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For many people and for many reasons, there is an overwhelming sense of agreement that 2018 was challenging and, at times, a highly stressful year.

We are living in a time of great upheaval with light being thrown into previously dark corners revealing aspects of humanity that, personally, I find to be heartbreaking. I know that change and transformation is not possible without awareness. 2018 has been a year of revelations and revolutions.

During tumultuous times, it is easy to slip into fear and negative thinking. Though we never really know for certain how life will go, there are periods where we think we know. These times feel more comfortable and safer. Truthfully, we are more often living with little to no control over the circumstances of life. We only get to choose how we will act on the circumstances as they present themselves.

As 2018 comes to a close, and while we have no idea what lies ahead of us, we have the opportunity to end the year with grace and gratitude. We could take an inventory of all the challenging moments, stressful times, and unanticipated changes. But we survived those things. They are in the past and we’re poised to begin anew on January 1st. So, instead, I encourage you to shift your focus to noticing what went well for you in the year that is almost behind us.

We are more successful, happy, creative, and inspired when we walk through life with less tension, stress, and fear. So, let’s close out the year by taking the following steps:

  1. Make a list of five moments that felt effortless for you in 2018. Think about your professional work, personal relationships, wellbeing, passion projects, and personal growth.
  2. For each of these, ask yourself what outcomes or experiences were you able to create as a result of being in a state of ease and without tension, stress, or fear? When you are moving through life without effort, in a state of flow, you are able to walk with grace.
  3. Now, write a statement of gratitude for each of these five moments. What are you grateful for that resulted from these effortless moments?
  4. Finally, looking ahead to 2019, what strategies can you use to bring more effortlessness to work, play, relationships, wellbeing, and other important parts of your life? How can you move into and stay in the flow even more in the year ahead? What can you accomplish by the end of 2019 by focusing more on flow and reducing stress and tension in your life?

Living consciously doesn’t mean that challenging circumstances never arise. It means that we are mindful enough to notice when they do and shift quickly to creating a way to move through them.

May you find yourself full of grace and gratitude, no matter how often you were challenged in 2018 and may the year ahead be one where you experience kindness, compassion, and abundant opportunities that align with your values and your goals.

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