Last winter I had the joy of leading a session at a women’s retreat in the beautiful lake country of Wisconsin. I’d been asked to share a message that would inspire the attendees and also set them up for success in the new year. Many were business owners and entrepreneurs, and all were hard-working, creative types with tremendous passion and lofty goals.
As we settled in by the massive stone fireplace for the evening session, we talked about their goals and the big dreams each woman had for her business. We discussed the myth of work-life balance, and the importance of setting realistic expectations, all while striving toward harmony between personal and professional responsibilities.
Then we got really vulnerable. We shared personal challenges that block us from our perceived success—the things that weigh us down, like a bag of rocks. Heavy things that hold us back and keep us from achieving our potential.
“I want to stop feeling like an imposter. No matter how well my business does, I still doubt myself.”
“I need to quit worrying myself sick over every potential problem.”
“I need to let go of my ex. I feel so guilty about our failed marriage.”
“I need to stop eating my stress away.”
“I’m terrified of failing.”
These brave women shared some of their innermost feelings and fears.
That’s when I literally pulled out a heavy, bulging bag of rocks. I handed each woman a rock and a Sharpie marker. I asked each person to think of one thing she was still hanging onto that was not serving her well—one ROCK in her life that was pulling her down or holding her back—something she’d like to toss out of her life.
Once identified, the women wrote it on their stones.
We then brainstormed specific, do-able strategies for exactly how each person could eliminate her own ROCK in the new year. It was so powerful to see this group collectively helping one another, offering wisdom and support. Courage and encouragement. Accountability.
That’s when we all bundled up in our winter gear and walked toward the lakeshore, moonlight shimmering on the crisp snow. In silent contemplation, each woman took turns throwing her ROCK on to the lake, a physical action to represent her intent to let it go—to literally toss it out in order to make room for bigger and better things that WOULD help her get where she wanted to go.
What are your ROCKS?
2020 has been a year of firsts for so many, with unique challenges, devastating losses, and extremes, but also with positive experiences, newfound flexibility and growth sprinkled in a little bit at at time. It is a year to remember—and a year to let go of.
It’s never easy to let go of what we’ve become comfortable with, but letting go can be an act of great POWER! It can positively impact your life and allow the freedom to pursue the things that fulfill you, because you are no longer held back by your own limiting actions and beliefs.
With that in mind, here are 21 ROCKS to let go of so you can make 2021 your best year yet!
- a negative attitude
- an old argument
- fear of failure – worrying about the what-ifs
- an unhealthy relationship
- an untrue narrative that you keep replaying in your head
- a bad habit
- gossip – the ultimate bad habit!
- the need for control – if we’ve learned anything in 2020, it is that life is unpredictable.
- ego – too much pride can blind you of your faults and keep you from learning from your mistakes.
- being glued to social media
- unrealistic expectations – from others and from yourself
- comparing yourself with others – a waste of time and an energy-sucker
- complaining – If something isn’t working, do something about it.
- guilt over past mistakes
- procrastinating – if you want to accomplish something, take action.
- hating your body
- blaming others for your troubles – you are responsible for who you are and what you do.
- emotional baggage – why hang on to any misguided, wasteful, time sucking thoughts?
YOUR HOMEWORK – Toss your ROCKS!
- Pick 3 of your personal ROCKS (the things that weigh you down—might be on the list above) and ponder them. How do they affect your life? Your relationships? Your success? Your emotional wellbeing? Your physical wellbeing? Your future?
- Go outside and find 3 stones large enough to write on. Using a Sharpie, write down one thing you will let go of on each stone.
- Commit to being intentional on removing the weight of the ROCKS you carry. Think about HOW you WILL do this.
- Find a lake, river or ocean near you and throw the stones into the water (or on to the ice, if you live in a cold climate like I do). As you release the stone, release the weight of the item you are letting go of—and embrace the freedom and success you will have in the new year.
- Start 2021 fresh with new mindset and clarity!
- Set new goals.
- And, of course, CELEBRATE THE GOOD STUFF. (more on how you can do that in a bit)
Every new year brings with it promises of opportunity and change, and 2021 is no different.
Let go of the things that no longer serve you and make room in your life for better things to come. Your life—and the new year—is what you make of it, so make the most out of every moment you have. Starting today. Toss your ROCKS out and begin noticing and celebrating the good in you, in others and in the world around you.
Happy new year!