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We’re so close to wrapping up this decade, people! I’ve always felt energetic around the end of the year because I get so excited for what the next year holds.

Why I like to really pause and savor the year’s achievements, why I celebrate my mistakes and failures, and what it means to celebrate yourself ahead of time.That said, I still used to end a lot of years feeling disappointed or frustrated by all the things I didn’t do, the regrets I had, and the ways the year didn’t turn out the way I’d planned.

But I’ve shifted my perspective a lot with time and practice, and now I find the dawn of a new year as energetic and hopeful as ever. One of the biggest practices that’s helped me make this shift is a favorite you’ll be familiar with: celebration!

In this episode I want to share the three celebrations I do at the end of every year. These little ceremonies help me reflect on the year that’s passed – both on the highs and the lows – and prepare myself for the beautiful and successful year ahead.

You’ll hear why I like to really pause and savor the year’s achievements, why I celebrate my mistakes and failures, and what it means to celebrate yourself ahead of time.

Thank you all so much for being a part of one of French Kiss Life’s best years yet. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate every one of you.

To celebrate the holiday season, I put together a list of wonderful things I thought our community might love to receive this year. Check out the French Kiss Life Holiday Gift Guide!


What You Will Discover:

  • Why life gets a lot more fun when we stop resisting its ups and downs and decide to embrace every bit of it.
  • How I’ve changed my approach to the new year and started celebrating much more.
  • Why it’s so importance to pause and appreciate all of your achievements in the past year.
  • How reflecting on your failures, mistakes, and regrets can help you go into the new year with a sense of curiosity, calm, and hope.
  • What I’ve learned from celebrating before things happen, and why I want you to give it a try too

Featured on the Show:

Episode Transcript:

Unfortunately, a lot of people will end the year in disappointment, thinking about the things that didn't go the way they had wanted, the goals they didn't reach, or looking at everything that they think went wrong. But I'm going to encourage us to do something completely different. And that is, to end the year in celebration. Because when you celebrate life, life truly does celebrate you back.

Bonjour, and welcome to the French Kiss Life podcast, where personal development meets style. I'm Tonya Leigh, Certified Master Life Coach and the hostess of this party, where we explore how to live artfully and well. Each week, I'll be sharing inspiring stories, practical tips, and timeless wisdom on how to elevate the quality of your everyday, and celebrate along the way. Let's dive into today's episode.

Merry Christmas, my friends. Happy Holidays. Yes, I'm releasing this episode on Christmas morning. And hey, listen, if you happen to be listening to it on Christmas Day, I just want to tell you, it's such an honor to spend the day with you. And if you're not, I totally understand as well. Whatever you choose to do today, I just hope that you're soaking up the spirit of the holiday season.

So, what a crazy week it's been in my house. So, first of all, both of my computers decided to die on Monday, the day when I had some pretty tight deadlines. And, really interesting, I was on my phone in Google Docs, typing up what I needed to get to my team. It was such a fun day.

And then, on top of that, I just got a new puppy. Oh my goodness, he's so adorable. His name is Max. And he's an English golden retriever, just like my Winston. And let me tell you, he wants no part of me working. I thought I was going to outsmart this dog and go outside and just play until he couldn't play anymore. And I swear, this dog gets more energy, the more he plays.

And so I came in to record my podcast and he was going to have nothing to do with that. He was like, nope, we need to play. So I've put him in puppy time out. And I don't know how long that's going to last. So, chances are, you're going to hear a little puppy barking pretty soon. But we'll see.

But I remember moments like this would use to always just get me in a tizzy, as my grandmother would say. And I've come to realize that when you embrace all of life, life becomes ridiculously fun. Like, when I think to Monday when all of my computers decided to die, I just said, "Okay, now what? We're going to figure this out."

And one of the things that I've seen time and time again in my life, and my clients lives, is that there's this resistance when things aren't going the way we, quote-unquote, think they should go. And it's that resistance that causes us so much suffering. But when I think about joie de vivre, it's the joy of living. And living isn't about things going perfect all of the time.

Like, I know, we think we want that. But I want you to imagine how bored we would be, if everything just always worked out the way we thought it should. And everyone behaved the way we wanted them to. And we never had any challenge, and there were no struggles, and life was just rainbows and daisies and unicorns and little puppies. We would be bored out of our minds. Or at least I would.

To me, the joy of living is about embracing all of it. And part of life is crazy days, like when your computers break, both of them, on the same day. It's puppies barking the moment that you want to sit down and record a podcast. It's realizing, like I did this week as well, that I'd left a tube of lipstick in my pocket and my entire load of laundry had red stains on it. Like, this is all a part of living.

And something beautiful really does happen when we just learn to embrace all of it. The sadness, the disappointment, the frustration, as well as the joy, and the elation, and the happy moments. It's all a part of life, my friends. So, that is not what the podcast is about today, but let's just consider this a little Christmas present, from me to you.

