Letting Go of This Past Year and Transforming The New Year

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the secret to letting go the past year and creating a powerful New Year.
Letting Go of This Past Year and Transforming The New Year

First a quick update:

The Top 10 Celebrity Meltdowns of 2010 – Click here to read my full article featuring my fourth annual list of The Top Ten Celebrity Meltdowns of 2010 along with my expert insights and analysis into the motivation behind the behaviors,.

Now, let’s talk about how to let go of the past year and transform the New Year.

As the end of the year arrives, it is natural to feel overwhelmed by a vast array of emotions. Clients have expressed various sentiments to me such as feeling rundown, tired and stressed out because they have been so busy preparing for the festivities; others complained that they are fatigued because they have not taken a real holiday in a very long time; one client expressed excitement for the new year and hopefully a fresh start while yet another new client expressed sadness, regret and shame for the way that this year has turned out for her.

As you look back on this year, what do you feel? How do you view and perceive the past twelve months? Do you feel you achieved what you wanted or do you feel like you failed? It is okay to feel whatever you feel; the danger is if you stay stuck in a negative emotion.

While there will always be regrets for some of our actions or inactions, the key is to learn from those mistakes or behavior, make amends if necessary and focus on new behavior and new strategies. We place such great expectations upon ourselves and others around us and thus, we need to be wary of making harsh judgments about ourselves and others; harsh judgments serve no positive purpose and only create more pain and more negative emotions. If you feel you did something that you now wish you had not, instead of beating yourself up, use the phrase “next time” as a reminder to act differently in the future.

Please understand also that the end of the year is a time of extremely high stress for most people (shopping, parties, family dinners and get-togethers, financial challenges, unmet expectations, loneliness, tense relationships, etc.) Further, we continue to live in times of uncertainty, and even the extreme weather around the world, has placed a lot of additional pressure on many people. Dealing with blizzards, mudslides and floods takes its toll – physically, mentally, financially and emotionally.

Here is a process to let go of the past year and transform the New Year:

Step one: Acceptance
Accept that stress is high at the end of the year; accept and acknowledge what you are feeling and experiencing. Beware of either simply trying to numb yourself with medication or using other substances to push you beyond your limits. Review the complete list of the symptoms of stress in my article “You’re not crazy”.

Step two: Personal inventory
Write out your list of this year’s successes (achievements) and low-points

Step three: Taking charge
Review the list. What can you change about what has happened this year and what must you simply accept as beyond your control?

Step four: Releasing negative emotions
Identify the emotions that you feel and those which you need to let go (anger, resentment, revenge, hurt, loss, guilt, shame, etc.) If you don’t release the negative emotions, you will engage in self-destructive behavior – alcohol, substance abuse, eating disorders, hurtful relationships, crime, self-mutilation, self-sabotage, accidents, etc.

Step five: Forgiveness
Whom have you not yet forgiven, including yourself? (Note I used the word “yet.”) Remember you can forgive someone for what they did or didn’t do and you don’t have to let them back in your life. Lack of forgiveness hurts you more than it hurts the other person – it transforms into physical illness in your body as well as the overall unhappiness and misery you feel. Forgiveness is one of the most difficult things we need to do because of our own resistance and the various reasons we choose not to forgive. Listen to my one-hour audio program “Secrets to Getting Over it” which focuses on how to forgive and set yourself free; it’s part of my “Getting Over It Combo Package”.

Step six: New Commitments
Create a list of your new commitments for the New Year. Note I use the word “commitments” and not resolutions, wishes or preferences. Keep the list of commitments simple so that they are achievable and so that you follow through with them. Choose one fear and commit to overcoming it or acting in spite of it in the New Year – it can be a physical or emotional fear. Step out of your comfort zone.

Step seven: Simplify
Simplify your life. This is the single answer to alleviating stress; even if you change your perception of life’s events, that action alone will not change the reality of physical, mental and emotional stress if your life is full of events, obligations and responsibilities that drain you physically, mentally, emotionally and even nutritionally. If you are stubborn and choose to fool yourself into thinking that you cannot reduce, eliminate or drop events and tasks from your life, then remember that when you become seriously ill, you will automatically eliminate every task in your life.

A few years ago, DoubleTree Hilton Hotels came to me to create and present a training program for its staff and they asked me to call it “Beginnings and Endings”; the emphasis being on setting goals, time management, ending old habits and creating new goals and new habits. One of my key teachings in the program was “A beginning must have an ending.” In other words, to create a fresh start to the New Year, you must bring closure to the old year.

Another powerful way to bring closure and to set yourself free from the past is to let go of stuff. In other words, you can do spring cleaning now, yes in winter (or summer, depending on where you live.) Throwing out stuff is quite healing and cleansing. I am not simply referring to the trite concept of throwing out clothes that you haven’t worn in over a year. No, I am referring to sifting through everything that you own. I have been doing this process during the past few weeks – sorting through photos, CDs, books, papers, letters, DVDs, clothes, miscellaneous junk and all sorts of other stuff. As I let go of the old stuff (i.e. threw it away), I realized that I was also letting go of the emotional attachment to the stuff. That stuff often represents not just memories but images and concepts that we have formed about ourselves. The real reason we fear letting go or throwing out that stuff is that we think we are losing a part of ourselves or a part of our past; we identify with the stuff and we therefore think we are that stuff. But when you throw out old stuff, the old things that are no longer useful, not only are you making way for the new, you are reminding yourself that you are in control, it does not control you and you are not the material possessions. The resistance to throwing out old stuff comes from the fear of ‘will I be okay without it?’ because we think that the stuff is an extension of us, a part of us or it is us. The fear and resistance to tossing out old stuff is also symbolic of the way we hold onto all of our old stuff – emotions, thoughts, beliefs, events and judgments. When you finally let go of the stuff (physical, material, emotional and cognitive) then you become open, flexible and receptive to new ways, new opportunities and new adventures. Now that is an ideal way to begin a new year and a new decade!

Spend some time visualizing and emotionalizing how you want to transform yourself in the New Year – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  Remember that no matter what has happened to you this past year, the past doesn’t represent the future and it does not have to determine your future.

Happy New Year and may you be surrounded by all the people that love and adore you and may you be blessed beyond your wildest imagination!

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.

Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist

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5 replies
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    Regina Culhane says:

    Patrick… you’ve done it again! What a great message and action plan! Happy New Year to you and may your New Year be blessed with the promises of dreams coming true!

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