A Lot Can Change In A Year
Yesterday I woke up in a hotel room in London. There’s nothing particularly special or exciting about that - I travel to London for work at least once a week, and so I spend a lot of time frequenting the many hotels within a one mile radius of my office. But as I was stretching out and getting ready and checking my diary for the day ahead, I realised that I had woken up on this exact day in 2018 in the exact same hotel room. A coincidence perhaps, but nevertheless, it got me thinking about how much life has changed over the past 12 months.
And it struck me that from the outside, it probably looks like nothing much has changed at all. I still live in the same house I lived in this time last year. I still drive the same car, and I’m still doing the same job. I’m still married to the same man, and we still share the same exceptionally cute cat. And whaddya know, I still have a preference over which central London hotel I like to stay at, and what I order from Deliveroo for my dinner while I'm there (chilli chicken ramen from Wagamamas, if you must know).
But the truth is, I feel like an entirely different person. I look back at the Sophie who woke up in that hotel room a year ago, and I can see that I have changed and grown in almost every way during the past year. I am happier and freer, more confident and content. I have more faith in myself and my abilities, and I am better at creating boundaries that help me enjoy my life more. I am more settled in my relationship, share stronger bonds with my family, and feel closer than ever to my closest friends.
And it felt kinda funny to me that my life could feel so, so different, while still looking exactly the same from the outside.
Because we’re told all the time (and never more so than during the first week of January), that we have to make huge shifts in order to change our lives. That we need to quit our jobs or fall in love or relocate. We’re conditioned to believe that our happiness will arrive once we’ve lost that final stone, or moved into a bigger house, or gotten a promotion.
But that simply isn’t true. I am proof that that isn’t true. I didn’t end 2018 with any huge accolades to boast about. I didn’t change the parameters of my life in any drastic or obvious way. And still, my life has completely changed for the better.
This time last year, I was feeling lost. I woke up in that hotel room on the 3rd of January 2018 feeling anxious and confused and apprehensive. I had just started a new job, and the career upheaval definitely contributed to some of those emotions, but it’s also true that I’d started to lose the grip on my own life.
My diary was overflowing with plans and commitments made out of obligation as opposed to joy. I was working on my blog every weekend and evening, and as a result my brain was frazzled. I was spending almost no quality time with my husband, and I felt perpetually guilty that I didn’t have the time or energy to be there for my friends and family. And more than anything, I felt vulnerable. I felt like an imposter.
As I sit here right now, writing this little post for you all, I couldn’t feel more different. I feel strong, and confident, and most importantly, happy. I can find a little bit of joy in every single day, and I feel excited about the future. And I don’t feel that way because I hit a huge goal or took drastic action or waved a magic wand. I feel that way because in 2018, I committed to doing the inner work to get me here.
And for me, the very first step on that journey was prioritising balance. Learning how to say no and establishing some firm boundaries gave me the time and energy to reflect on how I was living my life. Getting clear on what was important to me helped me identify which subtle shifts would make me happier. And becoming more productive and efficient in all areas of my life freed up more space and time to really enjoy those thoroughly unproductive pursuits, like holidays and hobbies and hanging out with my husband.
Learning how to balance the different areas of my life more effectively was the catalyst for so much positive change, and I know that it can do the same for you. A new job or a new boyfriend or an exotic holiday isn’t going to change your life if your foundations still aren’t right. Achieving the next big goal on your list won’t make you feel any better if you’re still being pulled in every direction.
And so, if you’re starting 2019 feeling a little bit like I was this time last year, I’d love to work through my new e-course, The Art Of Balance, with you. It’s not a quick fix solution or a magic wand, but in my experience, making a commitment to figuring some of this stuff out is the first step on a pretty wonderful journey. Getting clear on how I wanted to spend my time and taking practical action to get there was the biggest gift I gave myself last year.
And I’d love to support you in taking those first scary steps. We’ll be getting started on Monday 7th January, and there are some wonderful students already enrolled. Alongside myself (and of course, the practical tools and exercises contained within the course) they’ll be there to cheer you on and remind you that finding time for yourself is important.
I’m so excited to see the magic you can create for yourself. I can’t wait to see how you transform your life from the inside out. A lot can change in a year - I know that better than anyone.