The morning of New Year's Eve 2017. It's 9.20am. Very little time left (if you're taking a classic calendar view of the world) to reflect on the year. Tomorrow it all changes. We wake to a new year and a forward-facing mindset. So what better day, or time of the day, to scribble down some thoughts on my year and to share some possibilities for how you might view your own year - and the one ahead.
They say (and I believe) that you are what you do consistently. I am not what I dream of being. I am not as bad as I imagine I am. I just am. I just am what I do consistently - and the trick is to achieve self-acceptance.
“We don't rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”― Archilochos
So what did I do consistently in 2017? Despite some well-meaning reminders to rest, unplug and relax - I did what I do best in 2017. I got a lot done. I was really busy. My to-do list was lengthy and I got most of it done. In particular, the last half of 2017 was a whole new pace for our family. And I thrived 98% of the time.
I led the household for 12 weeks from September to December while Shawn attended his firefighter recruit course out of town. To balance this alongside my contracts and growing number of clients, I rose at 5am most mornings and worked on home-based tasks until the school run and classic working day began. I worked a lot of evenings too. At weekends, we collapsed into grateful partnership and plugged away at the home-based chores I hadn't managed to get around to mid week.
I kept our extensive urban vege garden watered and orderly, meaning we are now bearing the fruits of a massive harvest.
I completed the first module of an amazing self-directed course offered by Te Wananga o Aotearoa.
I ran my other business Magnetic Hub, even finding a bit of time to reach out into new areas, run three speaker events and continue to lead my own Hub each month.
I asked for help when my own reserves were exhausted - this was new for me, but a much-needed lesson in limits, maturity and common sense. In receiving help, I saw that those who love me want to help and it is not a chore for them. This blew my mind.
I felt incredibly alive and not as tired as you might imagine. This year, I feel more creative and 'in flow' than ever before. I am constantly barraged by ideas, innovations, possible ventures, improvements, inspiration. They are otherly, not orderly. As Elizabeth Gilbert describes so well in her famous TED talk on the creative process, it can be a mad race to 'run like hell' and find paper and pencil with which to capture the thought before it barrels through me and on....off to find another human who is better placed to transform it into reality. I've taken to keeping pen and paper by my bedside, notebooks and apps with me wherever I go.
Watch her TED talk here, I really recommend it.
So how will I reflect on the year? I'm going to take my diaries (paper and electronic), sit with Shawn and flick to January 2017. We are going to scan the weeks, taking a trip down memory lane. We may jot down the big stuff and sketch up a sort of timeline to show the year in brief - we may try a 'past year review' as suggested by Tim Ferriss and distill the top positives and the top negatives from the year. Read his full instructions here. In essence, it's a mindful exercise to help you plan and book in more of the things that were awesome from the past year - and block or avoid the key events or people that made for bad experiences.
And what about the year ahead? Well, I'm not making any resolutions. Classic resolutions about health, wealth and happiness no longer feel right. At my ripening age, I feel more inclined to say, "I have enough, I am enough" as per the journey to self-acceptance, see above. Check out this blog I wrote for Magnetic Hub to read a bit more of my thinking.
What I will do is ponder some questions. Questions are my jam. If the answers appear, I'll take notice. If the answers elude me, the question was probably still worth asking. Maybe some questions in this list will provide you some wholesome food for thought too.
So today, as we all balance on the cusp of a new year, poised to flip the calendar page, watching the hours tick by ready to transform the seven into an eight - let the thoughts ripple. Observe them, notice the feelings. You can only be you - and you are what you do consistently. You are not your thoughts. You are not your feelings.
So what did you do consistently in 2017?