Is it new year new you or have your New Year’s Resolutions fallen by the wayside already?
As I’m more of a reflector than someone who sets New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve taken the opportunity to think about the last 12 months and understand what I’ve learnt so that I can continue to build upon those points in the months ahead. Flicking through my journals, I see that I’ve written a lot about being brave, having courage, showing vulnerability and managing my fear. That might be something to do with all the Brene Brown podcasts I’ve listened to throughout the year!! However, I do feel that we’ve all had to navigate our lives during this period by having trust in ourselves that we can cope outside out of our comfort zones and as Susan Jeffers once said ‘feel the fear and do it anyway!’ We’ve also had to reach out to others and create social connections in a way we wouldn’t have dreamt of doing twelve months ago. And that can only be a good thing.
As I sit here, I feel eternally grateful that I am still in business to tell the tale! The challenges have come in huge waves and the learning has been humungous too! I thought it might be useful to share some of it …. These are in no particular order:
If we listen to the stories we tell ourselves we’d never get started. When we’re anxious our mind will look for all the reasons why we shouldn’t get started or try something new. Break it down into small bitesize steps and get going. It’s never as bad as you thought!
Doing things differently is exhausting. It took me a while to realise why I was so tired. I was doing a lot of learning and so I was consciously aware of everything I was doing. Nothing was done on automatic pilot, so the thought processes were wearing me out! And that leads onto my next point.
Rest needs to come in more formats than sleep. Sleep didn’t rejuvenate me as my mind was always ‘on’, so I had to find ways to turn it off, or at least quieten it. I’m not a meditator but I do find ironing or shredding helps me just be in that moment as does a jigsaw or baking. And a great thing about having an office in the garden is that I’m able to watch the wildlife; an amazing distraction! What have you added to your ‘relax’ repertoire?
Boundaries are good. Everything has its limit whether it’s work, screen or people. The key is to make sure they don’t encroach too often on the time you’ve put aside for yourself. I’ve mentioned it before that my phone has an earlier bedtime than me and a later getting up time. It really does work for me. And if that’s a step too far for you, why not try putting your phone on grey scale from about 8pm to 8am. I guarantee you won’t want to look at it as much!
My daily walks allow me to catch up with friends, podcasts and my environment dependent on how I’m feeling each day. And just being out in the fresh air every morning makes such a difference to my outlook.
Comparisons create unhappiness and self-doubt. When we use other people’s content as a reference point for our own success it makes us unhappy and gets us worrying that we’re not enough. And we really are good enough, we’re all amazing! Try taking a break from social media. For me it was as simple as taking my Facebook account off my phone and so I no longer check it.
Judgement punishes! I wonder if lockdown has created more judgement as it feels as if there has been much more flying around. Earl Nightingale said ‘when we judge others we don’t define them, but define ourselves’. Patience and curiosity have become my go to friends when judgement raises its head. I find counting to ten works for me. And there’s scientific evidence that shows the delay in reacting means that we’re more objective in our responses by the time we reach 5 or 6!
Learning new things isn’t as hard as you think. If you’d have told me that I would be doing the majority of my work online a year ago, I’d have laughed at you. Just keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and it will continue to grow. As James Clear says, ‘all big things come from small beginnings. The seed of every habit is a single tiny decision’.
Kindness starts with you. There’s been a lot about self help throughout the year and as well as about nourishing ourselves. I love looking after others, I’m a feeder of mind and body through my work and my hobbies. However, during the last twelve months, I’ve really learned to listen to my own needs and be kinder to myself. My go to question when my negative self-talk starts to get louder is ‘Would you speak to a friend like this?’ and I don’t need to tell you what the answer is!
Whatever your learnings have been from 2020, I hope they will stand you in good stead for the year ahead. I’d love to hear what’s resonated for you in the elements above as well as any other pointers that have been significant for you. Let’s get together over a virtual cuppa and have a catch up!