A prayer to greet the new year (DW #860)

As we start this new year, I would like to share an excerpt from a beautiful supplication:
A new day
This is a fresh, new day,
over us a ready witness.
If we do good, it will take leave from us with praise,
and if we do evil, it will part from us in blame.

O God,
provide us with the day’s good companionship
and preserve us against ill-parting from it caused by doing a misdeed
or committing a sin, whether small or great!

Make our good deeds within it plentiful,
empty us therein of evil deeds,
and fill what lies between its two sides for us with praise and thanksgiving,
bounty and beneficence!

O God,
make this
the most fortunate day we have known,
the most excellent companion we have accompanied,
and the best time in which we have lingered!

Place us amongst the most satisfied of all Your creatures
whom night and day have passed by,
the most thankful of them
for the favours that You have bestowed
Excerpt from Dua of Imam Zainul Abedin (as)
May this new year bring to...
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Why you need to end the year with gratitude (DW #859)

Before we finish and complete the end of year reflections, there is one more essential component of completing the past. And that is gratitude.
By now we are all familiar with the power of gratitude to transform our lives. We have discussed it at length several times.
What we need to remind ourselves at this point is that gratitude can be key to goal achievement in the new year.
A leading authority on the science of gratitude, Robert A. Emmons, along with Anjali Mishra crafted a study comparing grateful and non grateful goal striving. They had participants keep a gratitude journal, as well as provide a list of goals they hoped to reach over a two-month period.
Ten weeks later Emmons and Mishra checked back and found the participants who kept a gratitude journal were significantly closer than others to achieving their goals. Unlike what we are sometimes led to believe, focusing on what we have does not make us complacent. They found instead that gratitude...
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What needs to be cleaned up in relationships? (DW #858)

As we continue with end of year reflections, let us remind ourselves that incompleteness in relationships takes up a lot of mental and emotional bandwidth in our lives and saps our creative energy. 
The end of the year is a great chance to clean these up and move forward.
So let us tackle some:
  • What are some commitments that you did not end up keeping to others
  • Who do you need to apologize to? (hard one, this!) 
  • Who do you need to forgive in order to move on to the next year with renewed energy and love? 
  • Who do you need to thank for their role in your life this year?
  • What important things need to be said? (What are you waiting for?)
  • Who needs to know that you love them despite everything?
  • Who have you missed being more connected to this year? Do they know this?
  • What ego trait has stopped you from being more connected to your loved ones? (How is that working out for you? Are you ready to let this go yet?)
 Of course, these reflections are...
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The opportunity principle (DW #857)

Continuing with our discussion on regret from yesterday, let us explore this a little more.
Some years ago, researchers from the University studied people’s biggest regrets in life. They found that the six biggest regrets people expressed (in the USA) had to do with education, career, romance, parenting, self- improvement, and leisure.
After ranking the regrets, the researchers Roese and Summerville went about dissecting the mechanism of regret and mapped a three-stage process of action, outcome, and recall.
Here is the summary:
The action stage is where we take steps toward a goal.
The outcome stage is where we experience the result of our effort. If there is failure to act, or if the action is unsuccessful, it can often trigger regret in the recall stage, which is the third stage. Recall is when we look back on the event and consider whether we are happy with the outcome or not.
What was interesting was that the researchers found...
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What do you regret? (DW #856)

While doing the end of year review feelings of regret can show up about missed opportunities, and near wins. And since these can be intense, painful and include self-blame, it is tempting to try and distance ourselves from them.
Regret is an uncomfortable and sometimes toxic emotion. Experts find, however, that there can be an upside of regret. Regret can teach us valuable lessons if we are brave enough to pause and reflect on what is causing the regret.
Janet Landman, a University of Michigan psychologist suggests that regret has several benefits.
Firstly, regret teaches us what not to do in the future. Reflecting on our missteps and mistakes is critical to avoiding these missteps in the future.
Secondly, facing regret and acknowledging where we fell short can act as motivation to change. Landman says, "Regret may not only tell us that something is wrong, but it can also move us to do something about it."
Thirdly, regret acts like a moral compass,...
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A review of domains in our lives and the roles (DW #855)

When we are doing the end of year reflections and setting goals for the new year, it is easy to focus on one or two areas of life which we may be preoccupied with at the moment, while ignoring others.

