At this time of year, there are a lot of people thinking about how they’re going to quit smoking, start running, save whatever percentage of their paycheck, and various other worthwhile plans for self and life improvement. I’m not saying don’t do that stuff. I’m all for setting goals and working to achieve them.
But if you’re not into quitting a thing or starting a thing right now, or if there just aren’t any big changes you feel the need to make at the moment, you can still harness the abundant fresh start energy of the new calendar year. As a pagan, my new year is Samhain at the end of October, but I still get a lovely buzzy feeling at this time of year simply because there’s so much of that energy around.
Remember, there’s no law that says you have to make a list of resolutions at this time, or any time, of year. It is, however, a great time to consider small changes you can make to help you get things done, whatever those things might be, or just to feel better about yourself and your life.
Plan more effectively
Whether you’re a paper or digital planner, this is the perfect opportunity to think about whether or not your system is actually serving you. It’s easy to get trapped in ticking boxes and scheduling everything down to the last detail because it’s what you do, rather than because it’s genuinely helping you. I know – I’ve been there. Try considering why you use your planning system and what you need it to do for you, then make some changes to streamline your system so it feels more like an assistant and less like an obligation.
If you don’t think you use a planning system, think again. Do you have a calendar, either on the wall at home, on your desk at work, or on your phone or computer? Do you make lists of things to do around the house or in your job? Those are planning systems! If you’d like to dive deeper into the world of planning, the internet is full of inspiration and useful resources.
The original bullet journal site is amazing and there are absolutely loads of videos on YouTube about bullet journalling, paper planning, and productivity. Pinterest is also a great place to start. There are also lots of planning and productivity apps available for just about every device – get searching and see what you can find!
Make time for yourself
When I see those words, I usually assume someone is about to tell me to get up at 5am and meditate for two hours then go for a run before anyone else in the house is out of bed. I’m not going to tell you to do that (although, if you want to, go for it). Time for yourself can be anything from a few minutes of undisturbed peace with a cup of tea to an afternoon of walking in the forest with your favourite music blasting through your headphones.
It really depends on your situation. It drives me crazy when people assume everyone has endless time, money and resources to do whatever they want. Life really doesn’t work that way. There are work and family commitments, illnesses and disabilities, and other responsibilities, limitations and things that get in the way of being able to everything you want when you want to do it.
Have a look at what you do every day (or every week) and consider if there’s any time you can draw a box around to keep for yourself. You might want to dedicate this time to something relaxing like reading, to a hobby or craft, to getting stuck into a creative project or educational course, or to shutting the curtains and having a nap. The important thing is that it’s your time to do with as you wish (no feeling guilty, OK?)
Be kind to yourself
Sometimes life just doesn’t go according to plan. No matter how hard you work or how much you do, things don’t always happen the way you want them to. The easiest thing to do in those situations is get annoyed with yourself and sink into a shame spiral.
The most important thing to do is remember that everyone makes mistakes and has difficulties, sometimes circumstances outside of your control can nudge you off your path or just flat-out shit all over you, and you can always give something another shot or choose a different direction completely because you don’t have to be perfect all the time, or ever – you just have to do the best you can with what you’ve got.
I’m writing this from the perspective of someone who doesn’t naturally cope well with asking for help, understanding that I can’t just power my way through all difficult situations, or accepting less than 100% from myself at all times, someone who has been working on that for literally years and is still working on it. If I can aim to be kinder to myself, then you can too.
What are your plans for 2018? Are you a resolutions person or a definitely-no-resolutions person? Are you planning any changes or setting any new goals?