Welcoming 2015 found me struck by these words: “Old ways won’t open new doors.” Ain’t that the truth. Years of studying human behavior have clearly taught us we cannot expect new outcomes if we are repeating old, familiar patterns. Thank goodness for a fresh year!

What “new doors” are you wanting to walk through this year? What “old ways” need to be laid down? With hope, I offer 3 practices as we enter a year of new beginnings.

slideshow-3

1. Speak Life

Years ago, a friend and I started a New Year’s tradition that we’ve continued practicing to this day. Each year around the holidays, we dine over a lingering dinner and reflect upon the year. We take pleasure in the year’s joy, we give gratitude for its beauty, and we share in its pain.

And then, inspired by the year before, we choose one word to carry with us into the next year. We choose one word to mark the spirit of what we hope to create in the coming year. What word would you choose to speak into your life this year?

My friend and I aren’t alone. I recently stumbled upon Ali Edwards, a woman who has created a website forum/blog and community workshops based on this idea. As you find inspiration, I encourage you to check out her work at One Little Word®.

As Ali says, “A single word can be a powerful thing. It can be the ripple in the pond that changes everything.” What are you inspired to change this year?

2. Create Vision

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, a vision board will do the trick! Oprah was the first to inspire me with this idea. I was hooked the very first time I saw a guest introduce this idea on her show and I’ve been doing them ever since.

Gather magazines, old and new, and flip through them to find images that draw you in. Don’t give too much thought to the process initially. Simply tear out images or words that find you pausing as you pass by pages.

Once you’ve created a good pile of pictures and phrases, spend time reflecting on why you might have been attracted to those particular images. Some you may find casting aside or throwing away. Others become meaningful and make their way to the next round.

Next, grab a large piece of butcher paper or poster board. Collect your images and paste them to your board in any way that inspires you. Feel free to write or add words as well. There are no rules here, only creativity.

Not into a large board? Using a sketch pad or a journal works too. The idea is to capture images that inspire vision for the year ahead. Whatever medium you choose, just be sure to pay attention to it throughout the year. Reflect on your vision often.

Hint: Make this time sacred. I’m a sucker for rituals. Light a few candles, find some good music, and let yourself savor the moments of connecting with your “inner you.”

Need some guidance and inspiration? Check out these tips for building an effective vision board from renown life-coach Martha Beck.

3. Sow Gratitude

Sociologist and researcher, Brené Brown, reminds us we cannot have joy without gratitude. It simply isn’t possible. Take a minute to listen to Brené talk about the research. Watch now. Like what you’re hearing? You won’t want to miss these words from Brené.

The tricky thing about gratitude is that it doesn’t always come easy. There is no such thing as an “attitude of gratitude.” Gratitude is not a feeling or an attitude to stumble upon or “put on.” It’s a practice, a daily practice. A practice that changes our life.

If you’re looking to fall in love with your life this year, might I suggest cultivating gratitude. Carve out time in your day to give thanks for aspects both simple and profound. Develop a gratitude journal highlighting moments throughout your day. Or, simply engage in the ceaseless practice of being grateful throughout your day.

For me, this practice begins with my morning tea. I start my day with a warm cup of Chai and a heart longing to be grateful. Some days, this comes easy. Other days, I pull thanksgiving from deeper, hidden places. Throughout the day, I try my best to reflect on aspects of my life (or in the world) by which to lend gratitude. At the end of an evening, usually as I strip off my makeup, I also given thanks for both the grit and the beauty of the day.

We can often be tempted to only be grateful when things are going well and we’re in spaces of happiness and abundance. Life-changing joy is found in deeper places. In all spaces and crevices (especially the hard, messy ones), we must find genuine, heartfelt thanksgiving.

Are these ideas not your thing? Are you more of a “classic girl” and love to start the year with the declaration of a new resolution? Go for it! Though, sometimes resolutions can find us feeling discouraged as they become neglected or even forgotten. Need some inspiration to stay strong this year? Check out these 10 books to keep your resolutions thriving.

For those of you who love to have a little fun and be silly in the reflection, this website is a must explore! Enter your first name, select your category of life-improvement, and it will generate a random resolution for you. I’ve played around with it, and it’s quite brilliant. Some will have you thinking, most will have you laughing. Ready to have some fun? Click here.

However you find your inspiration this year, may it be one of great intention and purpose. Here’s to the life you’re choosing to create in 2015!

SHANNON WEST

is the owner and founder of Speaking Pink, a private therapy and consulting practice devoted to teen girls and twenties women in Seattle / Kirkland, Washington. Shannon is a licensed family therapist, a private consultant, and a writer about all things on the journey from girl to woman. Follow on Pinterest and Twitter or send an email to Shannon@speakingpink.com.