We are about to embark on a new decade, and for most of us, this marks our sixth or seventh decade on the Earth. With a new decade, we can choose to make intentions for new beginnings.

One of the many beautiful things about the start of a new year is that it can be an inspiration for change and a new way of doing and thinking about things.

A new year can be viewed as a chance to reflect on the past or embark on a different path for the future. It can also be a time to be more mindful of the blessings around us and figure out how to avail ourselves of them.

If you believe in New Year’s resolutions, you may have made some, but in general, there’s a strong chance that they will get broken. One way to prevent that from happening is to take the time to write down your intentions.

Whether you do so on a computer, in a journal, or in a letter to someone far away, it’s important to always keep some writing material nearby, because often ideas will come to you when you’re not sitting down to write.

Having something to write on nearby also allows you to glance at your musings, and maybe write when you have more time.

How to Start Journaling

There are many ways to jump-start your journaling practice. I say practice, because like meditating, it’s a good idea to do it every day. One way to journal is to do stream-of-consciousness writing, and the other type of journaling is directed by writing prompts. I will discuss both of them below.

Stream-of-consciousness writing, which I discuss in my book, Writing for Bliss: Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life, occurs when you write continually for a designated period of time – let’s say, 15 or 20 minutes.

This is one way to tap into your subconscious mind or to release any inhibitions you may have. It’s also a way to tap into your authentic thoughts and voice.

Oftentimes, the best writing emerges with this type of writing. Some people call this “free writing” or “automatic writing.” In other words, it is writing that flows regardless of where the words lead. Your pen keeps moving, or you keep tapping the keys on the keyboard.

Using Writing Prompts

Writing prompts are an excellent way to get your thoughts on the page, and it’s okay if you begin answering the question in the prompt and find your thoughts wandering in a different direction.

This might mean there’s another subject that’s calling to you, and that’s fine. It’s all about finding your bliss through writing. In my book, Writing for Bliss: A Companion Journal, I offer a number of useful prompts to inspire and kick-start the writing process.

Here are some prompts that may be particularly useful for you for the beginning of a New Year:

A Letter to Self

Write a letter to yourself where you reflect on what happened in 2019. How did it go for you? What might you do differently to make things better in 2020? Discuss your challenges, hurdles, accomplishments, and concerns.

Inspirations

Be mindful of your inspirations. Write about situations or individuals who inspired you and made you feel good.

Practice Mindfulness

Take about 30 minutes to just sit quietly with your eyes closed. Don’t speak to anyone or interact with any electronic devices. Think about yourself, your environment, and the people you regularly associate with.

Now write about your experience in that stillness. What did you notice? What thoughts were rummaging around in your mind? Did you focus on just one thing, or did your mind wander to different aspects of your life?

Nurture Yourself

Write about what you will do to nurture yourself in 2020. What brings solace to your body, mind, and spirit? It can be easy to take on the energies of those around you.

Sometimes you have a choice as to whom those people will be, but at other times you do not. If you could choose the people you surround yourself with – that is, those who make you feel joyous and content – who would those individuals be?

Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude

A journal is the perfect place to express your gratitude for all the good things in your life. Many people tend to journal when things aren’t going so well, but when you make a habit of noticing all that is positive around you, then you bring light, instead of darkness, into your life and into the lives of others.

As author Shakti Gawain wrote in his book, Creative Visualization, “The more light you allow within you, the brighter the world you live in will be.”

Expressing gratitude also offers hope and will bring a smile to your face. So, write about the small things that make you happy – perhaps a pair of shoes you love or a food you enjoy eating – as well as the larger aspects of your life, such as loved ones you appreciate.

Develop Your Intuition

It has been said that intuitive people listen to the voices of their souls and follow their instincts. For some people, this is a developed skill, but for others it comes more naturally.

Write down some questions or concerns you have going into 2020. Stop for a moment and look to your inner soul or higher self and write down the answers. Try to write automatically or use the stream-of-consciousness approach.

A Time of New Beginnings

In Chinese astrology, 2020 is the year of the metal rat. The rat is the first sign of the 12 animal cycles. Therefore, it signifies new beginnings and renewal. It’s also a time of renewed creative energy, which can manifest by fulfilling the desires you have for your life.

The idea of new beginnings seems appropriate for a new decade, especially if you were born in one of the years of the rat (1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996).

While most people would not consider the rat cute or adorable, those born under this sign are typically considered industrious, thrifty, diligent, and positive. They have good intuition, can detect danger, usually deal well with money, and are financially lucky.

May you prosper and have luck in all aspects of your life in 2020!

How do you envision yourself in 2020? Is it time for a new beginning? What will you begin this year? Please share your goals and how you will try to go about accomplishing them!

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