7 Ways To Let Go Of The Past Year & Embrace The New One

The year is ending and it's time to look back on the past year and reflect. If you've had a really great year, it may be difficult to let go of 2015, so you might want to discover some ways to embrace the new year. I'm not talking new year's resolutions here, but rather how to look forward to 2016, instead of clinging on to the memories of 2015. By all means, if you enjoy setting yourself new year's resolutions and achieving your goals, it might be time to start brainstorming your resolutions now, but for those out there who hate resolutions, you can make some anti-new year's resolutions instead.

The other day while discussing my NYE plans with my aunt, she told me how she enjoys the holiday now, but hated it when she was in her 20s. My aunt described the feeling as dreading the year to come, just in case it was not as good as the previous year and didn't live up to her expectations. As someone who adores NYE and the idea of the fresh new year full of optimism and opportunity, I felt empathetic towards her former self and compelled to think about ways in which I could have helped her — or rather, help people now going through a similar ordeal.

Here is a selection of ideas to help you embrace 2016 like a new friend and get excited about the new year.

1. Declutter Your Home

According to Style At Home, "The start of a new year is the perfect time to declutter. The effects are so immediately apparent, they'll give you a sense of accomplishment -- the perfect mindset for tackling more challenging goals." The Huffington Post shared "Five Tips For Decluttering Your Home In The New Year" to help us all get 2016 off to a clutter-free start. So get rid of anything weighing you down and holding you back in 2015 by decluttering between now and the beginning of January.

2. Write Letters To The Old & New You

Start by writing a letter to the old you of 2015. Write about whatever you like; any events which changed you, things you are glad you did, or things you wished you had done. Then burn or shred the letter and let go of any negativity that you had associated with 2015, in order to start the new year completely fresh and burden free. After this, write a new letter to yourself, a love letter of sorts, reminding you to follow your dreams and not fall into the same negative rhythms or routines you may have fallen prey to in 2015. Follow Jeanine Cerundolo's letter writing tips on Tiny Buddha about what to include in your letter if you're lost for words. Then squirrel this new letter away and read it on NYE 2016 to see how your vision of the year ahead measured up to the reality and learn from your experiences. You could turn this into a cathartic NYE tradition.

3. Begin A New Journal

As someone with a love of stationery, there's nothing more I enjoy than beginning a new journal or diary at the start of a new year. I love the clean pages, so full of opportunity and freshness that IMO, are symbolic that anything could happen. A little trick I like to do is write in my plans for the year ahead, so I can start looking forward to them already. If you don’t have any plans, don’t worry, pencil in some plans or dream trips and make them a reality by organizing them afterwards.

4. Have A New Year's Spring Clean

In her article for Refinery 29, Venus Wong explained the Chinese tradition of cleaning before the new year, "One of the biggest Lunar New Year traditions in China — besides the red envelopes and parades — is the house-cleaning ritual, known as da sao chu. Days before the new year, families undertake a total home purge, scrubbing down every nook and cranny in hopes of sweeping out bad luck and welcoming the future with open arms. Everything has to be spotless." According to The Huffington Post, people all over the world have new year cleaning traditions and rituals. Writer Donna Henes said, "Let us start this new year, this decade, with a clean sweep, with a clean slate and with a clear conscience. Let us cleanse and purify our houses, inside and out. Purge our negative energy. Polish our intentions. And make our world shine." Start the new year with a shiny new slate.

5. Fly A Sky Lantern

Aside from an evening sky filled with lanterns being a stunning sight to behold — remember that magical scene in Tangled ? — sky lanterns offer you a symbolic release of emotions and feelings. As a teenager, I remember writing a wish on a sky lantern one NYE and feeling so excited that it could come true. People also do this to celebrate the life of a deceased loved one presumably to let go of pain, grieve, or symbolically send a message to the departed in the great beyond. In terms of NYE, you can metaphorically envisage your emotions attached to 2015 inflating the lantern and when it is ready to fly, let it go, along with anything you were holding on to from the previous year. If you wish to fly a sky lantern, make sure to purchase an eco-friendly biodegradable design, so as not to harm the environment.

6. Write A List Of Accomplishments

No matter how big or small, write down what you achieved this year and what you did which made you feel proud of yourself. Even if you went through a difficult period of time but this experience allowed you to grow, it should still be included. After this, write a list of dream accomplishments for 2016 and keep it somewhere where you can see it everyday, to help keep you focussed on it. Cross off your list as and when you accomplish your dreams.

7. Create A 2015 Scrapbook Of Memories

Create a 2015 scrapbook including photos or any tickets, receipts, and memorabilia you have collected over the year. Stick all of your memories in and then ask a family member, friend, or loved one to hide your scrapbook somewhere and instruct them to allow you to see it at the end of 2015. If you really want to let go of this year, you could gift your scrapbook to a friend or partner whom you shared lots of memories with, so that they have a cherished keepsake and you can move on into 2016.

Say goodbye to 2015 and leave room in your life to openly welcome the exciting new year ahead!

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