Ring out the Old… Ring in the New


Angmering-on-Sea post box and snowChristmas 2010

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new –
Ring happy bells, across the snow;
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring Out Wild Bells      Alfred, Lord Tennyson

I love Tennyson’s poem, and Mozart’s music for this New Year’s hymn.

It’s not just the rhythm in the words that speak to me (that’s the voice coach in me), it’s also the content and sentiment conveyed particularly in these first two verses.

This is the time of year when we start thinking about our New Year resolutions. Hopefully some will shortly be instigated and perhaps even one or two of them might even become habits; the remainder falling by the wayside, casualties of the busy lives we all seem to lead these days.

However, I shall be doing a different exercise this year and invite you to do the same. In Tennyson’s words ‘ring out the old, ring in the new’. This isn’t the first time I’ve done so, and it may not be yours either, but it’s been a few years since I’ve done it for the entire year.

This exercise is sometimes referred to, in coaching circles at least, as ‘completion’. To avoid the use of jargon, let’s call it an acknowledgement exercise: of what we’ve accomplished over the past year; what we’ve promised ourselves or others we’d do and haven’t done; what we did over and above what we promised or didn’t promise even.

The reason I think this is important is because I believe we all have a tendency to look at what we didn’t do or haven’t accomplished, and to do so in snapshot format. This is a chance to paint the whole picture; our perception of all we did and didn’t do in 2010 and, continuing the analogy, start with a blank canvas for 2011.

Whilst I’m at it, one of my New Year’s resolutions is going to be ‘ring out the false, ring in the true’.

We could even do it in pairs, so that we can share in each others’ accomplishments, disappointments, joys and sorrows.

Anyone care to join me?

Next week, I’ll share at least some of my outcomes of the exercise, and would love to hear from any of you who are happy to go public:-)

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year.