So, let's move into the community spotlight. This is the part of the show where I get to highlight someone in the community who has benefited from the French Kiss Lifestyle. And I have to tell you all something. I have been missing all of the reviews from ladies who are outside of the US. Only US reviews were showing up on my iTunes. And then my team discovered that there are all of these other reviews, from incredible women from around the world. And when I found that out, I realized I needed to highlight one of you.

So, today's community spotlight is on Dolly Is My Dog, from Australia. By the way, I love that name. Anyway, she left me a five-star review on iTunes that is titled, "Style with Stoicism. I found your podcast through a recommendation by someone in my Facebook feed. I absolutely love your gentle and kind view of the world. Your podcast has the core theme of remembering to be kind to ourselves. I enjoy your witty observations of the challenges of your own mind, and the challenges of your own life. You clearly put a lot of thought into your podcast and offer excellent exercises to challenge unhelpful thinking. You challenge the listener to raise their own personal standards. Thank you, Tonya."

Well, thank you, Dolly is My Dog. And hey, if you have not left me a review, what in the sweet heavens? Please head over to iTunes or Stitcher and let me know how this podcast is supporting you in living artfully and well.

Let's talk about how to end not only this year, but this decade in style. Now, I don't know if you can relate to this, but I used to start the New Year with so much excitement, so many goals. Unfortunately, usually it was weight loss being my main one. But, I would be determined that this was going to be the year that I was going to finally reach my goals.

And then fast forward to the next year. I was disappointed. I was frustrated. I was like, "What is wrong with me?" And that was often the cycle that I would start the New Year with. And I realized, what craziness. In every moment of our lives, we can be focused on what we think we're doing terribly. We can be focused on what went wrong. We can focus on all the bad things that happened.

But I want you all to understand that you can equally find things to celebrate. Find things to focus on that feels good. And I want us to enter into 2020 with an energy of celebration. Because again, when you celebrate life, I promise you, life will start to celebrate you back.

So, in Episode 57 of the French Kiss Life podcast, I talk about the two questions I asked every New Year's Eve. It's a tradition that I've been doing for many years. And it's such a fun way to end the year and to kick off the new one. But I've added another question to the mix. And so on this podcast, I'm going to go over those two questions, plus the one that I've added to the mix, that really helps me to look upon my year and glean the gifts. As well as well as pre-pave for the coming year and what it is that I want to create.

So, this entire process is all geared towards helping me get into a good feeling state. Because I've said it many times on the podcast, but the reason why you want anything is because of the feeling that you think having that thing will give you. And the more you can practice getting into that feeling state, the more likely you are going to be to attract it and to show up in such a way to create that result that you want for yourself.

So, the way that I go about this exercise is I journal it. And then also, on New Year's Eve, I gather with my closest friends and we go through this tradition together. It's so fun. And of course, I love to get dressed up. Shocking, I know. But it's just so much fun to be in the spirit of wrapping up a year and then stepping into a new one.

And so for you, maybe grab your journal and go through these three celebrations, and then on New Year's Eve, if you want to get some friends together and do it with them as well. Again, it will just change the energy. It will set you up to step into 2020 with clarity and excitement for what is to come.

So, the first celebration that I want you to think about is, what do you want to celebrate from this year? This is so important, because typically, most people are in such a hurry. We're in a hurry to get to the next goal, the next place, the next thing, the next year, that we don't just stop and take it all in. And really celebrate the moments that have shaped us. Celebrate what we've accomplished. Celebrate all that's gone really well in our lives.

And unfortunately, this happens because we think that our joy and our happiness is in that next moment, and so we're always chasing it. But what if you just stopped and celebrated your lives in this moment? Think about how good that would feel.

And I've also seen women, especially, just discount all of their accomplishments. They don't want to talk about it. They think they're bragging and they're boastful. And I want you to know, you've worked hard. You've created results in your lives. You've done incredible things this year. Even if you didn't hit all of your goals, so what?

You get to decide what you make that mean, number one. I would just make it mean that you're a work in progress and you're always going to have goals. And you may or may not always hit them, but it doesn't matter. What matters is how you feel. And it doesn't feel good to rush through life and never just stop and take it all in.

So, I promise you, I've already started my list for my celebrations of this year, and honestly, you all, I'm just blown away. So much goodness this year. And it would break my heart if I didn't stop and just take it in. And thank God and the universe and all of the people and life itself for this incredible, incredible year.

And so, please promise me, on New Year's Eve, you will just take a pause and look back over 2019 and glean the gifts, glean all that went well and right. Your accomplishments, the beautiful memories, all of the goodness that you created and that this year offered you.

