Happy New Year!
Preface: I initially wrote this post of resolutions yesterday, on the 31st December 2019 whilst reading back and reflecting on the resolutions I had made for the prior year. Although I still resolve to do everything I wrote yesterday (and that original post can be found below…), I woke this morning with a slightly different perspective on the world and I realised – there were tweaks to be made…
As my youngest asked to climb into bed for a cuddle in the early hours, she lay singing Baa Baa Blacksheep in her breathy little voice, I closed my eyes and smiled at the sleepy, warm joy of it all. Out of nowhere started to visualise: I was stood on the highest peak of a beautiful mountain range. I surveyed the amazing view – the world at my feet. The past is gone – and we have this year and decade stretching out ahead of us. It is time to look forwards. We can still do anything – we just need to think bigger…
As I opened my eyes, snuggling with my youngest and savouring every moment of her littleness I realised that I also need to think smaller, more granular. I felt I had missed an opportunity with my original list of resolutions and there were several more that I needed to add.
So, in 2020 life will be different. Starting today…
- I smile. A lot. And I will laugh a lot more, too.
- I schedule time every day to just get down on the floor and be with my girls – no distractions – and savour just how small and lovely they are. I feel them growing so quickly and this time is not to be wasted.
- No phones/screens present at mealtimes (including if it is just me eating). Breaking bread together is a sacred ritual and is at the heart of our family rhythms.
- There is a lot I want to achieve this year… Whenever I feel directionless, I will ask myself “How would today look different if I was being disciplined in tackling my priorities?” – to help refocus on and get moving. Intentional rest is good… wasting time mindlessly is not.
- I use the Three Minute Rule to get back on track if I feel my day is drifting.
- As my girls are starting to make longer term memories now… I will own being the leader of our family: my children absorb everything I do and say. I will lead the way by example.
- In order to achieve everything I want to, I need to keep my body and mind healthy. To do this, I will focus on sustainable energy through upping my exercise, avoiding sugary/high carb foods and being more intentional when it comes to rest and recuperation. As a tangible place to start, on the latter, I will ensure I get enough sleep and go to bed (or at least take a hot bath) around the same time as the girls one night each week to bridge the sleep deficit.
- Realistically, I know this will likely be another challenging year. Amidst all of the discipline and striving – I will be kind to myself.
Upon reflection, I have also decided this morning to change my focus word for the year, if not the sentiment. In stead of “discipline” – my word for 2020 is Strive. I will do everything necessary through focus and discipline to set myself up for a 2021 – for in 2021, I will Thrive.
Happy New Year Everyone!
Firstly, a note about the year just past…
My word for 2019 was Fearless. The earth continued to quake beneath our feet following major changes in 2018. The the only way not to grind to a halt throughout the year was to follow the advice of Martin Luther King Jr’s advice: “whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward” to keep going – at times walking, at others crawling: just keep moving forwards. The key was to get as much sleep as possible and not think too deeply about any of it! But – the reality was, 2019 was a long year and I am coming to the end of it physically and mentally exhausted.
I survived the year. And this New Year is an important one for me as I look towards the future and this new decade to bring back a state of thriving.
It will not happen immediately. To thrive will be a marathon, not a sprint. As such, I plan to build on my 2019 theme of being Fearless – and add to that the critical component of Discipline. There are certain aspects of my life that I want to get back under control: diet & fitness, finances and focus on key projects. And I really will need to be disciplined to do so. Particularly if I am to keep to the trajectory of defining 2021 as my year to Thrive!
So – this will be a transitional year in many ways. Transformational. Perfection is not the goal: progress is. Focus, determination and discipline will be key… but so will embracing slower living. Choosing where I focus my energy – and therefore doing less overall – will be critical to succeed in my priorities.
Fortunately, I feel that I made the right resolutions in 2019. They pointed me in the right direction – but there is more progress to be made. Some of what is written below is recycled from last year; still more to achieve! But there are significant developments – and I look forward to the next chapter in this new decade.
