Setting goal or making plans for the coming year might seem like a waste of time. We’re in a period of great uncertainty and many of us may have already experienced a long list of things we planned to do in 2020 remain undone.
However, I think a lot of people did much more than they thought they would but in different ways. There was less focus on social activities, in person events and travel but perhaps more emphasis on wellbeing and personal growth.
Maybe this year you started a business, started a project, volunteered, overcame unexpected challenges, read some interesting books, discovered new interests, learned a new skill, developed your confidence, started a new job, got a promotion, visited a new city, bought a house, made new friends, tried some new recipes or figured out what you really want to do with your life.
Some of the things you did this year might seem small or meaningless but you still did them. It’s easy to forget afternoons spent catching up with your favourite people in a cafe, solo dance parties and endless laughter with siblings when you’re focusing on all the concerts you booked that got cancelled or all the places you never got to travel to.
And so for 2021, don’t be afraid to make plans or set intentions for the kind of year you want to have.
The beginning of a new year is as good a time as any to at least check-in, recalibrate and ensure that the life you’re living is leading you in the direction that you want to go in.
If what you’re doing isn’t working, try something else. It really is that simple yet we often end up making things more complicated than they need to be.
We moan and complain about the way things are and daydream about the way we wish things could be. But we forget that actually things can change and things can be different if we choose another option. In moments it might seem like you’re stuck but there are always options available to you.
Choosing a different way may require patience and it might not be easy but trying something new is much better than sticking with what’s not working.
How often do you take the time to stop and think about what makes you happy?
I don’t mean in relation to acheiveing goals, I mean just in life overall.
Most of the time we over-estimate what brings us real joy, thinking that we need something grand or something that is difficult to obtain.
In reality, it is often the smallest moments that make us feel the happiest.
Things like dancing to your favourite song, picking fruit from the garden or laughter with an old friend.
If you’re someone that writes you might find that you rarely allow yourself to just be in the moment. The most wonderful thing could be happening but your mind is already looking back on it or thinking about how best to capture it.
Instead of just being in the moment, you’re observing it so that when it comes to writing about it you have all the details.
In some ways it could be considered a good thing.
But when you’re in an experience and you have the intentions of writing about it, you might find that you change your behaviour.
You end up saying or doing things to suit the narrative of what you want to write.
In turn you don’t allow yourself to be fully immersed in the experience.
Sometimes you need to decide to put the writing aside and just enjoy the moment.
When you think about the days that have passed and the days that are to come, does it all roll into one?
Does today feel like yesterday?
Will tomorrow be different to today?
Sometimes, without you even realising you’ll find your life has become a blur of sameness. You do the same thing each day with little conscious awareness.
By the time it gets to Friday, if someone asked you to recall your week all the days blur into one because there is little to differentiate them.
When life gets this way, it helps to give yourself a little time each day to be more mindful about how you’re spending your time.
There’s no need to skirt around the issue.
Being clear with your words might seem like a simple thing to do. Yet if you reflect on conversations you’ve had and the things you’ve said recently you might find times when you haven’t been so clear.
It might have been because you weren’t really thinking in the moment but upon reflection you can see that you should have chose your words more carefully.
However, it could also be that the words you chose in the moment weren’t totally honest. Maybe you were scared to say how you really feel.
Either way what ends up happening is you’re not happy with the response you get from the person you were talking to. It’s not because you didn’t agree with them but instead because their response wasn’t addressing what you really had to say.
Next time try being a little clearer and say what you really mean.
A movie is kind of like a summary. It only focuses on the key parts and skips or at least fast forwards the mundane bits.
6 months of hard work is displayed in 10 minutes split across the movie in various montages and short scenes. It looks much easier on the big screen.
In less than 2 hours the lead manages to fall in and out of love then back into it again. You find yourself wondering how on earth to even meet someone.
But what movies are great at is showing moments.
We all have those good bits in our lives, in among the chaos, stress and challenges.
And more often than not they’re even better than the movies because they’re real and they’re happening to you.
Perhaps when you were young, someone taught you that when you feel overwhelmed, step away and give yourself a moment.
Maybe you grew up practising that and maybe you didn’t. If you didn’t you might find that as an adult when you feel overwhelmed you don’t quite know how to handle it.
The feeling might end up growing and growing to the point where it’s now unbearable. Then all of a sudden you remember that in the past it helped to give yourself a moment.
Even though you know it could help, you don’t do it straight away because you’re almost skeptical. It might not work, you might end up feeling exactly the same.
But then you do it, you step away, get some fresh air and take a few deep breaths.
You feel calmer afterwards.
In that moment you remember that (even though you forget time and time again), you’re capable of supporting yourself in difficult or uncomfortable situations.
I have this idea that sometimes there is comfort in moments of pessimism, in thinking about and accepting the possibility of the worst case scenario coming to life.
It’s not so that you can dwell but instead so that you can understand life sometimes turns out differently to how you expected.
You just have to learn to be okay with it which might be a hard pill to swallow.
Of course there is always a place for optimism but sometimes it isn’t helpful. Sometimes what you need is to accept that a situation isn’t going to turn out well.
And once you do that, things get a little bit easier.
We all have our Veruca Salt moments every once in a while.
Can you think of a time when you got annoyed/angry when you didn’t get what you want?
Maybe you had an idea of what you wanted in your mind but found that the other people in your life didn’t comply with that vision.
Granted you might not have shouted and your wants may not have been expensive things for others to pay for but the idea behind it is the same.
The basis of Veruca Salt is someone who is selfish, inconsiderate and greedy.
Yet she was also someone that knows what they want, was determined and wouldn’t take no for an answer.
We all have moments when we put our wants, needs and desires above all else. In truth it’s not always a bad thing as long as you don’t put yourself in danger or treat others poorly in the process.