Why My New Years Resolution is to ‘achieve less’
Love them or hate them , New Years Resolutions are everywhere you look. I for one love the feel of a fresh start, but certainly don’t restrict myself to January alone in this department. I’ve decided that 2019 will be the year for ‘achieving less’ and if you’ll go with me on this one, I’ll explain just why.
I don’t know where time has gone since becoming a mum. I do in the sense that I feel the stretch of no rest by day and little sleep by night, but the actual span of time with Fred feels like flickers that came and went in an instant amongst rushed mornings and bedtimes that ran on empty. 2018 has been a pivotal year in my life for this reason. I’ve found that even in times where I plan to switch off, I never truly ‘switch off’. In part, I guess self employment is something that means this is impossible, but the other part is modern life. I sometimes stop to watch the speed at which life is accelerating, and to be honest find it frightening. I mean, seriously, what is the rush?
From a young age I’ve thrown myself into my work, and always claimed it was because ‘I love what I do’, (because I do). I went through several years of working as a primary school teacher during the day before heading straight to my dance studio to work until late evening. I’d spend weekends planning lessons, and events for the dance students and even after giving up my day job as a primary school teacher threw myself into a hefty renovation of an empty industrial unit to provide dance studio for the community….one that I then doubled up in size two years later putting myself though a second renovation process. I’ve definitely got it within me to be a workaholic and it’s something I have to consciously manage.
This busy working theme followed suit for years until I began meditation which changed my life and led me to design the journal. This all worked swell until a baby joined the party and very quickly, my old habits crept back in and I’d find myself sitting up until midnight developing ideas and products along with wrapping orders to go out the next day. It is not uncommon for me to work weekends and evenings for a long period of time and even when I started to schedule ‘space’ on my to do list, the level of work just ramped up and I felt compelled to take it all on, despite the additional little human that was now in the picture. I was being a total donut!
In the most ironic turn of events, the life I created to encourage people to take some time for them, ended up stripping every essence of time I had for myself now a mini human needed me. I loved the feeling of bringing others happiness, both in dance class and through my blogging and journals, because each of these things were methods I’d used before to bring me the same feeling of freedom, but as each week went by, my fuel tank was emptying and this time, it wasn’t getting topped back up.
It’s no surprise really that towards the end of this year, I ran out of steam. Slowly, (as these things go) my body started to fail me. My brain struggled to remember choreography for dance classes and I would ache the days following. I got colds, sore throats and a daily headache. I was clumsy and forgetful, shouty and perhaps the defining moment was when Mum’s care came through and as the relief hit, it twigged that all these habits were in part, a way to avoid what had been too painful. Busy meant distracted.
It was certainly time to walk the walk if I was talking the talk to everyone else about YOLO and all that!
I made a few work adjustments, cutting back on work I couldn’t sustain. I stopped teaching dance after 11 years, turned down work with some brands as well as turning down work in schools and slowly but surely, I noticed the fog start to lift. It was like falling out of a high speed car that was on autopilot round a track and finding a pushbike chucked on some grass down a country lane surrounded by fresh air. I was starting to feel again, and what’s more, I was having a cry….and it was a really good thing.
The truth is we all get tangled up and start to spiral sometimes and if left without acknowledgement these things seem to manifest in others ways (at least in my experience). For me they seem to present as an addiction to my work (the classic, bury your head). In many ways, I’ve come to accept vulnerability is actually a strength. Because we don’t get to be selective about our emotions. If we numb any kind of struggle, we also numb happiness. We numb love. We numb it all.
So, I’ve decided 2019 will be about ‘achieving less’ and I guess by doing that, (hopefully) achieving so much more. I’m hoping to break a few working habits and create a space for a little vulnerability. Take it back to the basics where this idea all began, and take a piece of The Bee’s Knees back for me too. These are a few things I’m looking forward to trying.
After seeing the benefits of acupuncture following others I admire on Instagram I’ve decided to give it a go. I’m a big fan of holistic therapies and as someone who feels great benefit from meditation I think this may well suit the way my body and mind heal.
There will be no dust, bricks or builders in sight and the house will always remain ‘lived in’. But we’ve lived in our family home for five years now and until autumn this year, hadn’t touched the place. As a busy family there are constant piles of ‘stuff’ in every corner, with little to no design to any room. The house is chaotic, and I do believe it affects the mood of us all, kids included. I find painting really therapeutic, so it’ll be a lick of paint here and there with a few soft furnishings to make it ours.
I’ve always said I believe the healthiest of relationships come from each person having their own hobby that involves only them and their circle of friends. For two years now I’ve not done this so I am so looking forward to becoming a dance student again once a week and throwing some shapes with some of my favourite pals.
Ok, so this one is maybe wishful thinking, but go with me. I read somewhere that waking up an hour before the rest of the house to stretch, meditate, journal and have tea in peace is a great way to set yourself up for a positive day. (Have I gone totally nuts?!). I think more than anything I’ve realised that to get through the next few years as a family, I need to find a way to cope and potentially a little bit of routine could really help. I’ll never ‘crack it’, who can? But I’d like to develop a better coping mechanism other than work and the thought of fitting this in, even if only a few times a week seems like it can only be a positive. There’s only one way to find out right?
I guess, all in all, these ‘goals’ are just directions and January is not the only place to start making changes like these. I will still be working. I’m developing a journal for men alongside a new project I’ve been given next year and a large amount of my time will be spent supporting the boys with their charity cycle for Huntington’s which is in just 19 weeks. My aim is to timetable work that’s manageable, work I can do when Freddie is in childcare. Goals for ‘world pollination’ are on hold for now but I’ll still be doing my best to #spreadhappinesslikehoney whilst unapologetically and wholeheartedly taking the time to experience what’s been on hold for a little too long. What are your goals for 2019? Anyone else focussing on doing less next year?