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A Saner Way to End the Year

There are about two-and-a-half weeks left of 2017. That sentence will leave some people feeling hopeful and excited and some people feeling freaked the F out.

I find that the speed of life tends to increase as we head toward the end of the year, and I sometimes get this macro version of the Sunday night blues as December winds down. (Though I must say I dramatically decreased this by upping my Vitamin D levels!)

There are these anxious thoughts I start to get:

Did I make the most of my year?

Did I do all of the things I wanted to?

Did I make my life meaningful this year?

Did I grow enough this year?

Is my Christmas shopping even close to done? Have I even started yet?

Is this holiday season feeling special enough?

Did I spend enough time with all of the people who mean the most to me?

Am I going to wrap gifts this year with enough crafty ingenuity?

Is my house clean enough to start a fresh new year?

(Yep, that last one sneaks in there. Somehow I feel like when the clock strikes midnight on the first of the year, my desk should be paper-free and my clothes should be organized by color. Lord knows where this came from.)

If you’re like me and you get a little anxiety/bummer energy at the end of the year, read on because this one’s for you, my dear.

With my relatively new Do Less philosophy that I adopted about 18 months ago, I can’t help but look at everything through that lens.

And when I look at year-end blues and anxieties, they tend to be connected to my tendency (which I’m focusing on crowding out) to think that more is always better, and constant improvement in every area of life is the Holy Grail.

I start measuring myself against some vague ideal, and I start falling short. That’s how I know that I’m off track.

Here’s some truth for you:

  • We’ve had years in business where we made less money than the year before. And while at the time I felt ashamed of that because I’d been brainwashed to believe that only growth is good, I now honor that that’s totally normal and part of the cycle of business and creativity.
  • Sometimes I gain weight over the course of the year instead of losing it. I used to think I was an out-of-control slob, and now I realize that it’s total normal and healthy to fluctuate a little bit up and down, especially during the childbearing years.
  • I usually don’t do many of the things I set out to do at the beginning of a new year. I do some of them but never all. And that’s totally normal and healthy, too. It doesn’t make me a failure. It makes me human.

In two and a half weeks, you and I will be bombarded by messages about “New Year, New You” and how important it is to take the world by storm right at the beginning of the new year. We’ll be marketed all kinds of opportunities to improve and grow and get ourselves into shape and overhaul everything.

It’s seductive, this feeling of a clean slate. And I’m all about a fresh start, too.

But I also want to give us both permission to simply be ourselves as we move into this new year. You don’t need to make more money to be more valuable. You don’t have to do yoga every damn day to be worthy of taking up space on the planet. You don’t have to get better at anything next year in order to make your year worthwhile. You don’t have to set goals or strive for anything.

You’re good exactly as you are. In fact, you’re spectacular. 

Will I set intentions for the new year? Of course. I love doing it. It feels aspirational. It feels hopeful. It feels good. But this year, perhaps you’ll join me in dreaming from a place of fullness rather than emptiness. From a place of wholeness instead of from a place of being broken.

If we’re good with who we are now and not feeling like this is the year that we finally “fix ourselves,” I have this sneaking suspicion we’ll feel a lot more whole this time next year. And every day in between, too.

My house will not be perfectly clean and organized the morning of January 1, 2018.

I will not have spent all of 2017 exactly as I intended or created all of the things I hoped to create.

I will not have wrapped all of my Christmas gifts with crafty ingenuity. Most of them will be delivered in reused gift bags. (Fist bump to Mother Earth.)

But I will go to bed on New Year’s Eve well before midnight knowing that I was me all year long. On New Year’s Day I will wake up and I will still be me. And I will know that it’s more than enough.


How do you plan to make this holiday season sane and special? Tell me in the comments!

P.S. Our company is taking the last two weeks of December off. Because #DoLess. Because sanity. You’ll hear from us the first week of the year with a brand new Kate & Mike Show episode and a brand new blog! Happy Holidays!


  • Melissa

    This is EXACTLY what I needed to hear! Thank you!!! And merry Christmas! ❤️

  • Kathy

    Thank you
    Best of everything

  • Still love you and your wisdom. Perfect for my today. Thanks, woman!

  • I have definitely had that feeling that I didn’t do enough, or didn’t do it right this year and it’s a terrible feeling, but SO hard to let go of!
    Your post was very good timing. A much needed reminder to let go of the perfection piece and be human.

  • Hi Kate!