Living our best self requires us to pay attention to all aspects of our lives, even areas which may not immediately come to mind.

The first step in thinking this way is to define the 'domains' of our life.
Another way look at it is to consider our various roles in life at present, at home, at work, in our communities and in the world at large.

For example, here are some 'domains' which may be applicable to you:
  • The health domain
  • The spiritual domain
  • The work domain
  • The business domain
  • The marriage domain
  • The parenting domain
  • The community service domain
  • The domain of family relationships/family of origin, extended family
  • The domain of friendships
  • The home organization domain
  • The domain of self-growth and actualization
The domain of personal well being (emotional and mental)
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What is left unfinished? (DW #854)

If you have been following DW advice, you have been setting some stretch goals, goals that are not all that easy to accomplish.
And there is a good possibility that you may not have accomplished all the goals that you set at the beginning of this year. This is almost to be expected.
But what do you do about them?
Now is a good idea to "clean up" what is left unfinished.
The end of year is an excellent time to review what did not end up happening this year. If you are still serious about this goal and still want to achieve it, go ahead and recommit.
If your priorities have changed, or it does not fit in to your life or plans right now, let it go.
In either case, go through what is not done and consciously declare it not done, and either recommit or let it go.

It is not a good idea to ignore it or simply carry it forward to next year because open loops are a major cause of energy drain in our lives.
To start the new year with...
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What were some lessons learnt this year? (DW #853)

This is, of course, a great exercise to do every year but in this "CoVid year", it is more important than ever. When things are changing and challenging, it can be hard to take a step back and take stock because we are so busy dealing with the situation as it unfolds. But now it has been many months and if we have not paused and reflected yet, it is time to do so!

So what are some of the persons lessons you have learnt this year? Realizations that you have come to?

While you are writing them down, it is effective to do so in short, positively worded statements.
  1. Here are some examples:

    I learnt that in challenging times it pays to focus on simple daily rituals to keep me grounded.
  2. I learnt that there are always, ALWAYS things to be grateful for. When things are challenging, it helps to focus on the beauty of nature, the smiles of babies and cute kitten videos :) .
  3. I learnt that things that I used to diss (social media and technology) can become lifelines. One more lesson in how I...
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What were your wins this year?(DW #852)

It is very useful to begin the process of end-of-year reflection by acknowledging what went well.

Now aacknowledging what we have done well may not come naturally to many of us. t is SO easy to gloss over the good stuff and go straight to how we need to improve. And yet it is very important to give ourselves a little pat on the back.

Research suggests that when we pause for a moment to reflect on what we are already doing well, it encourages and motivates us to tackle the less-than-easy stuff on our task and project list. Taking a moment to let the good feelings of taking action is VERY effective at training our brain to do more of what works. In a sense, we are "rehearsing" what we need to do more of.

Here are some questions to get you going:

1) What are my 3 biggest successes for this year?
2) The next 3?
3) What are the small successes that were the most challenging for me?
4) What is a smart decision that I made this year?
5) What are 3 ways that I have grown this year? (have...

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The one thing you must do before setting goals...(DW #851)

If you are anything like me, about this time every year, you ask yourself the same question: where did the year go?

Even though this year has been extraordinarily challenging for some, and seemed to be going by verrryyyy slowly as we spent time huddled up at home, looking back, it may feel like we started hearing about this new disease just yesterday . .  .

Although many things have changed, there are some that haven't, including our habits and the way we tend to use our time.

Some of us get into a mad dash at the end of the year, trying to accomplish everything that we meant to do this year. Others are already thinking ahead to January and planning what goals they want to set for next year.

In order to start the next year off well, there is a very important step we can take right now.

Taking stock of this year as it ends.

Writing an end of year reflection is an excellent way to acknowledge your successes and wins and start considering where and how you might do better next year.


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