As the years click upward from 2023 to 2024, I look forward to promises of the new year and take time to engage in my personal rituals that help me set the tone for the coming year. Rather than making resolutions, my traditions allow me to consciously focus on the type of year I aim to have and help ensure that the promises I see are realized.
So, what are my rituals?
In the days leading up to January 1st, I do a deep clean of my home, tidying up those out-of-the-way spots that we don't always get to during our weekly cleaning. I want to start the year in a clean and orderly environment to promote a clear mind. I also don’t spend money on January 1st. To make sure that money isn’t flowing out of my accounts as the year ticks over, I make sure all my bills are paid and my fridge and pantry fully stocked so that I'm not mindlessly spending and can consciously choose where my money flows. Beginning the year with abundance invites the rest of the year to be filled with that same abundance.
On New Year's Day itself, I think carefully about how I spend my time and intentionally engage in activities that I want more of in the coming year. For 2024, my goals are to write more, read more books, achieve better work-life balance, limit my phone and TV time, and connect more with friends and family. So, I'll spend today writing poems and articles, reading books, going for a walk, and chatting with friends. I'll do a small amount of work but be very conscious not to let it take over the whole day. Because as someone who is self-employed, I need there to be an abundance of work, but I also need to ensure it won’t overwhelm me.
By focusing my time and resources on what matters most as the new year begins, I set myself up for a successful year. These rituals remind me that intentional living takes thought and effort.
So, I sat down this morning and wrote a poem, “Hopes, Dreams, and Promises.”
I never know what I’m going to write until the words begin to flow but the end of one year and start of the next often inspires reflection about the passage of time. As I began to write, the words that came were a contemplation about how at the end of each year we optimistically pin our hopes and dreams to the new year. Though we may make resolutions for growth and change as one-year ends and the next begins, in truth most of the promises we make ourselves will remain unfulfilled.
We act as if the year itself holds power over our ability to realize dreams or leave regrets behind. But a new year cannot magically transform what we carry with us. The future inevitably carries forward all that we have yet to resolve.
Nonetheless, the arrival of 2024 sparks in me that familiar sense of renewal, hope, and promise. I dream of breaking old patterns and leaning into possibility. Rather than just passively hoping, I know that realizing the promises and dreams of this new year requires deliberate effort. Because meaningful change does not stem from the year, but from within ourselves.
This is the reminder “Hopes, Dreams, and Promises” expresses. We cannot merely dream without action this year. We need to be honest about the effort it will take to keep the promises we make to ourselves. But beyond the personal resolutions, we need to be honest about the work we need to do as individuals and communities to address the challenges and achieve the dreams we have for the world. The year alone holds no power, but we do.
May we all achieve the fullest expression of our intentions this year.
May we all be active participants in fulling the dreams we have for a better, happier, safer, more loving world. The time for empty hopes has passed—let us begin building the future of our dreams.
Hopes, Dreams, and Promises
The years have ticked upwards once more
From twenty-three to twenty-four
And people are making promises
They've never kept and mostly never will
As they do every year
People are pinning hopes and dreams
On this new year as though the year is in control
Of their lives
But this year, like every year,
Is just an extended moment in time
With the past carrying forward
All the promise and problems
We hold onto, hoping against hope
It'll all go away or come true
It doesn't matter how many years tick away
How many hopes and dreams are pinned on this new year
If we don't keep the promises we make to ourselves
If we don't let go of the past
And work to build the future of our dreams
Because we are clinging to hopes we never turn to action
This year will fail to live up to our dreams and its promise
Jessica Jaymes Purdy ©2024