A new year means a fresh start.
For many, the new year is a time of taking stock. Because it precedes the season of growth, it’s often a time of contemplation, when we can think about what to let go, while adding ideas for improvement. January is a wonderful time to stop for a moment, before we move into the busy spring season.
Because of this fresh start, many make resolutions, and we need look no further than social media to see dozens of ideas – but before we tear apart our closets or start training for a marathon, it’s worth considering what matters most, and how we can focus on the parts of our lives we truly want to change.
First, take time to reflect.
A glance at our phones tells us what we should be doing right now -- remodeling the basement, reading a book a week, training for that marathon. And while it’s easy, and even therapeutic, to consider all of these big life-changers, it’s terribly unrealistic to do them all at once. Even one of these big resolutions could knock our lives off track, and we need the sanity of our routines now more than ever.
Still, January is an excellent time to make changes. The trick is to focus on those that will bring us the most joy while being reasonably attainable.
Find a future feeling, rather than hanging your hat on one big goal.
For some among us, one big goal is the key to staying healthy and happy. Running that marathon or remodeling that basement may be the answer to happiness in 2021. But for most of us, it might be more effective to target an emotion for the future – how does your future feel throughout this new year? Instead of focusing on what to do, consider what you want to experience.
Take a few minutes at a quiet time of day, when you can really ponder your hopes for 2021. Even a 5-minute session considering your big-picture goals can help solidify your path. Visualize your new future and what it looks like. Are there healthier meals? Maybe just more streamlined meal planning? More time for your hobbies? Can you suddenly find things you need, without tearing apart the entire house? Are you simply more content in this new future – more at peace and ready to take on new challenges? Perhaps you just want to find 30 minutes a day to read a good book. These are all attainable goals, based on experiences rather than to-do lists.
From this quiet place of reflection, being to make your plan for 2021 – keeping in sight the emotions you felt while envisioning the future, and setting the stage for individual steps that can make it a reality.
Focus on that feeling.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when trying to change. As women, we spend so much of our time simply maintaining what is already in place, that it’s sometimes hard to envision change. Meals, laundry, chauffeuring – these tasks alone are enough to keep one person busy all day. It’s been estimated that if women were paid for their work at home, they would easily draw a $178,000 annual salary.
But these daily pressures are even more reason to take control and find time to make change. We can decide what to prioritize, we can avoid distractions, and we can delegate to others. In fact, there are many small businesses that cater to just that – creating our best selves while keeping us from feeling overwhelmed.
It's ok to get some help.
There are so many resources available to help busy women – some outsource unwanted tasks while others provide an easier way to plan your meals. Take the idea of home organization – do you find yourself looking endlessly for everything? There are tricks to combat this, and ways to organize your home that make life easier. If this isn’t your forte, and an organized home is part of your “future feeling” – then a few hours with a consultant might be just the ticket.
Or, if you’d just like to find a way to fit more “me” time into your day, there are wonderful resources to help. You can add a short fitness routine into your schedule – or, if you’d like to learn something new as your “me” treat, classes and workshops are abundant, even in the time of COVID. And one of the most helpful ways to improve the health of your family is to streamline your meal planning and grocery shopping. These are all small investments that can pay off with big dividends.
Let’s do it!
Perhaps most importantly, after taking a breath to form our goals, and taking some time to line up resources, we all need to stop and give ourselves a pep talk. As Simple Abundance author Sarah Ban Breathnach says, “women are endowed with a blessed DNA—the genetic code of courage, ingenuity, creativity, perseverance and determination.” We can make big changes, we can achieve our own future feelings, and we can do hard things. We have it within us, and we need only realize that while Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither did the Romans wait for someone else to build it!
So, gather some help, focus on your future feeling, and begin to build your best year yet!
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