Focussing on things we can control
Usually we talk about R and R at this time of the year, getting some more Rest and Relaxation!
Check out my short video message below about ending this year well no matter how it has been for you.
Rest and relaxation are vital, especially if you are exhausted from the year. This article is about adding another 4 R’s, so we can hit the ground running or at least walking in the direction we want in 2021.
If I have learned one thing from the year that has been, 2020, it would be:
Some things are just outside of our control
There are so many versions of 2020 out there, a few have said it was their best year yet, as it did not affect their work life much and as an introvert, they enjoyed lockdown and working from home with less to do on their plate.
Others, and much more of the majority, say variances of ‘it was the worst year ever’ – and for so many reasons, loss of jobs, loss of freedom, loss of dreams, plans, travel, loss of family connections, loss of life, to name a few. Some with multiple losses and unexpected stresses.
I have always had the discipline in my business and working life, of using the quieter down time between Christmas and New Year to review my lessons from the year just gone and put some intention around how I would like the new year to shape up.
Despite the year that has been, I still believe this is powerful, and possibly even more so, if we focus on the things, we are able to control and approach things with an attitude of expecting the unexpected and maybe some plan ‘B’s up our sleeve.
You can make this exercise as big or as brief as you like, I recommend spending at least 2 hours in quiet in a place that you find easy to think and focus your thoughts and attention on what you are doing without distraction.
Taking a bit of paper, journal, laptop or notes on a phone, and reflecting on 2020 as a whole.
Write down the answers to the following questions:
What went well personally?
What went well professionally?
What didn’t go well personally?
What didn’t go well professionally?
You will notice I always start with what went well, this is so we start with the positives. One list may be longer than the other for you, and it may not be the first two lists, and that is OK.
There is no right or wrong answer here, the principal and point is that it is much more powerful to plan for a new year if you have taken an honest review of these things.
You must look backwards at least briefly to move forward.
This information gives you the foundation on which to build your new year's hopes and plans upon.
You know when your device plays up there is a reset button, you can press something with a pen or even just a finger and restart it or reset it completely? When you do a factory reset on your phone, you can wipe everything and start again.
Let’s push the reset button on 2020 if you have not already done so.
Consider the answers to your questions in ‘Review’ and then answer these questions in your journal or wherever you are choosing to write this down. You can answer these from a personal and professional perspective, both would be powerful, but this is your exercise and there is no right or wrong way to do this.
Is there anything I need to let go of from the year?
(memories, grudges, pain, ideals, beliefs, disappointments etc)
Is there anyone I need to forgive, including myself for anything during the year?
(Are you holding any anger or resentment towards another human being or yourself for anything)
Is there clutter or a habit that is not serving me that I need to let go of?
(Any numbing behaviour, binge watching Netflix, eating or shopping away emotions, negative self-talk, gossip, below the line behaviour at work etc)
Refocusing without as much or any baggage is powerful, it’s a great way to start looking forward to a new year.
Ask yourself these questions both professionally and personally:
What do I want more of in the new year?
What do I want less of in the new year?
What is one thing I will stop doing?
What is one thing I will start doing?
What is one thing I do well that I will continue to do?
Other actions I will take to make the things I want to happen a reality:
The more detailed and specific you are with the answers to these questions, the more powerful the process.
If you really want to put some meat around the ‘bones’ you can add in dates of when you want to achieve by, and you can put down who you need help from or to share this with for accountability and encouragement.
You can list resources you need, steps you will take if the goals are bigger.
Goals are powerful when they are SMART – Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time bound
If we have big goals, we need to have some smaller steps and goals along the way so we can win easily. For example if you want to write a book, you might start by writing for 1 hour a day or a week, because that would feel like you could do it easily and chip away at it, rather than trying to carve out a week in a cabin to write it in one hit.
Take some time over the break time to do some things that fill your ‘tank’, as the saying goes:
You can’t give out of an empty vessel.
If you are working through, maybe you can start to add some of this to your days off if you are not already doing so.
What fills your tank will be personal, it may be gardening, creating something, craft, reading a good book, cooking, sport, friends, family, camping, walking on the beach, sleep, walking in nature and more…
Take some time to disconnect from devices,
give yourself permission to just
One of the things I have done well this past year, among all the hard times is schedule 'me' in my diary, walking, health, friends, family, and device free time.
This has been the difference between me just surviving the year and ending it feeling like I did take control most of the time, and of the things I could.
I don’t strive for perfection in anything I do any more, I strive for my personal best and my favourite saying for myself and others is around the assumptions we make.
“Everyone is doing the best they can, with the information, time and resources they have available right now. Including myself.” Jen Tyson
I wish you an amazing Christmas and wonderful start to the new year!