Today is about setting you up for a wonderful ending to the year with 4 Creative Exercises to End the Year!

But first, I want to send a BIG, love-filled virtual hug to everyone!  I wish I could have coffee with each of you and hear how your Christmas was–the good and the tough parts.  Our family did something different this year.  We all pitched in and rented a big cabin in the mountains.  Twenty of us under one roof for five nights!  Board games until 2am, fudge and sugar cookies every hour of the day, snowball fights…

It was pretty incredible.  Our first morning back we were all going through sugar withdrawals.

It’s hard to believe this is the last two days of 2014.  I often find myself in deep reflection during the last few days of the year, as I’m sure many of you do.  While many people make resolutions to get back to the gym, eat better (after the holidays did us ALL in), take the dog for more walks … I find myself looking for ways to restart my creative spirit.  I’m excited to share a handful of favorite, creative exercises for starting your New Year.

But before we think to much about the New Year, let’s talk about 4 Creative Exercises to End the Year (with inspirational twists for you and the kids).

1.   Tie it to a Tree

You can do this alone, with your spouse or as a family.  Take a few minutes to write down any fears, worries, stresses, doubts that are weighing heavy on your heart with the upcoming year.  It can be questions you need answers to.  Debts you want to pay.  Relationships that trouble you.  Write it all down, put it in a ziplock bag, and then tie it to a tree.  “Tie it to tree?!” you ask?  Yep.  Go find a tree in your neighborhood, backyard, or woods, and tie your list to a tree.  There is something powerful about letting something else symbolically hold all our fears.  Maybe you’ve done this exercise in a similar way, but you burn the list instead.  That works too.  But I can often feel like the doubts, fears and worries are all still there, even though the list I wrote has burned away.  That is why I love the idea of a living thing holding my troubles.  If you can, tie it to a tree in your own yard or nearby.  It’s powerful to revisit this paper, even a week or two later, and see how your troubles have begun to transform.

2. Edify, Reflect and Forecast

This is my ALL time favorite New Year’s Eve tradition. With our family journal, we write down three things about each family member.

1. Edify: We each think of three things we admire about the child/parent.

2. Reflect: We share three ways we’ve seen the child/parent grow in the last year.

3. Forecast: We share one thing we are excited for them to experience in the new year.

What always takes me by surprise is what the kids have to share. A child’s perspective on the past and future is one of the most precious, faith-building gifts of all. Their innocent hearts often see into the future more clearly than we do. I’m often speechless. Everything we share is written down in our family journal to be enjoyed for years to come. Some of these written treasures have taken us to the other side of the world.

3.  Write a Letter to Yourself

This is one of the most powerful creative exercises I’ve ever done.  It’s so simple, and yet it will give to you in ways you can’t imagine.  Find a few quiet moments, and write a letter to yourself for the New Year.  Write down everything you want yourself to know, to remember, to be encouraged by.  Write any comforting words that you wish someone would say to you.  Write down hopes and dreams that you don’t want to forget.  The ideas are endless, but the mission is simple.  Write to you what you need to hear.  When you are done, put it in an envelope, stamp it and mail it to yourself.  It may seem silly, but you will be pleasantly surprised at how much this letter gives to you when you open it in the New Year.  I did this a couple weeks ago.  I was so overwhelmed with all the unknowns ahead of us that I sat down and wrote a letter of hope to myself.  You can read about my letter here; To Those Who Worry, Fear and Doubt.

4.  Bang Those Pots and Pans!

Toss the pen and paper aside, and pull out the pots and pans.  Bang away when the New Year’s Eve countdown begins. Run down the midnight sidewalks and holler and hoot! Depending on the age of your kids, they will either remember this as the funnest sixty seconds of the year or they will opt out (“because seventh graders don’t really want to do that with their parents and little brother” says my daughter).

Want more creative exercises for how to spend New Year’s Eve with your family?  Follow the link to a post I wrote yesterday for Babble; 7 Family New Year’s Eve Ideas with Inspirational Twists. 

Happy New Year to All You AMAZING Moms!  Enjoy these creative exercises!  Share them with me if you’d like!

I will meet you on the other side!

xo,

m

 

6 Comments: “4 Creative Exercises to End the Year”

  1. Lynda Kennedy says:

    LOVE this & you! Happy New Year!

  2. Getting that post ready that you love! :)

  3. Claudia says:

    After a really rough 2013 and having lots of mixed emotions about a new year we weren’t sure how to ring in 2014. We decided to try your “edify, reflect, and forecast” idea. It was a big hit and our girls loved it. Both my husband and I agree this will now be an annual tradition for our family! Thanks for giving us an opportunity to reflect on our victories that seemed to be overshadowed by defeat this past year.