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10 steps to finish the calendar year with Presence, Purpose and set Priorities for the next year!

Photo Credit: Christian EscobarI love it when a plan works…this annual review was something I started back in 2016 and has expanded over the years into the format I share in this post. I feel that this review has so much value as I live my life more deliberately and by design.

You can do this in one sitting or over a longer time frame…it is totally up to you. You can do this in December or January or any time of the year. It is a great exercise any time!

Here is how it all started…

Our family was on a New Year Vacation at White Point Lodge in Nova Scotia. It was New Years Day and I was up at the crack of dawn to make sure I got to see the sun come up on the New Year….I love that my family sleeps in so I can have this beautiful peaceful me time in the morning.

I was so inspired by that early morning sunrise.

I happened to bring tarot cards with me and I found a New Years Spread that had 9 questions that got me thinking about the year that had just passed and the year in front of me. I had my journal and my fine point colored markers (is there any other kind) and a few hours to play before the ShanFamJam started moving for the day.

Once I was finished the reading and followed the next breadcrumb, I got to thinking about how I could review the year. I love to take pictures…lots of pictures and I had the most visual way to see what had happened the previous year. It was fun to look back at the memories of the past year. I made a list as I reviewed; documenting month by month the awesome film/TV/Organizing/client projects I got to work on, the travels, the experiences, the family highlights and the beautiful people I got to be with that year.

Patterns intrigue me…I see them everywhere. Once I was done the review I looked back at what had happened and noted the patterns, themes and breadcrumbs that I had followed during the year. It was fascinating and eye opening. I noticed things that no longer served me and I noticed things that had slipped out of my calendar.

This New Year morning of reflection and review piqued my interest about the 365 days in front of me and how I wanted to be more deliberate about how I would/could spend my valuable time.

Since that first annual audit I have added different elements to be more intentional and to help me to live a life by design.

Here is my process, use this, tweak it and share it if you feel inclined.

Please let me know how it has worked for you. xo elaine

10 steps to finish the calendar year with Presence, Purpose and set Priorities for the next year!

  1. Start with a review of your calendar and pictures from the previous year. Make a list month by month of the highlights. This exercise is all about gratitude for the many blessings of the past year.
  2. Then look for patterns in the past year.
  • What made you smile and filled you with joy?
  • What is missing?
  • Who is missing?
  • Who and what do you need to let go of?
  • What do you want to repeat?
  1. Pick out three amazing things the happened this past year. What made them amazing?
  2. Ask yourself “How could I have made the year better?” and journal this.
  3. More journaling…”What is important?”…journal what you are grateful for.
  4. Choose three things to remove from your life that stood out from the past years review
Once you are done the review of the outgoing year it is time to set priorities for the New Year
  1. Lets start with a Values exercise. Go online and google a list of values to work from. Record five that really resonate with you. Then pick the one that is most important. Now you have your north star… the value that will guide you in all of your decisions for the coming year.

This exercise is the foundation for the work I do around priorities. It is the key element to reclaiming time for what matters most.  To find out more about Recaliming Time check out Soul Sister Conversations podcast where I share how to prioritize your time for what matters most.      

  1. Ideas for the next year
  • Learn something new. Like playing a musical instrument or a particular art genre. Pick one thing and devote an entire year to it.
  • Month long experiments like doing something new or letting something go, pick something for each month.
  • Only make purchases that improve your well being
  • Release work that drains you to make room for work that fills you up. It’s the 80/20 rule.
  • Put important things, the priorities, in your calendar at the beginning of the year. Make them real. For example; time with family and friends, vacations, getting out in nature. Things that fill you up, bring joy and make you sparkle.
  • Pick a word theme for the year and live by this, use it as a filter for how you show up.
  • Create a vision board with words or pictures or both and set the energy/vibration for a new calendar year.
  • Get a New Year tarot/spiritual reading, it is fun and thought provoking.
  1. The big question for the New year, yes, time for more journaling. What to do you want to do more or less of based on what you loved/missed in the previous year.

And finally…drumroll…. number 10….

BE, BE more of who you are, BE present with this coming year.

I call this life by design and living intentionally. xo elaine


Meet my friend Clare Kumar who has a great post on How and Why to choose a focus word 

I found this great article with 10 great questions to end the year intentionally, check it out!

I am currently reading making life easy by Christiane Northrup, she is one of my favourite authors and really this title says it all as I am entering the Third Act of my life. I am ready for easy!!!!! She has a 13 Holy Nights Ritual  that I added to my own December ritual and I quite liked this addition.