COMPLETING 2013 and CREATING 2014 New Year’s Reflections and Intention Setting for Expat Success

Open DoorWelcome to 2014! The door has opened to a whole fresh year! What do you see as you peer through your door? What thoughts come? How do you feel? Maybe anticipation or excitement. Overwhelm or fear. Perhaps there’s a sense of numbness or grief. Joy or peace. Whatever it is for you – it’s ok. I’ve felt all of these at a new year or another, depending on the season I’m experiencing. Wherever you’re at, join me in looking at the ritual of reflection and intention setting.

Why not resolutions? Honestly, I’ve never liked New Year’s resolutions! They tend to be promised plans for self-improvement – to do something “more, better or different”. I then fall flat on my face in failure by the end of January, having me feel worse about myself and the start of a new year. Not a good way to open the door to 2014!

There’s no magic formula that says the last day of December is for reflection and the first day of January is for intentions. I like to take my time, well into January, because I’ve learnt that pondering and preparing infuses passion to carry through on what I choose. I encourage you to take time for both reflection and intention these next weeks. Seems following the Christmas holidays we’re either:

a) … in an “I-ate-way-too-much-food-and-am-exhausted” state, joyful from wonderful celebrations and fun times with family and friends, or
b) … on a sugar high, feeling down with the holidays exaggerating losses and grief. A sense of emptiness as you rear view peer and perhaps dread as you look forward.

This can change, because you can choose to reflect, then move on, letting go of the past and pressing on to what lies ahead!

ReflectionHow can this play out in your personal life?

1. Carve out some uninterrupted time. If you can’t find an hour, make it ½ hour and commit to repeating it several times. Create the mood – music, candle – whatever allows a reflective atmosphere. Sitting in nature can be inspiring.

2. Review last year. If you’ve journaled, read through it. Otherwise, last year’s calendar helps. Recall events, people met, places visited, struggles and fun moments. Be kind to yourself as you look back and acknowledge your experiences, feelings, learning and accomplishments. This is a time to celebrate! Questions to guide you:
– What would you like to acknowledge yourself for in 2013? Who have you been in order to do what you’ve done?
– What were your greatest successes and breakthroughs?
– What and who are you grateful for this past year?
– What were your biggest losses, disappointments, and failings? How have you integrated them into your life? What’s left to grieve and heal?
– What lessons have you learned this past year that you want to carry into 2014?
– What’s the title of this chapter in the book of your life?

3. Complete 2013. What do you choose to let go of in order to move forward? Maybe behaviours, beliefs or habits. Perhaps regrets, failures, or limiting beliefs. Maybe it’s the fact that you didn’t live up to who you thought you would or could be last year. Once you’ve completed this list, decide on a meaningful ritual to let it go – ie. Burn it or tear it up. Say a prayer of gratitude to complete last year.

4. Create 2014. Whether in the same sitting or a different one, set the mood as you think of the open door in front of you. It’s time to create! Questions to consider:
What inspirational word, phrase or verse do you desire to make a guiding light (a chapter title, theme or metaphor for 2014)? Maybe this year for you will be: The Year of Pushing Past Fear. The Year of Possibility. The Year of Presence. Hope. Accomplishment.
– Where do you want to claim your power and in what way?
– What activities have heart and meaning for you? How can you incorporate them into life in 2014?
– Who will you need to be to move forward?
– What support will you need? What resources are available to you?
– What is the risk you must take in 2014 to live the life you envision or are called to?

5. Embrace 2014. Ask yourself: What do I choose to embrace in order to move forward? Maybe it’s time to embrace your vulnerabilities… to embrace every scar as surgery, every tear as part of transformation. How about every moment as a miracle?
Take some of your creations (from step 4) and make them tangible. For example:
Courage Stone– write out your inspirational phrase and put it on your computer
– print your year’s word on a rock and carry it with you
– write out a verse or poem and keep it on your car’s dashboard so you can often read it aloud
– write out a goal and small action steps to put into place
– decide who you’ll be accountable to
– start one change at a time… get comfortable before you take on something else

Review, complete, create and embrace. I’m championing you to choose making every day, ordinary miracles towards inner strength and resiliency.

Becky Signature 2


  1. Looking forward to what lies ahead after re-searching what lies within. Thanks for giving the push and some very practical ideas to move and look to the future with intention.
    Much appreciated.

  2. Expat Family Resilience Coach says:

    Hi Earl,
    Great to hear from you and thankful that this has been helpful!
    May you search until you find as the doors open for you!

Speak Your Mind