My 2020 Resolutions
- Continue to create a more sustainable life with much less plastic and waste in general. So much progress in this area last year. These changes have made me feel more grounded and grateful for the natural world. I look forward to pushing to the next level next year. I will be focussing on creating less waste by consuming less. Read more on my progress to date here.
- Streamline my life by decluttering and focusing on an ideal of being a Hygge Minimalist. Minimalism is an idea that I have become increasingly interested in over the past couple of years. However, I also love the Danish concept of Hygge. This idea cannot be translated exactly but pertains to comfort and cosiness to make life enjoyable. I have no desire to give up my creature comforts and become a stark minimalist. So I have created my own path with suits me: Hygge Minimalism. (No doubt the purists on either side of that concept would be horrified by this combination – but it works for me! Read more here.)
- Define my rules for a “No spend” challenge year and (finally!) stick to them. I started a No Spend challenge last two years – but circumstances conspired against me… but something has clicked for the new decade which means I need to be extremely disciplined in this area. I plan to embrace some of Dave Ramsey’s financial management principles. Not exactly fun or exciting – but kids are expensive. This year we will focus on creating new memories through free/frugal family experiences. We have enough “stuff” as it is.
- Reduce mindless screen time. This one is for both myself and my daughters. For the girls I operate a no screens policy for much of the time – with some exceptions: early mornings when I need to leave the house for work and holidays – or when I’m home alone, need to take a shower and ensure my toddler sits in one spot without moving for ten minutes… it is very effective! For myself, I work at a laptop for a lot of the time and rarely watch TV – but can scroll aimlessly on my phone through social media. I have plans to write every day – so I need to make sure that I do that to absorb this time for something more productive.
- Create a healthy eating and exercise regime. Having had gestational diabetes and put on over five stones during both pregnancies – I then also managed to take off the extra weight in 2018. However, the last year hasn’t been conducive to optimal health for a variety of reasons – and back issues disrupted my exercise regime, which then fell by the wayside. Another area for discipline as I need to ensure I get this under control and create a healthy and sustainable lifestyle plan (rather than a diet) in 2020.
- Actively pursue a more flexible work life balance. As a single parent family, life is going to have to change in terms of my work life balance to ensure the girls get sufficient parent time – and I get enough time to rest & recuperate. Essentially, I need to live more slowly. I see this manifesting as being a slow, steady year… more tortoise than hare.
- Be mindful of the company I keep. Some of my happiest moments this year have been with close friends, family and work colleagues who inspire me. Cultivating a trusted, close circle is important to me – but as a single mom it is easy to become insular – so I need to ensure I keep one eye on looking our for new people, thinking and ideas. For example, I have learned so much from new friends across social media – sharing ideas on parenting, Waldorf and Montessori education, crafts, eco-sustainable living and more. I am inspired by what is shared on a daily basis and am looking forward to focusing on those who enrich my life and thinking.
- Embrace opportunity and adventures. My girls and I have lived through seismic changes over the past 15 months and as aftershocks continue, it is easy to cling to a new normal as is and avoid further evolution (either domestic or professional) as much as possible. I do indeed want to build a strong family rhythm and a very close unit – but this doesn’t meant that I should be blinkered to new experiences or shy away from change. Eyes and ears open to spot opportunities and make the most of life – this year and every year.
- Cultivate a gratitude practice. Even in difficult times, there are so many things to be grateful for – and I have started a nightly gratitude practice with my girls, even though they are only one and three. I need to focus on my own gratitude more formally, actively and intentionally.
- Live more intentionally – being guided by the question “what would you do if you weren’t afraid? Or tired?” Building on last year’s fearless theme… I now need to create the discipline for a little and often approach to gradually achieving my goals and projects. Particularly in creating the discipline and habit to write daily. Again – slow and steady will win this race.
I love the accountability of writing a blog and how it will inspire me to keep going throughout the year. The aim is to keep going throughout the year… preparing to be back up to thriving in twelve months time.
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