Everyone who follows me knows the significant impact Zentangle has had on my life. I want to share with you my year-end routines that help me be more intentional in my daily decision-making and let you know how it ties into my Zentangle practice.

Mindfulness is just one of the benefits that Zentangle brings to my daily life. While it may seem that this is solely related to the feelings cultivated during the drawing practice, these positive effects extend far beyond creativity, at least in my experience. The advantages of the Zentangle method permeate my entire life.

Zentangle and Mindfulness: Being Intentional

I’ve previously emphasized the importance of setting intentions in a blog post about my participation in Inktober. This marked my third consecutive year completing the entire Inktober challenge, not only by drawing daily but also by sharing my progress through daily videos. You can find all these videos (3×31) in dedicated playlists on my YouTube channel. Challenging myself, committing to the daily practice, and completing the challenge in 2021 were game-changers for me. They allowed me to see myself as someone who is consistent and gets the job done. Before that, I had labeled myself with the ‘quitter’ tag.

Intentional Zentangle drawing

That was the spark that made me believe I could be consistent in other aspects of my life. I began introducing changes. While not directly linked to Zentangle and drawing, they did impact my well-being and, ultimately, my creativity as well. I’ve been consistently exercising for over two years, ever since completing the Inktober challenge in 2021. At the beginning of this year, I committed to be more mindful about my art supplies. And I stayed true to that commitment! In 2022, I acquired numerous art supplies, not all of them related to Zentangle, and many of them I’ve yet to use.

This realization prompted me to start asking crucial questions before welcoming new supplies into my life:

  • Do I really need them?
  • Will they bring joy?
  • Will they benefit my life?

Year-end routines

For several years, I’ve maintained a helpful year-end routine. As the year-end approaches, I find myself contemplating what truly matters, what I need more of in my life, and whether there’s an excess that might feel suffocating. My process begins with reflecting on the events of the current year, considering both the positive moments and the adversities. Being a visual person, I prefer using a simple mind-mapping format, creating separate maps for my private and work life. Each aspect is then broken down into several crucial sections. While I’ve included a photo from my notebook below, I’ve blurred certain entries, recognizing that what’s significant to me might not be the focus for everyone. It is intended as a flexible idea that you can adopt and tailor to your unique needs and priorities. 

Year-end mindfulness routines Zen Linea

Next, I delve into goal-setting for the upcoming year, maintaining the private vs. work principle.

This routine makes reflecting on the past year more straightforward, as I can easily start it from the goals that I set a year ago. I prefer to keep this visual representation simple. If I feel the need for more introspection, I journal separately on dedicated pages.

Ready for 2024

While I haven’t yet finished this year-end process, I’ve already identified my top priorities for the upcoming year. Perhaps you have already read my blog post about what 2024 will bring professionally, surpassing my wildest dreams. That is why my focus shifts more to setting intentions for my personal life. Starting in November, I began intensifying my fitness routine—a notable endeavor as I approach 50. 😀 Content with my current efforts for physical well-being, I plan to sustain and enhance these practices, incorporating mindfulness into daily decisions regarding self-care, movement, and nutrition.

Additionally, I aspire to extend my mindfulness from purchasing art supplies to encompass all acquisitions, including clothes, books, and other items. The sheer volume of possessions started to feel overwhelming. That is why I also want to minimize what I already own. Guided by three key questions—what do I need, what brings joy, and what truly benefits my life—I’ll implement this approach into my daily routine.

Changes take time. What initially seems like a small shift can lead to others, creating a snowball effect. Often, we only realize the magnitude as we reflect years later. I’ve come to understand the importance of allowing myself the time to incorporate these changes into my life, one step at a time. Just like creating a drawing—one stroke at a time. Now, I firmly believe that everything is possible.

December, 2023

Written by Anica Gabrovec CZT

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