    I have been plugging into Origin more the past few days as I needed some grounding. As Origin grew to the size it is now, I retreated somewhat, and instead have been listening to the Kate and Mike show, and your live FB Q&A’s. I only briefly scan the Origin FB page. I love the community there too, so many wonderful women, but it does overwhelm me at times. :-)

    That said, what I know from plugging back in to the content itself, is that I get exactly what I need to feed my soul, to feel grounded, connected to you, and the beautiful community you have created, and to my inner wisdom. I am so grateful. I have also been tapping into Jenni’s forecasts. The one she wrote about Mercury Retrograde gave me a whole new way of embracing it instead of making it a big negative! Oh and I got my planner and am excited to begin using it.

    So for me, this year although super challenging in so many ways, was made sweeter, richer and better because of Origin.

    I am going to be catching up on the content over the next few weeks, and letting the end of this year be about nourishing my heart, mind, body and spirit. Life is a roller coaster, sometimes the ride is scary, and other times exhilarating! For now, I am embracing the slowing down time, the roller coaster will be there when I want to jump back on.

    Sending you and your family lots of love Kate. Congratulations on all that you have accomplished this year. You inspire me. Thanks for being you.

    Lynn (your Maine girl living in California)

    • Kate Northrup

      I’m so glad that you’re finding you get exactly what you need in Origin. That makes my heart sing. Blessings to you and yours this holiday season and it’s an honor to have been a part of your sweet year!

      • Thank you Kate for your sweet reply.
        This morning I am listening to your interview with Karen Brody. I too love Yoga Nidra practice. I am so grateful for all the outstanding people
        you interview and share with all of us. I am also a big fan of Richard Miller. – you may already be aware of Richard, but it not, I think his approach to Yoga Nidra would also resonate with you!

        Enjoy your break for the holidays. I love seeing all the beautiful photos online of the snowfall in Maine.

        Happy Holidays,
        Lynn xo

  • CJ Longenecker

    I love it! I’m definitely up for learning to dream from a place of fullness.
    Thank you Kate & Mike!

  • When logic is applied to the subject, it’s clear that choosing any arbitrary calendar day by which to have x,y and z goals accomplished and the house to magazine-photo-shoot perfect is ludicrous.

    That doesn’t mean that we ought to let it all go, but perhaps maintaining (first) perspective and (second) a consistent level of organization and cleanliness that only needs tweaking might help us to avoid the mad rush to squeeze “it all” in during the last two weeks of a calendar period.

    As for continuous “personal growth,” let’s keep in mind that any continuous growth in or bodies is a cancer. Perhaps a spiritual, emotional, psychological parallel applies here.

    As long as there is a gentle flow and not stagnation, that’s enough. Many of us seem to think we have to be top-tier performers and getting better in all areas all the time. It doesn’t work that way. Seasons ebb and flow on the planet and in our bodies and in our lives. A gentle acceptance and full presence is a much easier way to find serenity and joy without losing any vitality.

    Blessings of the season, however, you celebrate (or not) to all.

  • Jocelyne

    LOL thought you were going to comment on money worries. In fact this message shows a wonderful inner wisdom Kate and why I gravitated to your course. A holistic approach. I am with you on the Vitamin D! All the best of the season to you and your family.

  • I think what I love about you the most and all that you create and share is that you always give us permission to just be ourselves. Permission to be a woman (in the Origin program), permission to accept our money stuff (your money program and book) and through this fabulous blog post – permission to accept and be okay with whatever we do achieve or not, as the case may be.
    I love that it is totally okay that we don’t do everything we set out to or that we “don’t always do Yoga each day” and that it doesn’t make us less of a person.
    We don’t need validation from what we achieve or what we do. We are who we are and that in itself is just fine.
    Thank you for being such an inspiration and guiding light to finding peace with that.

    • Kate Northrup

      Oh thank you Melissa! I mostly write what I need to hear and then it turns out other people do too! I’m so glad this one connected with you!

  • Perfect timing as I sit feeling a bit blue today about my hopes and dreams of goals that did not come to pass this year. But next year is a brand new year which is exciting!


    P.S. I am doing winter clutter clearing, part of my winter nesting routine!

  • Maggie Heisey

    Thank you Kate, for reminding us all to give ourselves permission to just be (and to rest). Love to you and your family for a joyous Christmas! Maggie

  • Emily

    Love love love this post Kate. Your words always find me when I need them most! ❤️😊😘

  • Mary Quinn

    Beautifully, beautifully said! Thank you, Kate!

  • What a refreshing message at this time of year. As always, thank you, Kate, for your honesty and your continued empowerment of others. Merry Christmas and Happy 2018!

  • Tina

    I felt myself BREATHE and my hearts relaxed back into my chest with a resounding YES Queen. So much love to you and yours.
    Grateful for your presence here on Earth.

  • Christy Garrett

    Best blog about New Year’s ever! Exactly what we all need right now! Thank you thank you thank you Kate for your wise truth and inspiration!

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