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Godspeed Blog
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Welcome to Godspeed, the blog of the Godspeed Institute, written by CAER HALLUNDBAEK, award-winning author, educator and communicator on contemporary faith. A founding director of the Institute, she is the host of the popular radio program Godspeed which airs on the Progressive Radio Network and online every week. For inspiration and upbeat conversations with spiritual leaders around the world, visit: www.godspeedinstitute.com.


Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 29, 2010 11:05AM

Tips for a Risk-Free New Year's Eve

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New Year’s Eve can be one of the most powerful nights of our lives, largely due to the importance cast upon it year after year. For example, I have been told that the way we spend New Year’s Eve will ‘set the tone’ for the rest of the year! My Gosh, that’s a powerful evening.

Some people love New Year’s; others feel very pressured by its crowd or 'cattle' mentality. When I was young in the city I loved to live it up in formal clothes at a big party or nightspot. Now, with a family that includes younger children, we tend to enjoy smaller, cozier celebrations.  

But however you spend it, New Year’s, like all holidays, can be a simple expression of fun or a lure into disappointments -- disappointments that can be easily avoided.

For a risk-free New Year's Eve, here are some tips:

  •  Let go of expectations of the night
Whatever your plans, this is perhaps the most important point. Try not to have expectations of what the night is 'supposed' to be.  Remember, for some it's a Brand New Beginning!! For others, it's just a Friday night...  Aim for somewhere in between.
  • Let go of expectations of others.

An example: "He didn't propose to me on Christmas Eve... Is he planning to propose on New Year's Eve?!" 

OMG. You'll be looking for that ring all night long and you will not, in fact, be present to the fun and your own enjoyment. Don't waste your time building yourself up for something that may not happen; focus on what is happening. Stay present. That is how memories are created.

  • Communicate your thoughts about the celebration beforehand.

Now would be a good time to share your style of celebration with him or her; don't wait till December 31st at 9:00pm.

For some, New Year's means black tie and silver gowns at an elegant gathering; for others it means jeans and a plaid flannel shirt in front of the fireplace. Both are romantic options.

Talk beforehand about what you might do -- try not to judge, and keep an open mind.

  • Center yourself before the celebration.

For me, the holidays are best when centered, body and soul. For example, I enjoy a fragrant, salted bath early in the evening, and consciously 'wash away' the old year, while reflecting on its events – its successes; its joys and celebrations; its miracles; its work and dreams; its great love; its pain and losses; my own mistakes and things I could have done better.

This time of reflection lets me review the year in a gentle, timely manner. Things don't 'come up' for me then, during the course of the evening.

  • Consider all the things you are grateful for.

I take some time to think about my family and dear friends, and our changing identity as life progresses. In this uncertain world, there is still much to be thankful for. 

And finally... if you have to...

  • Make only one reasonable resolution.

Resolutions also fall into the expectations-leading-to-disappointment category. If you are someone who makes New Year's Resolutions, try to make only one this year, and one you can accomplish reasonably.

For example: I will complete my book proposal in the next 30 days. 

Anything else, like quitting smoking, or losing 40 pounds by Easter, or getting that marriage proposal, will only cause stress and ultimately a feeling of failure if not accomplished or maintained. Don't set yourself up that way. Be good to yourself. 

New Year’s Eve is risk-free when it’s a night of gratitude, and not expectation. You can’t help but enjoy it.  



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Enjoy a great New Year's - and all the best for an abundant 2011!
Here's the best tip:
New year's eve is amateur night.
Stay home and away from the drunks.
An excellent post with common sense advice, Carole. I also grew up with the belief "that the way we spend New Year’s Eve will ‘set the tone’ for the rest of the year", but I've abandoned that for sometime now. I prefer your tips better, especially the one about centering oneself. Thank you, and a very happy new year to you !
Thanks for the cautionary list. It'll help those who tend to overdo the Great Partytime. Especially those in the cold climes who risk much on the way home.
Every New Year I have gone out has been a bust except for one in a cabin up Lightner Creek outside of Durango where I got loaded as kissed all twenty girls at the party as close to midnight as possible. That isn't the happiest I have ever been. The happiest I have ever been was when I got a bike and an erector set from Santa on the same visit. Just one more time, I would like to be that happy R
Your post is filled with good advice. Thanks.
Hope you have a Happy New Year.
All very good pointers to a better NY....
Thanks for helping me firm up some positive plans for tomorrow night!
One year ago, I decided I didn't want to be alone New Year's Eve after dealing with my father's death in October and the ensuing family holidays up to the end of the year. I attended an elegant Viennese-style masked ball that included many friends and acquaintances. One friend commented on personal connections and wished one for me. There was a man I had hoped to see that evening, earlier in the year he wanted a relationship whereas at the time I was the primary caretaker and felt I could not be involved with anyone. At cocktail hour, however, I felt the connection but was unsure of his current romantic situation. As one of the musicians, he played on stage but by the end of the evening I invited him to an after party. His thought was that if he went, his life would change forever. It did. We were married November 27, 2010 and celebrated our first anniversary this New Year's Eve. What a ride for a couple of late bloomers- he turned 60 and I'm 55 -looking ahead for new adventures in 2011.

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