As we enter a New Year, I like to take time to reflect on learnings from the year that has been. I do this because I am a sentimental fool and can usually be found spruiking my list of reflections and goals for the upcoming season. As the years go by, I have toned this process down – realising that January 1 will not be the day that will provide the catalyst for permanent change. These days, I try to step back and take stock a little more often, zooming out to see the big picture of where things are at, evaluating and making adjustments towards goals as needed throughout the year.
However, a period of reflection is synonymous with the blessings of a new year, and there is no denying that this year has provided ample opportunities for growth. This is what I have learnt from my tests and gifts of the past twelve months.
- Life is going by too fast for you to not know what you want. It is so easy to keep going about your life according to a script of what it should look like – but make sure this is this script you have written for yourself. Throw the script society wrote out of the window. There is no time to be unintentional about your life. Don’t let another day go by without stepping back and identifying (even in a small way) what YOU (not anyone else) want out of your life and why.
- Once you figure out what you want, act. This definitely isn’t a dress rehearsal and no one is coming to save you. If you want change, identify what needs to change and do that. For me this year, change has come in the form of many things spanning just about every aspect of my life, and I have been at the driver’s seat. Once you realise your time is limited, then there is no reason to delay. Start today.
- Simplify, simplify, simplify. I am the Queen of delaying until I can achieve something close to perfect. I put things off, or mark myself very hard when things are perfectly imperfect. I have learnt that not only in this not useful, it’s not necessary. Life IS imperfect. Nature is imperfect. But that is the beauty. And one of the best ways to take away a layer of complexity is to simplify (mind blowing!). Take the task at hand (and this can apply to just about everything). Halve the complexity of that task, then halve it again. And do THAT thing well. The result is more often than not a beautiful outcome and a calmer and happier you.
- Get back to basics. Links in to simplify, simplify, simplify. Cut the crap. Cut the excess. Too much stuff, too many activities, too many insignificant engagements and relationships zaps energy and makes us stressed and unsatisfied and the question is – do these excesses bring joy and contentment? If they answer is no, they go. Without guilt – see point 1 – life is going by too fast. Identify what is beautiful and important – say adios to the rest. If you can’t lose the excess right now, then make a plan to when you can and then act when you are able.
- Don’t take small for granted. The small changes we make bring the end result. Small gifts of love and kindness move mountains. The small, seemingly insignificant details of our days make up the fabric of our lives. I have learned just how much value our small daily moments, pauses, and enjoyments contribute to our sense of selves, our sense of calm, and our sense of humanity. Our little quirks. Our daily rituals. They are beautiful and hold value if you stop to appreciate what they offer.
What learnings have your gifts and tests provided to you in the past year?
Until next time – simplify, focus, pursue and count your blessings.