to write for your life in 2024?
Part 1, Reflecting on 2023
You may be asking, how do I do that, Rachel? How do I close out last year? I can’t just jump ships and sail to a new destination. Let me assure you that you can! Here are a few questions that will help you evaluate 2023.
How would you summarize 2023? Grab a piece of paper and a pen and find a comfortable place to sit. I want you to summarize 2023 in one sentence. How would you describe last year? Was it adventurous? Was it overwhelming? Was it a year of growth? Was it boring? By writing this sentence down, you may notice a theme develop. If writing the sentence doesn’t feel like it leads you there, then try looking back at the year at each month. What were you doing in January? February? March? What feelings did you get with each month? Did you see a theme develop that maybe you didn’t realize you were enveloped in?
What are you most proud of? Sometimes it is easy to get so caught up in the day-to-day drama that life sends our way that we forget to stop and recognize what we have accomplished. What did you accomplish in 2023 that you are proud of? What did you deserve self-recognition for that you didn’t give yourself credit for. Celebrate your accomplishment by capturing it on paper. Remind yourself how far you came in 12 months and be proud of each and every achievement.
What lessons did you learn? Every day is an opportunity to learn something new, and you just completed 365 days. What was it in 2023 that you learned? If you need to look back at some themes you identified above, you can. How did it expand you? What specific lessons did you learn? Were any of the lessons repetitive from years past? If so, what were they?
What was challenging? I am sure that last year held some sort of personal challenge. Where did 2023 test your limits and capabilities? What did you learn about yourself through those experiences? Were you able to find workable solutions? What do you remember about your behavior when the situation played out? However the challenge ended, I want you to know that reflection can help you summarize the experience and make sense of it. You are strong and resilient, and even if you weren’t pleased with how you handled something, you made it through it. While I wish 2024 will be free of challenging moments, when one does show up, what you went through last year will demonstrate that you can tackle whatever comes your way with confidence and ease.
What needs to be released? Did 2023 contain an experience that was toxic? Sometimes those experiences come along for our growth, character development, and to lead us to change. What was it that 2023 demonstrated that you needed to let go of? Did you experience moments of doubt? Fear? Did you hold yourself back when you were meant to expand? Did you encounter toxic relationships that you needed to let go of? While letting go of any relationships and feelings you experienced can be difficult, by capturing them on paper and making the commitment to yourself to release them, you have given yourself a step towards making that happen.
What happened that should be expressed as gratitude? Gratitude is a vital part of being happy, and I want all of you to live life the happy way. It helps you to focus on what you have, what you are grateful for, and what makes you feel joy. What feelings bring up gratitude from your 2023 experience? If it is a person, you could send them a note to let them know how they touched you. Are you grateful to the Divine? You can write down on paper strips what made you feel that way, and then burn it. You could capture these items on a list, and then review it in 2024 when things get a little bumpy. Looking at what makes you grateful reminds you that you can persevere and overcome.
What are you going to bring with you into 2024? Now that you have collected and analyzed last year's data, what deserves to make a reappearance on the stage for 2023? What activities did you experience that you want to do again? What feelings did you have that you want to experience again?
Part 2: Setting the Stage for 2024
Now that you’ve taken the time to reflect on what has happened during the past year and how it has impacted you, you’re in a better position to contemplate and plan for what you want to usher in to 2024. Grab another piece of paper and a pen and return to your comfortable manifestation spot and answer these questions.
What is the Mood? (Intention Setting)
How do you want to feel in 2024? Before you capture any goals, think about how you want to live each day, how you want to feel, and how you want to walk through life. What emotion comes to your mind? Emotions influence our energy, and the more you experience that feeling you just identified, the more it will show up in your life experience. Choose wisely because you want to vibe high.
What does living your best life look like?
Imagine the most beautiful life you could write for yourself for this year and write it down. Be extremely descriptive and dream big. Les Brown said, “You always aim for the moon, if you miss, you land among the stars.” Let me encourage you to capture your dream 2024. If you want to go on a cruise, write it down. If you want to fall in love, write it down. If you want to start your own business, write it down. If you want to write that book that’s been living in your head, write it down. After each of the items that you identified, how did it make you feel to see it come to fruition in your head. Write that down, too!
What preparations do I need to make?
As you set the stage for 2024, what preparation is needed to achieve your most beautiful life? This isn’t goal setting yet; this is more capturing what you don’t want to forget. For example, if you are starting a new career in a different industry that you have no prior experience in, maybe you want to remind yourself that you are capable. You may write down something like “I can adapt my skill set to any industry that I choose to work in. I know that by following my intuition that I am where I am meant to expand. I will be successful with my new path.” Identify where you need some zest added to your life to take that leap of faith and give yourself the encouragement you need.
What word describes the theme you want to set?
Identify and write down a word to describe you this year. This may seem corny, but identifying a specific word that is associated with a feeling can help provide the momentum that you need to overcome any hurdles you may encounter this year. For example, my word is unstoppable. Nothing will hinder my development or movement forward. This word could be one that you write on your 2024 Vision Board or one that you put in a place where you see it every day.
Create a list of affirmations to cheer you on.
It is important to capture a list of affirmations that you can revisit throughout the year to remind yourself that you can achieve what you have dreamed and how you want to feel. These could be simple like, “I am a priority.” “I am grateful for each day I have to achieve my dreams.” “I am highly inspired to achieve my goal.” “I go after my dreams.” Next, place the affirmations where you can see them. You could put them on your bathroom mirror, in your planner, on the dashboard of your car, or even as a screen on your phone. Just place them somewhere that you will see them every day.
Finally, list your 2024 goals.
Look back at your feelings and identify the steps that you need to climb to get to your dream. Goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound -- that spells SMART (George T. Doran)! What is it that will get you motivated to meet your goal? For example, if you wanted to become a life coach, what type of goal would you set? The first goal may be to identify what type of life coach you would be most comfortable with. The next goal would be to discover where you could obtain a certification in that specific area. How long will it take you to achieve that goal? What is the time frame? What hours of the day can you devote to study? How will you practice your new skills? If there is testing, where is it located and is there a time frame associated with obtaining the certification? When you gather all the information, plug it into the acronym SMART. My friendly advice is not to assign yourself more than five goals at a time because you will become overwhelmed and discouraged.
Part 3, Adding a Dash of Magic
During the last full moon, our beautiful group of women added "magic" to their 2024. Like you, they revisited 2023 and identified what worked well and what didn’t work well. They let go of what no longer worked for them, made space for inviting in new things, and then they imagined the life they wanted to create for this year. Next, they wrote down their goals, and then, as a group, we burned them. You read that correctly, we burned them. Instead of focusing on the goals themselves, which I am confident none of the women forgot, we focused on how we would feel when we achieved them. Each girl took those feelings, wrote them on strips of paper, shared them with the group, rolled the strips up, and placed them inside a miniature bottle. They were free to keep the bottle in their purse, set it next to their bedside, or even on their work desk. The magic is aligning your emotional energy or how you want to feel with the frequency of your goals. This is a ritual you can do too; if you need a reference, it is located on Living Life the Happy Way's TikTok profile.
I hope each of you that read this today had a blessed holiday season, and I am sending the energy out for you to have a productive and successful 2024. Whatever you are envisioning, I hope to see you manifest it. Take the time to imagine just how incredible this year is going to be, believe in yourself and in your ability to direct the beautiful story of your life. 2024 is the year you will manifest the life you want. Happy new year!