At the end of 2018, I spent a lot of time reflecting. I spent hours looking back at the last twelve months and filled an entire notebook journaling about what I’d learned and how I wanted the year ahead to look. One of the things that struck me as I went through the process was that there were so many lessons I could have learned sooner, dreams I could have realised if only I’d given them the time and space to show up in my life. And so for 2019, I’ve committed to reflecting more often - once a month, in fact.
I could just keep these discoveries and scribbles in my notebook, but I always love reading these sort of posts on other people’s blogs, so I figured I’d share them here too. Plus, having some accountability to you lot might help me actually keep the practice up! Here goes...
What went well this month?
I launched two new projects!
I kickstarted this month by launching two new projects - my latest e-course, and my new podcast, Practical Positivity. I learned so much in the process of creating and releasing both of these projects - both about myself and about the work I want to do in the world. I am incredibly passionate about encouraging as many people as possible to live a life that brings them joy and contentment, and I’m hoping to do even more of that next month (watch this space for another announcement coming soon!).
I allowed myself to be vulnerable and human
There were quite a few moments this month that knocked the wind out of my sails - situations that were out of my control, events that made me incredibly sad. I have always found it quite difficult to navigate periods like this - I usually bottle it all up and then explode in a huge crying fit (or worse, a panic attack), but this month I was able to face into those emotions, accept that I’m vulnerable just like everybody else, and take better care of myself. I also used running as a way of managing my anxiety (as opposed to spending lots of money on things I don’t need which is my usual technique), and it was probably one of the first times I have consistently exercised for my mental health rather than just my physical health.
I spent lots of time with the people I love
Without a doubt, one of the highlights of January was getting to spend lots of time with the people I love. I had a gorgeous girly weekend with some of my best friends, spent a good chunk of time at home hanging out with my family, and spent lots of quality time with Sam visiting some spots here in Yorkshire that have been on our list for a while. I also reconnected with some old friends that I haven’t seen for a long time too, which was just lovely. I hope that the rest of the year carries on in the same way.
I didn’t fall into the January diet trap
For probably the first time I can remember, not once did I consider going on a diet this January, and I’m taking that as a huge win! January has always been such a miserable and difficult month for me as I battled with the constant pressure to try the latest faddy diet, or spend every waking hour down the gym, but this year, I haven’t felt tempted once. Instead, I’ve moved my body to help my mind, eaten whatever I fancied (some days that has been a delicious salad, some days it’s been a burger), and I’ve used all of the energy I would have used counting calories enjoying my life instead.
What didn’t go so well, and what do I want to let go of?
I fell into the comparison trap on more than one occasion
We all know that comparison is the thief of joy, but that doesn’t stop us falling down the black hole every now and then, does it? I feel like I’ve mastered not comparing myself to others anymore (there really isn’t any point when we’ve all got our own hopes and dreams, is there?) but one thing I did do this month is compare myself to where I thought I’d be and what I thought I’d be doing at this age. Maybe it’s because I was in a situation where I was surrounded by people I knew half my life ago, or maybe it’s just a natural side effect of trying to make some life changes, but either way, I know I want to do less of it this month. More self-kindness and less self-comparison, please.
I let fear get the better of me
Another side effect that I’m almost certain is related to some changes I’m working on at the moment is the fear. We’ve all experienced it - that little goblin sitting on our shoulder, telling us we’re going to fail and that we shouldn’t even try. The inner critic who tells us that we’re wasting our time, that we should just give up now. A couple of times this month I got caught in the trap of listening to that mean little voice, and while I’m not beating myself up about it, I am determined to give it less air time for the rest of this year.
I tried to control things outside of my control
When I look back at the moments in January where I felt most frustrated or least in flow, I can see that it was because I was trying to control things that are outside of my control. Given that my intention for 2019 is to “trust”, I’m hoping that I can start to relinquish some of that control and trust that life will work out exactly how it’s supposed to. It’s not easy for us type A obsessives, but it’s something I’m getting better at with practice.
What do I want February to bring?
More down time
We have two weekends away to look forward to in February, and I want to truly savour them. No working while on holiday, no checking emails every two minutes - just lots of living in the moment, making memories with some of my favourite people, and letting my brain switch off for a little while.
What I really loved about January was having the opportunity to connect more deeply with some of you guys - both via my new podcast, and by chatting with and supporting the students on my e-course. Connection has always been the core driver behind this blog, and I’m excited to continue on that journey in February with some new projects and opportunities.
I feel like I’ve made some real breakthroughs recently in uncovering my own dreams and creating a vision for how I want my life to look, and in February I want to stay really laser focused on that vision. I know that the more I concentrate on those goals, the less susceptible to comparison and fear I will be.
How was your January? Did you learn anything new about yourself?