Clear the Decks for the New Year

How’s your “Work Life Balance” workin’ today?

Today marks the end of a month stuffed with too much: Too much food, too many parties, too many decorations to put up and now take down. Too many half-weeks, too many cards not sent, gifts forgotten, slowdowns, delays at airports and on the roads. We love this month and look forward to it all year. And yet it still drags us down.

Balancing your Work and Life takes deliberate action in the midst of such a month. One of the wisest lessons I learned during my decades in Hawaii was the centering and cleansing practice of clearing things out before the end of the year.

There’s a saying, “You can’t pour anything into a glass that is already full.”

To that end, I’ve created my own end-of-year rituals, cobbled together from the many different cultures found in the islands. Here are a few for your consideration. Perhaps they’ll help you get back on track faster. Note: this works in the office as well as in your home.

  • Go through your closets and finally admit you won’t wear that blouse / shirt / outfit / those jeans ever again. Pull them out, put them all in a large bag, and take them to your favorite charity or homeless shelter.
  • Ditto with all those bottles of shampoo, bath gel, and conditioner you brought home from the hotels. Homeless shelters need that stuff, so do Women’s shelters.
  • Tackle the garage. You don’t need to do it perfectly – just recycle all those half-empty boxes. Move a few things out to the trash. Look for three or four things you can give to your favorite charity. If it’s a zoo out there, I’ll make it easier: Set a timer for 45 minutes. Even that amount of time will help you make a little dent and feel a little better about your situation.
  • Do a sweep of the house: start at the back and move all the way through to the front. Have your timer with you and spend only 10 minutes in each room. Put things away, toss things, grab things for that growing ‘give-away’ bag.

Now that you’re feeling a little better and the landscape is clearing up, work on you. I find it is easier to do the next thing in a house that is clear of clutter. If you don’t have the heart or energy to clean things up, or are overwhelmed by the mess, get in your car or go for a walk and find a nice quiet spot.

Do this:

~ Take a pad of paper and start to write.

~ Write all the things that upset you, all the regrets, all the unforgivens, all the situations with people that still grate, all the ‘it’s not fair!’ feelings, all the ‘I wish I had’s’… Just write and write and write until you can’t think of anything else to write.

~ Now look at each thing on your list for a moment. Forgive it. Take a deep breath. Let it go. It doesn’t have to be a whole-hearted forgiveness if you can’t muster that up yet. The goal is to start the process. To have the intention to move through the process.

Remember – this is about “Forgive and Remember” not Forgive and Forget. Detach from it, take away its power. Intend to see it from a less emotional place so you can deal with it.

~ Once you have forgiven it, CROSS IT OUT. Take a big marking pen and cross right through it. Do this with each one until the pages are nothing but crossed out lines.

~ Take it out to your hibachi, bonfire, fireplace, BBQ pit and set that sucker on fire. (The paper, I mean, not the people you’re mad at!! LOL)

~ Take a deep breath.

~ Now, on a fresh sheet of paper, write 5 or 10 positive things you would love to see happen this year for you and your loved ones. Hold it in your hands and bless it. Believe it will be so.

~ Take that piece of paper and fold it carefully. Put it somewhere private but accessible for you. On your dresser, on an alter, underneath a statue of an angel, in your top desk drawer. Wherever you will occasionally stumble on it and remember this moment.

It’s important to empty all the upset out of that full glass to allow a new beginning to take place. We can’t go back to the bad ol’ days and fix anything. We can learn from the events, cherish the good times, and use it all to help us live a fuller, richer, and more meaningful life now. Because NOW is all you have.

I do this exercise every New Year’s Eve and on the Eve of my Birthday. It helps me find my center and reminds me that I can deliberately focus myself on hopeful and positive change in my life.

I know I can’t control everything. I know that life turns on a dime. Yet I also know I won’t be ready to respond in a way that supports me if I’m anchored to the mistakes of the past. Face the past. Detach from it. Set a new and powerful course for your future.

…and take care of yourself.

We need you, and we need you healthy!

New Year’s Blessing on you and yours,



Beth Terry, CSP, is a Professional Speaker and Trainer, and author of two books.

Beth’s Website

© 12/31/2007 Beth Terry Seminars, Inc.

About Beth Terry

Beth Terry, CSP, is a speaker, coach, writer and cowgirl. Her audiences are from around the world: she has spoken to almost half a million people in 6 countries. Her passion is watching the "popcorn popper" go off in people's heads when they 'get it.'

One Reply to “Clear the Decks for the New Year”

  1. Pingback: The Corporate Cowgirl / “You are never upset for the reasons you think.”

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