10 Jan Dear me…
Did you make New Year’s Resolutions?
Were any of them carried over from last year – resolutions that fell at a pre-February hurdle in 2017, now rebadged for 2018?
It’s been nine days… have you broken them yet?
I know they work for some people, but New Year’s Resolutions are a short cut to unhappiness for me.
I find January a dark, long and difficult month. I cannot make life tweaks when I am cold to my bones and when I have to get up every morning even though the sun can’t be bothered.
I use all available energy trying to get to February 1st in one emotional piece.
But a very wise friend (you know who you are!) introduced me to a simple way of harnessing hopes and dreams – and making them more likely to become a reality.
It doesn’t have a catchy name and it does require you to find a slice of quiet time.
But, I have been doing this since 2011 – and it works!
Every January 10th, my future self writes a letter – to me. January 10th works better than January 1st, as my post-festive head fug has cleared. So today, my 2019 self wrote a letter reflecting upon and celebrating everything I have ‘achieved’ in 2018. It started like this:
Well, what a year it has been! Under the Oak Tree is everything I hoped it would be and more…
HOW TO DO IT
First, find a quiet place to write (or type).
Then, just start writing.
Write in the past tense. You are reflecting back on the year – not planning it.
Be as kind to yourself as you would be to your best friend. You are (hopefully) celebrating achievements.
Write and write until there are no more words to shake out of your brain, down your arms and onto the page.
Do not try to edit what you are writing as you go. This is not a prose exercise.
Then put your letter into an envelope. Seal it. Put it in a safe place. (Although not too safe…I didn’t find my 2011 letter until the sun was setting on 2014.)
Open your letter at the end of 2018.
I am always surprised when I open my letters. Firstly, I rarely remember anything I have written until I reread it nearly 12 months later.
The second surprise is the best…
With each new paragraph, I discover that all these ideas I put down on paper are now part of my life.
Why does it work?
I think the act of committing ideas, hopes and dreams to paper makes them one step closer to reality – before they have even taken shape in your life.
Writing quickly without stopping allows the ideas in the floaty, dreamy bit of your brain to flow out without you applying the ‘yeah right, like that’s gonna happen’ edit on them.
I write what I hope to happen as if it has happened – this means my brain switches to believing it can.
“She believed she could,
So she did.”