Okay, the second celebration is the new one that I've added to the mix, and it's actually so much fun. When you hear me say this, you're going to be like, "What? That's fun?" But it really, really is. I want you to celebrate your regrets and your mistakes from this year.

There's a great passage by Neil Gaiman that says, "I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes, try new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before and more importantly, you're doing something." So that's my wish for you and all of us, and my wish for myself.

Make new mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze. Don't stop. Don't worry that it isn't good enough or it isn't perfect. Whatever it is, art or love or work or family or life, whatever it is you're scared of doing, do it. Make your mistakes next year, and forever. Amen, Hallelujah, Mr. Gaiman. This is amazing. I love it.

But we're so afraid of making mistakes. And I want you to see mistakes as something to celebrate. It means you're going for it. It means you're living life out loud. It means that you are trying new things, you're learning and you're growing. And this year, for me, has been full of mistakes, and I am celebrating every single one of them.

Just this morning, I was writing down my mistakes and my regrets from this year, and I realized that I am more proud of the failures and the mistakes, than I am my successes. Because I know the courage that it took me to actually go out there and try something and fail at it, and still get back up. And know that, that is part of the process of creating.

And I know how this holds so many of you back. You're afraid to fail, you're afraid to make mistakes. But what if you looked at them as something to celebrate? As something to be actually really proud of? Mistakes and failures are how you learn.

I always think about little babies, when they're learning to walk. They fall down so many times, and they keep getting back up. Because I feel like, intuitively, they know, that's how they're going to learn. That's how they're going to learn to walk, and their desire to walk is so great, they just keep getting up, and they fall. And they get up, and they fall again. And they keep doing it until one day, they're walking. And they're like, "Oh, I'm a walker now."

And that's what it's like to create what it is that you want. But a lot of you are so afraid to fail. You're so afraid to make a mistake that you hold yourself back. You don't do what is required to create what it is that you want. And then, let's say you go out there and you try something, and it doesn't work.

A lot of you beat yourself up over it, and you start to run these terrible stories about how you're not good enough. You don't have what it takes, that you're never going to be able to reach your goals and to create your dreams. And that is all such BS.

One of my favorite stories is by Sara Blakely who's the founder of Spanx, which happens to be a billion-dollar company, plus, plus. And she talks about when she was growing up, that her dad, in the evenings, when they were having dinner, would ask them, "What did you fail at today?" He didn't ask them, "What did you succeed at?" He was like, "What did you fail at today?" Because he wanted his kids to be so comfortable with failure, because he knew that failure is the process to get to success.

At the beginning of 2019, I chose CEO as my word of the year, and oh, boy. What a year it's been, full of so many mistakes. One of them is I made a hiring mistake. And, I could have easily beat myself up over it. I could have easily told myself the story of, "You're not good at hiring people." But I didn't do any of that. I'm like, "Yes, look at you. You hired someone and it didn't work out." This is how you learn. This is how you grow. This is how you get better at hiring. And so I'm celebrating it, all of it.

But the other part of this is that I want us to look at our regrets. So I will tell you, when it comes to regrets, I've been in two different camps. I used to spend my life just indulging in the misery of regrets. You all know what this is like. It's "Oh, I wish it could be different. I wish I would have done things differently. If I could only go back and change it." And I would just live in this toxic state of just arguing with my past. And that is no fun.

But then, I discovered the world of personal development. And whoa, did my pendulum swing in the opposite direction. Because I was hearing things like, "Live a regret-free life. Live life with no regrets." And I translated that into, just ignore. Just keep moving forward, whatever you do, don't look back. And that's not healthy either.

Now, I am a future-focused person, but I think the past can teach us a lot, and it's all and how you translate it. And so, I think it's really healthy for us to take inventory of what regrets do we have? But don't indulge in them. Just look at them and ask yourself, "What did those regrets teach me? How can I use what I learned from that, in the future, to create better results for myself?

So when I was thinking about my regrets from this year, I only had a few, which is a miracle, because I used to have so, so many. But that's just a testament to the work that I practice every single day. But, the few taught me so, so much. And one of them seems so frivolous, but because I just experienced so much regret over it, I really had to just stop and look at like, "What is this teaching me?"

One of my regrets was actually a purchase. I bought this handbag, that as soon as I bought it, I started to feel regret. And typically, I feel really good about my purchases. But when I looked at, what did that teach me? I realized that, number one, don't be in a hurry to buy something.

And I also realized that I was spending money out of alignment. Meaning that I felt rushed, I felt like I needed to have a purse to go with this dress I had. It was just, it felt yucky. And I learned from it, and I'm celebrating. It was an amazing purchase because of what I learned because of it. I'm not beating myself up over it. It's good to know. It's like "Noted, universe. Thank you for teaching me that."

