two questions for the new year.

New Year in Tokyo

Welcome to 2013!

Hands down, my favorite quote to usher in a new year is this by one of my favorite poets, Rainer Maria Rilke:

“And now we welcome the new year,
full of things that have never been.”

How exciting! New slate, new sky, new moments to lean into.

2012 was a year. I created an online teaching business that help me stay true to my intention to travel less to help Tess. She was diagnosed with Asperger’s and John with cancer. We learned what true community and true giving and true receiving is. Emma turned 20, leaving her teenage years behind. We transitioned my mother to a nursing home and Tess from school to unschooling. There was a lot of pain and unknowing in 2012, and a lot of learning. It was a year of transition and of change.

2012, I loved you in all your complexity. I loved you for helping me re-prioritize, for helping me learn how to receive, for showing me how to walk into darkness and befriend it. I loved you for showing up to teach me things I deeply needed to know. I will look back on you with great admiration for all those lessons as time moves forward. With appreciation, I say goodbye to you.

I get a lot of questions about goal-setting for a new year. I don’t set goals; I only ask myself two questions at the beginning of a new year:

1. What do I want to let go of?

2. What do I want to create?

Note to self: The answers to question number 1 are sometimes even more important than the answers to question number 2.

I’d love to hear your answers to those questions as we embark on this whole new year, full of things that have never been. Leave your answers in the comments below–we have much to learn from one another in community. Let’s use this space to have a dialogue about things that matter to us.

Here are a few of my answers:

1. I want to let go of people who are toxic to me, whose energy depletes my own. I want to let go of belongings and clutter and weight, the things that weigh me down.

2. I want to create greater and calmer spaciousness in my life for writing and thinking and teaching and learning. I want to open space.

To help your own journey, if you’d like to receive a brief, meaningful inspiration everyday in 2013, sign up for my free “Daily Rock” emails.


P.S. If “letting go of fear and procrastination” in order to “write more” are your answers, my next VerbTribe starts on January 3rd, and can help you do that. If letting go of old stories about your body or about food in order to “become bendy” or “healthier” or “lighter” surface for you when answering those questions, Becoming Bendy begins on January 8th to help with that. I hope you will join me for one of these transformational journeys.

(image from Tokyo: “Shogatsu (or Japan’s New Year to you and me) can be a quiet and solemn affair, with thousands of Buddhists flocking to various temples and shrines to make an offering and hear the temple bells ring out 108 times around midnight.”)


  1. [...] So I follow a blog by a marvelous woman named Patti Digh.  Her post for today can be found here. [...]

  2. Celia Milton January 1, 2013

    Hello Patti; this is one of my favorite quotes for my winter weddings, and coincidentally enough, I posted this AND a link to your book, ‘Four Word Self Help” to two of my facebook groups this morning. (The quote from you? “Do Work That Matters”.) Thank you so much and big warm wishes for a happy new year!

  3. Michelle Haseltine January 1, 2013

    Here are my responses from my notebook.

  4. Joy Christin Detor Holland January 1, 2013

    What a beautiful message…thank you! I wish to let go of all that no longer fits in all realms as I celebrate the feel of spaciousness….room to stretch, grow, experiment, “just be”….And, I wish to be love in thought, creation, and connection, so to release anything not in resonance with love. Happy New Year!

  5. Carol Hess January 1, 2013

    1. I want to let go of “I’m not good enough” thinking; my tune-out behaviors (computer games, watching tv); the things, food, people, activities, beliefs, thoughts that distract and weigh me down.

    2. I want to create the self-love, structure, good health, and financial stability that are the foundation that allows me to do my best work.

  6. Carolynn Anctil January 1, 2013

    I want to let go of the fear that has been keeping me small and have chosen the word Courage as my Annual Word in 2013. It’s my hope that it will serve as the impetus I need to keep me moving forward and slaying those dragons.

    I want to create those things that are fully formed in my head, to bring them to life and share them with a world that’s eagerly waiting to receive them.

  7. Penny Simms January 1, 2013

    1. I want to let go of the fear of just being who I am. And of all self doubt and the lies I tell myself about not being smart enough or strong enough to seek, find and then ask for what I need to make my light shine it’s brightest.

    2. I want to create an ability to find the sunshine in my soul…. I want my heart to sing out loud and no longer be weighed down by regret or self doubt. I guess I just want to create “Me”. :)

  8. [...] Digh offered Two Questions for the New Year, another practice you might still consider if you are short on time, but big on [...]

  9. linda giese January 1, 2013

    my letting go of mirrors most of yours…belongings and clutter and weight.

    I want to continue to create…as I do almost every day…but I want to create the courage, non-judgement and joy of art in anyone and everyone who wants to play art with me.

  10. Currie Silver January 2, 2013

    These are some of my responses. Wondrous questions!!

    1. What do I want to let go of?

    I want to Let Go of BElieving that I NEED more of anything. That I must gather in supplies. BE
    prepared so as NEVER EVER to have to DO without. That I NEED something faster, bigger, newer, or better than what I HAVE that does me quite well.
    I HAVE Enough. I AM Enough. I DO Enough.

    I want to Let Go of BElieving the bad things I think people think of me. The hurtful things. The exclusionary things. Those are stories in my head that I have told so many times I Now BElieve they are gospel.
    I don’t need others to approve of, agree with, or even understand ME. I need ME to approve of, agree with, and understand ME.

    2. What do I want to create?

    I want to create space in my Spirit to learn, listen, consider, wonder, and discover.
    I want to create connections that matter to ME, even if I feel scared I won’t BE wanted.
    I want to create my Creative Practise as a living thing that has BEginnings and Endings.
    I want to create a Life that is within my means and means that are sufficient for my Simple Life.
    I want to create art and writing and teaching that Makes A Difference, that lets ME BE generous.

  11. Davielle Huffman January 2, 2013

    Like you, Patti, I want to let go of people (and situations) who/that are “toxic to me, whose energy depletes my own”. I want to let go of belongings and clutter and any old habits that weigh me down.

    2. I want to create peace & good health & room in my life … blogging again, for reading more, so that I have time and energy to be with my family, especially the grandkids … and I want to create some ART in 2013. I want to create a warmer, friendlier environment in our home for my husband and me to feel at peace in – with ourselves & with each other.

  12. Gina Champagne January 2, 2013

    Really good questions.
    What do I want to let go of?

    I want to let go of my need to be in control of every aspect of not only my life but also the lives of those around me.

    I want to let go of the feeling of inadequacy I get whenever I am around my mother.
    I want to let go of the constant worry of trusting others.

    What do I want to create?

    I want to create a more enlightened self. I want to create a me that others want to be around. I want to create a more organized person so I can have space and time to spend with my family.

    I joined this community late, but a very dear friend of mine has already done this journey, and she was so positive about the journey itself, that I wanted to try it too. So here I am.

  13. kelsi January 5, 2013

    I let go of fear.
    I create love by loving

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