It’s just 25 days until we say goodbye to 2018 and for a lot of us that means giving a last push to making something happen for us in 2018. It’s been a big year for us all one way or another and I for one always think it’s only right to put it to bed.
Why did I start to put my year to bed?
I am not one for manifestation or crystals but I do have a deep seated belief that we create our experiences based on our reactions to life and part of that is acceptance. You see many moons ago I was in a ‘why me?’ kind of a place and there was nothing that compounded that feeling more than a milestone such as a birthday or Christmas and a new year.
I would literally feel the anxiety and stress build up in my body until I admitted defeat and hibernated, full of migraines and tummy bugs I would find myself having to shut the world away and weep for all of my broken dreams.
Honestly, it sounds worse than it was – I have a reasonable level of skill with words so I wanted to make sure I hooked you!
It is the truth though. These milestones just made me feel incapable, unmoving and completely overwhelmed. I didn’t know how to get where I wanted to go from where I was and often felt I had nothing to show for a whole year. It was soul crushingly sad and part of a vicious circle I had allowed myself to get into.
Where it began
A few years back 2010 or maybe 2011 in the November, I opened a notebook and I wrote a page titled ‘Things that didn’t go well this year’ and I stream of conscious’d that mother until the words that kept circling in my head were all out. I cried, the pages were damp and the lettering smudged with my salty tears but I realised, simply getting it out of my head was a catharsis in itself. I then wrote a page titled ‘Things that I am thankful for this year’ and did exactly the same thing. I then wrote everything I learned from that and what I wanted for the following year.
Finally I filled page after page with everything I could possibly think of that I wanted from good sex to a new job to donating more to charity. I wrote EVERYTHING.
The power of this activity was insane. I wouldn’t have believed it if somebody else had told me, I can’t even recall what triggered it. I just knew that I couldn’t continue in the ‘why me’ phase a single second longer and so I resorted to an old trick to clear my mind – get it all on paper.
Acceptance came thick and fast, some of it sad, some of it proud but all of it necessary. You see, what I didn’t realise was that in order to move on I simply had to stop living in the past and take action.
The outcome of the story doesn’t really matter but I will tell you anyway, I poured myself, my hopes, dreams and yes, even my home truths into that notebook over the course of a weekend and then I put it away. For a whole year!
November the following year I picked up a new notebook to practise the same exercise and realised I should take a look at the other one. To my surprise I discovered that I could cross off the best part of 80% of that list.
I did that.
How it works
The truth is it wasn’t the writing that created the action, it wasn’t manifestation (though it’s cool if that’s your thing) it was simply the process of action in and of itself. By writing it all down, I stopped that barrage of voices and thoughts in my head and I admitted that it was me that had to make changes, after all, opportunity rarely just says ‘hey you over there’ and then hands you the goodies.
Instead I intuitively began the process of change making. In my opinion change making goes goes a little something like this.
- Acknowledge where you are at
- Accept that you are there and the role you yourself played in getting there
- Forgive yourself anything that wasn’t as you had hoped – you’re only human
- Ideas, these begin to come when you free your mind of all the crap it’s been so consumed with
- Plan how to bring these ideas into reality
- Action – do it, something, even just one thing, every single day
The year that followed writing all of this in this notebook, I moved house, got a new job (which I was promoted in 3 times!) got Josh into a better school, earned more money than I ever had before, built a group of friendships I previously felt were beyond me and many many other things! It was a success!
Do you follow me on my social media? If you do then you may have seen that I have intermittently been working on my strategy for the next year. It’s not a dissimilar process but it is so important.
To wrap it up in a nutshell I now do this for personal and business. My business (or work) strategy always starts with a thorough and brutally honest look at where I am, I then decide where I would like to be in 12 months. Once you have that you can work your way backwards and break down the milestones. I always hand write it first and then I do make sure I have my plan somewhere I will regularly see it as it helps maintain momentum.
Do you have a strategy? A plan of action? Have you forgiven yourself for not being where you want to be and have made an unbreakable promise to yourself to keep taking small actions everyday to help you reach your years potential.
When was the last time you appreciated your current position, warts and all and simply said wow. I am doing pretty bloody well right now and this is where I aim to be 12 months down the line?
Why should you do it?
Writing a life list or a business strategy even a work strategy is a massively powerful tool.
Why? Well it’s the equivalent of putting all the maps on your sat nav for the year ahead!
Thanks for reading,