10 Good New Year Rituals
With the holiday celebrations winding down, it’s time to shift gears a little. And while any time is a good to start focusing on personal and spiritual growth, there’s no better moment than in the first month of a brand-new year. Why? The New Year is essentially, a beginning. A fresh start. A new chapter.
It’s why, over the past few years, we’ve been focusing on the good habit of setting New Year rituals. What we’ve learnt by laying these puppies down in the first month of a new year is that they become really powerful tools for manifesting the shit that really matters.
These are the 10 good things we’re utilising to help us glide into 2021 with the support and structure we need to set intentions, adopt healthier behaviours and, ultimately, create our most awesome lives.
We hope they’ll inspire you to start a New Year ritual practice too.
1. Daydream in nature
Go to your favourite place in nature and relax, do nothing and just daydream about the stuff that makes you go “hmmmmm”.
2. Surrender to the sun
Sunrise and sunset are powerful times to sit in nature, surrender and let the silence help you identify your intentions for the year ahead.
Did you know that early morning light exposure can also help to sync your circadian rhythms (your sleep/wake cycles) and regulate your metabolism? One study has proved that those who get light exposure between 5am - 7am have a lower BMI (body mass index).
3. Put your desire in a universe box
Thanks to Gabrielle Bernstein, we trialled her spiritual practice of putting your desire in a universe box last year. We did this practice for 30 days and found it to be a really good thing. In fact, it is such a powerful way to attract energy, we’re doing it again this year.
Basically, you need to start by finding a box. Anything will do. We used an old teak jewellery box but you could decorate a shoebox, as per Gabby’s suggestion. You then write your desire on a piece of paper and add it to the box. One week later, you take it out and burn it. PS. You can do a universe box any time, but it’s especially potent during the New Year or new moon phases.
4. Work with 108
All over the world, the number 108 represents wholeness or the totality of existence in a spiritual sense. It has significance in Eastern-based religions and yoga and dharma practices. This is because Vedic astrologers determined that the average distance between the sun, moon, and Earth is 108 times their respective diameters.
The sacred number is accessed in many ways by different cultures. For example, in Japan, at the end of each year, a bell is chimed 108 times in Buddhist temples to finish the old year and welcome the new one.
You can access the power of this number to super-charge your intentions for the year ahead by meditating with a traditional mala bead necklace. A mala has 108 beads, plus one guru bead around which the other 108 beads turn like the planets around the sun. If you don’t have a mala, you can try a yoga practice that uses 108 kriya (prayer).
5. Write it down
Get out an old-fashioned piece of paper and your favourite coloured pencils and pens and make a mind map of your goals. Neuroscience has proven that when you write out your goals in ways you can clearly visualise, you are much more likely to achieve them. In fact, according to Forbes, “People who vividly describe their goals are 1.2 - 1.4 times more likely to successfully accomplish their goals.”
6. Use sound therapy to clear energy
One of the easiest ways to clear energy blocks is to engage in sound therapy. You can do this for free by listening to your favourite music.
Or you could try prānāyāmā. This is yogic breathing. Start simply by lying down on your yoga mat - with a support (such as a bolster or blanket) under your head and legs. Close your eyes and tune into the rhythm of your breath. Do this for one or two minutes.
Then take a long, slow, quiet exhalation (breath out) until your lungs are empty. Breath in with a deep inhalation. Concentrate on filling both lungs evenly and expanding the chest up and outwards. When you exhale, synchronise the breath so both lungs empty together. Focus on the sound of your breath - creating an “ahh” sound as you breath in and “ssss” as you breath out. Continue breathing slowly like this for 10 minutes then relax. This breathing exercise soothes the nerves and calms the brain.
7. Make a ‘good ‘n’ grateful’ list
Reviewing and reflecting about the things you felt grateful for last year is an awesome way to get into a “manifesting mindset” for what lies ahead. As with goal-setting, it’s all about getting that pen to paper and writing down what really rocked your world.
8. Try colouration
If you find sitting down or lying down to meditate a bit too challenging and your mind wants to wander, try an active meditation instead before setting your intentions. A good way to do this is called colouration. Basically this is adult colouring-in.
Source a decent colouring-in book from your local stationery shop or order a pretty cool illustration book online, pick up some pencils, find a quiet spot and get shady. One study found that five minutes of colouring in decongests the brain in a way similar to undertaking one hour of conventional meditation practice. We’ve tried it and it’s a fast route to market!
9. Get dirty
Not only is starting a garden good for your tummy and the planet, planting a few vegetables can also have an excellent effect on our immune systems. It’s why at the start of the year we try to get a few good veges in the ground, even if, like now, it’s just a couple of pots of herbs on the windowsill. The point is to get dirt under the fingernails and to enjoy the satisfaction that comes with growing your own good food for the year ahead. For more on why getting dirty is really good for you, check out the work of Dr Maia Shetreat Klein.
10. Wash it away
If you’re wanting to adopt a new health practice for the year ahead, why not try salt therapy. You can do this easily by nasal cleansing - where you add salt to warm water and flush it out your nostrils each morning, by swimming in the ocean or trying a float. Salt helps flush toxins from the body to renew and rejuvenate you for the year ahead.