Say Goodbye to 2021 + Clarify Your Vision for the New Year.

written by Bari Tessler December 22, 2021
Say Goodbye to 2021 + Clarify Your Vision for the New Year.

Dear Money Adventurer,

Wherever this finds you – may your heart, and your cup, be full. As you dream ahead to all you want to do, be, and accomplish in the new year, I want to introduce you to a new partner-in-joy: MONEY.

Money can be your ally, your playmate, your sparring partner, and your rock-steady support as you live your dreams into reality in the new year. Money will meet you where you are, revealing a depth of intimacy and self-knowing that can move mountains – if you let it.


It all starts with making a little time in your day — and space in your hear

This year, things look dramatically different for many of us. We’re connecting virtually instead of gathering buoyantly together. We’re doing our best to make it work, adjusting traditions, and seeking solace as we approach this marking of the end of a chapter, and welcoming a new one. No matter what your personal ritual for ringing in the New Year, or what your celebrations may look like this season, my wish is that you be surrounded by love, joy, and comfort – even if it is a little different this time around.

Wherever this finds you – may your heart, and your cup, be full. As you dream ahead to all you want to do, be, and accomplish in the new year, I want to introduce you to a new partner-in-joy: MONEY.

Money can be your ally, your playmate, your sparring partner, and your rock-steady support as you live your dreams into reality in the new year. Money will meet you where you are, revealing a depth of intimacy and self-knowing that can move mountains – if you let it.


It all starts with making a little time in your day — and space in your heart.

Say Goodbye to 2021 + Clarify Your Vision for the New Year.

What is your favorite, most beloved way to ring in the New Year? Do you create a list of resolutions? Set intentions or choose a guiding word or mantra for the year? Dedicate time to vision where you’d like to be in 12 months, and then create an action-oriented To-Do List to get you there? Spend time in conscious gratitude, releasing the past to step forward with more awareness?

No matter what your New Year’s tradition is, allow me to gently urge you to include money in it.

After all, when you pour some loving attention towards it, money can be:

  • A supportive vehicle carrying you towards your dreams and goals
  • A doorway to grace, forgiveness, compassion, and empowerment (the list goes on – what other qualities are you hoping to live into in the New Year?)
  • A “life garden” in its own right, worthy of learning, growth, and tender, loving attention

If we’re willing, money can be so much more than just the currency we exchange, or the number in our bank account. Bringing these deeper, more intimate aspects of money into our lives takes more than just looking at the dollars and cents.

We need to bring our heart into it, our whole selves – with all of our history, dreams, and quirks, our baggage, and our aspirations.

What a perfect moment to create a full life + money ritual, right now, on the cusp of a new year. Before we move forward, we need to intentionally create time and space to look back at where we’ve been. It is so important to consciously close a chapter before we begin a new one. If you review your past year with money first — including numbers, and emotions, challenges, and celebrations — you’ll be grounded and clear-sighted as you look ahead to the New Year.

Looking for a little support and guidance as you look back? You know I’m always here to encourage you along your money journey! If you missed it, check out my guide to creating your Year-End Money Ritual right here. I recommend completing that first to create a foundation you can come back to for your Looking Ahead practice.

Honoring the year you’ve just finished will birth insights and unexpected gems that you can transform into fresh goals and intentions for the coming year.

Start by carving out 30 minutes — or set aside time for a longer, more luxurious ritual. If right now, the best you can do is 15 minutes, that’s okay. You’re still showing up. Go easy on yourself. We all start somewhere. Whatever time you can devote to bringing a little more love + awareness into your money relationship will repay you tenfold in the upcoming year.

Ready? Let’s lay the groundwork for a brand new year of your money story. Give yourself permission to begin anew, with even more compassion, clarity, and success — whatever that means to you.

Step One: Love Up Your Space

It’s important to create a space for this work that feels good to you.

Perhaps the setting you created for Part One (the Looking Back) phase of this Money + Life Ritual feels perfect for this second part.

But maybe it would feel good to shift your environment here. To clear off that desk or light a fresh candle. Throw open the curtains. Shift the music. Bring in your sweetheart. Switch from milk to dark chocolate.

Like any Money Date, whatever feels good and meaningful to you is the right answer.

Step Two: Get Current

You’ve just said goodbye to the past year … and are welcoming the year before you.

The bridge between the past and the future is one essential question:

What is current for me?

So let’s look at what’s true for you right now.

  • In the Big Picture Vision of your life, where are you, right now?
  • What’s the general theme + context for this upcoming year? How does that affect your money goals?
  • Life milestones are also money milestones. Have you just gone through a big transition? (Or are you about to?) Marriage, baby, divorce, empty nest, job loss, new career, health challenges? These will all deeply influence your overarching goals and intentions for the upcoming year.
  • How do your life milestones translate into money goals this year? For instance: if you’ll be having a baby in the next year, perhaps your main goal is saving as much money as possible so you can take an extended leave from work.
  • No big money or life milestones on your radar? You can still establish big goals. Maybe you want to shift your chronic pattern of overspending, and so your main goal for the year will simply be to live within your means, not adding a single cent to your debt. Perhaps it’s your time to do some emotional healing work around money, or welcome some bookkeeping support, or start getting honest with your sweetie. All of these are wonderful, important goals.

Step Three: Create Your Money Map of Intention

Doesn’t that sound so much better than “budget”?! It is. It truly is. And we approach it differently than a traditional budget.

