As 2010 winds down, I know a lot of us are busy with our resolutions. I’m all for making plans for the new year, don’t get me wrong. But I want to think a little bit about the year that is passing us by. More specifically, I want to think about what things from 2010 do I want to carry with me into 2011.

My dear Spelman sister, Brigette (oh how I love her!) has a lovely New Year’s party and the highlight is that you write down the things you want to leave behind on little scraps of paper and then you gleefully toss them into the fireplace. Then, we all write down what you want to accomplish in the new year and put the paper in tiny envelopes which Lady B will mail to you around June 15, so you can chart your progress. (2010 was aces for me. 10 out of 11 things on my list—DONE!)

But there is one little piece missing and I am adding to the ritual to make the assessment more whole. Ask yourself: what went right in the year behind us that you want to carry into 2011?

The thing about New Year’s resolutions is that they are a little bit too handed. Sometimes, thinking about what you want to get done in 2011 can also be a way of beating yourself up for what you didn’t do in 2010. I'm all for improvement, but sometimes we don't give ourselves enough credit. So, to sort of balance things out let’s make a list of what we did right and pledge to keep on doing it.

I am cooking tonight and there will be every kind of champagne cocktail you can think of. (So drop by!) But will be making our lists of what we want to take with us into this new year. I have these pretty little note cards and envelopes which I will give to each person. Then when everyone has written something on card—and everyone will write down something. It’s so easy to forget the good stuff, but I know that each one of us has something worth holding on to! So then, once the lists are written and tucked into the envelopes, each person will tie a ribbon around her envelope. This symbolizes a tether, holding to you. I think of the tether like the string on a child’s balloon, connecting it to you, while still letting it soar.

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Comment by M Kathy Brown on January 5, 2011 at 8:59am

Hi Tayari!

I really love your balloon-tether analogy and your title couldn't be any better. Know how great minds think alike? Thought you might enjoy this quote, by Pullitzer Prize-Winning Columnist, Ellen Goodman:

     We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, 

     drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.

     Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through

     the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential.

Comment by Samantha Sotto Yambao on January 4, 2011 at 2:52am
Hi Tayari :) That's a lovely idea. Thanks for an inspiring post!
Comment by Elese Coit on January 3, 2011 at 4:12pm

Hi Tayari, I love this.  Very timely, since I also just did the list of what I would release from 2010. 

I was thinking about what you said and the ribbon idea, and I wanted to share with you that one thing I also did in the practice of leaving things behind is to take the time to see the lessons and the gifts from those things.  (When I say 'things' I personally am including any experiences, situations, grudges, mistakes, habitual thinking or beliefs that I'm saying goodbye to.) 

I was looking at my list of 'gifts' just now and one of my lessons included a dip in my business. I decided to reassess what I was doing and I saw I'd agreed to things that didn't suit me. I wrote down as my gift from this : "I went deeper into my business and the real reason for it.  That's, a thing I did right and want to keep doing!

As a result of that 'gift' I finally got really moving on my autobiography and will begin teaching more this year.  (I train transformative coaches and now I've launched classes of my own to teach people wellbeing under all circumstances). 

You are not just talking about a theory, or something really nice to do. It can be powerfully creative, as I'm sure you've also found.

Rock on 2011.  Thanks for a great post!

Comment by Colleen Green on January 2, 2011 at 10:59am
Great idea!!! Staying positive and focusing on your accomplishments is productive and inspiring!!
Comment by Kelly Gooltz on January 1, 2011 at 9:54pm
This sounds simply lovely. What a great way to reflect on a positive note instead of the all to custom negative of the year past.
Comment by Colonel Mustard's Sous Chef on December 31, 2010 at 6:37pm
Sounds delightful. I'll bring the Prosecco.

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