Another regret I have is hanging on to someone in my life, when my intuition for a long time was saying, "You need to let this person go." And I finally let this person go. And oh my God, like, everything just blew up in the most glorious ways afterwards. But I'm not beating myself up. I'm realizing it happened perfectly. And, that regret is teaching me, "Listen to your intuition, Tonya. She is there to guide you. She knows what is happening. So, trust her."

And so, I'm so grateful for that. Even though the lesson came from regret, it's something that I am going to be celebrating. And I want you to join me. I want you to make this a practice. Because when you're not afraid to make mistakes or to fail, or to have regrets, I want you to imagine what you'll go out there and try and do, and all that you're going to learn in the process.

It's not something to be ashamed of. It's not something to avoid. It's not something to start writing a negative story about in your head. Use it for you. Use it as fuel to create what it is that you want to create. Celebrate those mistakes. Celebrate the failures. Celebrate the regrets.

So, let's talk about the final celebration, to wrap up your year in style. This is my favorite, so fun. I want you to celebrate ahead of time. So, the way this works is, I want you to fast-forward to a year in the future. I want you to pretend it's December 31, 2020. And I want you to celebrate as if it's already happened. I want you to think about what it is that you want to create this year.

And I want you to go to the place of it already being done. And I want you to celebrate as if it's already happened. And I want you to get into the energy of it. I want you to think about, who have I become? What did I have to do differently this year? What did I have to let go of? What did I have to become no longer available for? And I want you to feel so proud of yourself for already having created it.

I will tell you, I've been doing this practice for many years now. And it's crazy what happens when you get into the energy of it already been done. Because, inevitably, as you're creating it, you can keep going to that future and reminding yourself, "It's already done."

So when something happens that you didn't plan, and then you go to that place of it already been done, you don't make it mean a big deal. You're like, "Oh, of course. I'm still going to create it. It's already happened. This is just a little bump in the road. It's not something to be all dramatic about." And you just keep showing up for your dream.

I was coaching a woman recently who, she is really committed to losing weight. And we did this exercise of her going into the future, and it's already done. And she was just describing how she's changed and how her life is different, and who she had to become in order to create the weight loss.

And then, a couple of weeks later, she had a setback. And I said, "But let's go to the place that you were in a couple of weeks ago, of it already being done. What do you make this moment mean? And she was like, "Oh, it's like no big deal. It's just part of the process." And because she was able to access that future her, one year from now, that's already lost the weight she didn't make it mean anything negative. She just realized, "Oh, this is a mistake I get to celebrate. It's part of me losing weight."

I tell my clients all of the time, weight loss is going to have many, many failures. But if you start telling yourself things like, "Oh my God, I've fallen off the wagon. This isn't going to work for me." Right? All the things that I used to say, then you're going to give up on yourself.

But when you practice celebrating ahead of time, a couple of incredible things happen. Number one, you get into the energy of the end. You start at the end. And as you embody that energy of what it is you think that thing will give you, you start to show up different, and you become a magnet for what it is that you want.

And the other beautiful thing that happens is that, when you get into the celebrating ahead of time energy, and you come across a challenge, or an obstacle, or you have a setback, you don't make it mean anything other than, "Oh, this is part of the process." And you keep showing up for what it is that you want.

Now, when I first started this practice many years ago, I would keep it to three main celebrations, because I knew that I needed to learn the skill of focus and commitment and showing up for that. But as I've done this over and over for many years now, I've grown my list of what I'll be celebrating.

And last year, I had a pretty intense celebration list. And I got into the energy of it already being done. And I spoke as if it was already being done. It wasn't, "Next year, this time I'll be celebrating." It was like, "I'm celebrating." And I listed all of the things that I intended to create and experience this year.

Now, fast forward to almost the end of 2019. I have created all of those results for myself. And I had to keep getting into that energy throughout the year. I had to keep reminding myself of what my celebrations were. And again, I had many obstacles and many challenges. But when I got into the state of it already being done, I realized, "Oh, yeah, of course this happened. It's here to teach me and grow me." And I just kept going.

That is the beauty of celebrating ahead of time, my friends. So, to wrap up this episode with the three celebrations, to wrap up your year in style, I want you to celebrate this past year. All the beautiful memories, all of your accomplishments, the people that came into your life, the lessons learned.

I want you to celebrate your mistakes, your failures and your regrets. Because it tells me you're living. It tells me you're trying. It tells me that you are growing. And it's not something to be ashamed of, but something to be super, super proud of, something to celebrate.

And then, I want you to go into the future, one year from now, and what will you be celebrating? And I want you to celebrate as if it's already happened. So, with that said, my friends I am raising my flute to you and celebrating a beautiful year together, and excited about what we are going to create in 2020.

If you enjoyed this episode and you want to dive even deeper into the French Kiss Lifestyle, let’s start with a makeover; a mindset makeover. You can download my free training, The 3 Mindset Makeovers Every Woman Needs, by visiting – because after all, mindset is the new black.

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