We’re not going to start with the numbers. We’re going to start with some freewriting. Grab a journal or open a fresh Google Doc. For each of the following “lifestyle tiers,” write out what they feel like, to you … and what’s included:

1. Basic Needs. How does it feel to have your basic, bottom line needs of life met? What’s included here? You decide what that means. Does it include organic food? Is a daily latte a must? You’re the boss here.

2. Comfortable. Here, introduce a level of comfort in your lifestyle. What’s the next level up from basic needs, for you? How do you feel, here? What are you able to afford, here? What’s included, and how much?

3. Ultimate. Imagine having enough income to live out the fullest expression of your desires. All your intentions are funded. What does this feel like, to you? Does this look like “lifestyles of the rich and famous”? Is it actually a surprisingly simple lifestyle? Does it mean anything more specific, like being able to buy a new bassoon or finally be totally debt-free? Take the time to clarify what this means for you.

Remember: don’t include numbers yet! Just write your own personal definitions for each of the three lifestyle tiers. We want to start by getting a deep sense of what each tier looks like — and feels like — for you.

You are the only one who can define these for yourself. Not your father, your partner, or your best friend. This is completely personal. No wrong answers, here!

Also, keep in mind: these tiers will evolve over the course of your life. For example, there have been years in my life where organic food was under my “Basic Needs Plan,” and other times when it moved into my “Comfortable Lifestyle Plan.”

So. No hard and fast rules here. You will trim down, increase, shift, and evolve all the time, over the course of your life, depending on your priorities at any given moment — and the context of the year you’re living.

Step Four: Bring in the Numbers

Now it’s time to take all the visioning and feeling-into-things you just did and start getting smart and practical about it. It’s time to bring in the numbers!

If this scares you, take a breath and savor the excitement. We’re marrying heaven and earth here. Spirit and numbers. Yin and yang. This is some truly beautiful work, my friends!

So. Take each of your 3 Lifestyle Tiers and apply numbers and totals to them. Use whatever format you like, here: pull out the old-fashioned pen and paper or create your own Excel spreadsheet. Do whatever feels good and supportive, for you.

1. Basic Needs Plan. List out and total up all of your monthly expenses. Don’t forget those big ticket and rainy day expenses that happen less frequently. (Insurance premiums, car maintenance, medical bills, etc.) Divide annual expenses by 12 to include in a monthly budget. Also include savings, debt repayment, and investments — if those fit into this tier, for you.

I’ve listed out some of the standard categories of expenses to get you started — but make sure to customize this to reflect your personal lifestyle, values, and spending habits. Add up the total expenses for your Basic Needs Lifestyle and calculate your average monthly expense.

2. Comfortable Lifestyle Plan. On a fresh sheet of paper, make a list of all the expenses in your Comfortable Lifestyle tier.

Remember: this will include everything from the Basic Needs tier, plus any additional expenses that come into play for you in Comfortable Lifestyle tier.

Refer back to the definitions you came up with a moment ago. Consider what additional expenses you’ll include here. Add up your total expenses for your Comfortable Lifestyle, and calculate your average monthly expense.

3. Ultimate Lifestyle Plan. Finally, on a third sheet of paper, list out all the expenses that fall into your Ultimate Lifestyle tier.

This will include everything you listed out from the Comfortable Lifestyle tier plus everything you’d add in to reflect your Ultimate Lifestyle. Again, refer to your freewriting about what the words Ultimate Lifestyle mean for you to help you discern what’s included here.

Once you’ve listed everything out, total up your expenses for the “Ultimate Lifestyle” tier and calculate your average monthly expense.

Step Five: Choices, Intentions, Clarity

Now you now have clear definitions of what each of these 3 Tiers feels like to you and everything that includes. Plus, you’ve created a list of expenses + dollar amounts for each one.

It’s time to make some choices. Set intentions. Get clarity.

But first: Pause. Breathe. Do a Body Check-In.

Already, this is a cause for celebration! You’ve just taken a huge step towards creating a more honest, aware, and conscious relationship with money. Looking squarely at your numbers in this way is so brave. Loving. Responsible. And rare!

Pat yourself on the back. Nibble a treat. Do a little dance. Celebrate this victory.

Right now, which of your 3 tiers are you in? And which one are you moving towards in the coming year?

Take a look at your current monthly income and compare it with the expense totals for each tier. Look those numbers squarely in the eye. Breathe. Be honest and gentle with yourself.

Which financial lifestyle is yours right now, in this moment? And which one is realistic to move into in the next year?

Once you land on the tier you’re going for this year, then you can input all of that data into the budgeting area of your bookkeeping tool of choice (Mint, Quicken, Quickbooks etc).

Remember, these choices emerge from inside of you. These are yours. Allow this exercise to bolster your confidence, clarity, and sense of empowerment.

And: none of this is set in stone. You will continue to make choices, throughout the year (and your life!). All of this is a reflection of your relationship with money. And it is flexible, dynamic, evolving.

So let this framework support you in creating more of the money relationship you want. Peaceful. Aligned. Informed. Mature (whatever that means to you).

Congratulate yourself for taking this time to love up your money relationship in this way.

You just did an annual money practice! And: you now have a framework you can rely on to check in with your finances on a regular basis.

Use it well. Review it often. Revisit and adjust every year or every month, if you like.

I hope the tools and invitations you’ve found here have opened some doors for you in your relationship with money. Did you find this easy? Surprising? Challenging? Hilarious? All of this is just perfect.

Creating your own end-of-year money practice is just one piece of the puzzle as you deepen your relationship with money. As you mature, grow with it, and become more conscious and honest and confident with it.

Wishing you a beautiful, loving, and successful New Year … however YOU define that!

P.S. The Art of Money 2022 opens for registration on Jan 5th.

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