When Ibi shared her New Year’s Eve tradition with me, I was like…this is genius. How have I never done this? I need to do this! Whatever I can do to be out with the old and focusing on better things in the year to come sounds good to me. I’m sure I’m not alone, so I asked her to write it out for all of you. I think you’ll find it healing. Cathartic. And poetic too. Just do it safely! And here’s to a much better, happier, safer, and more moisturized 2023, friends. – Liz
If you’re anything like me, you find New Year’s Resolutions tiring, cumbersome, and oddly demanding. Like, why are you all up in my future business? You don’t even know future me. Why are you trying to tell future me what to future do? Leave me the future alone!
I got tired of setting said resolutions, which I promptly forget after two days anyway, then being forced to remember them around April. Then, promptly forgetting them again.
Back at the end of 2016 (GO FIGURE), after a little Moscato (again, go figure), I came up with my new, favorite New Year’s tradition: Making a Burn List.
It’s exactly what it sounds like: You make a list. Then you burn it.
Want to join me?
How to make your very own burn list.
Updated for 2023
1. A few days before New Year’s Eve, I’m reminded that I gotta start thinking about my burn list. I proceed to “remind” myself to write certain things on said list, before forgetting about said list. (Clearly, list-remembering is not my thing.)
2. At approximately 11:23 on New Years Eve, I remember I have to do The List. I frantically run around my home looking for the PERFECT paper to write the list.
(Note that you may be doing this on January 3, or February 10. That works too.)
3. Around 11:46, I settle on some paper from a notebook I found that hasn’t been used since undergrad. (See, you don’t have to be all fussy or Pinterest-y about it.) I trace the numbers of the new year in big bubble letters. I mess up one of the numbers so I throw that one away and start over.
When I’m finally satisfied with what I’ve drawn, I cut out each number (or you can just do it all a single page, whatever works for you), then I proceed to write on them. Important: Do this with a beverage of your choosing.
4. On the back side of each number, I write the things I didn’t like about the last year or that I don’t want to see in the new year.
Yes, I know this may be a long process, especially considering the last year. So here’s my tip: get petty. Being petty keeps you from being bitter. If you feel like writing, So-and-so and their crusty elbows, write it. If you want to write, Name Of Person’s bad cooking, do it.
Of course, you’ll want to write some serious things, but make sure to write some things that make you chuckle.
5. On the front side of each number, I write the things I want to do/see/happen/manifest in the new year.
Last year, I wrote More cats. And today, thanks to Facebook groups like “This Cat is CHONKY” and “This Cat is GROMPY,” cats are all over my life! The Universe — and my burn list — made it happen.
I also wrote Win the lottery.
Reader, let me tell you, I did not win the lottery.
But I did win a bunch of other stuff this year. I got a free drink and sandwich from Starbucks and that very same day, I won a gift card to a local restaurant. Then another place randomly gave me a free smoothie. That’s basically the lottery as far as I’m concerned, so I’m chalking that one up as a win.
I wrote Moisturize more. Y’all, I’m so moisturized this year, I look like a glazed donut, so I’m chalking that one up as a win.
Spend more time at home…yeah…*gestures at everything*.
Of course, you may want to write some more serious things on your big numbers. Like Be more kind to myself is a hard one for a lot of people, but even a simple reminder is a good start.
6. Now you’re going to set it all on fire. This is obviously the part that’s the most fun. At 11:58, still sipping on a beverage, I either do it in a pot right over the stove, or weather and safety permitting, outside on the porch. You can use a grill, or a fire pit, or whatever you’ve got. So as folks are counting down to midnight, grab your lighter, light the corner of each number, one at a time, and drop it in.
(It’s only a few little pieces of paper, so it’s not like you’ll have a bonfire in your kitchen.)
7. Now set it on fire again. If it’s not all burnt? Just pick up those little chunks of paper and burn them again. Use some tongs instead of your thumbs so you can get every bit without burning your thumbs. (Ask me why I know this.) You want to get rid of those thoughts and send them out into the universe.
8. Stir. Scatter said ashes to the wind. Finish your beverage and go upstairs to bed. Your new year is ready to start.