Before you cast the old year aside though can I suggest that you take some time to first count your blessings... and if you have had a tough year, and I know a few people who have, I am thinking that you are reading this post and have access to the internet in some way so you might just have a couple of things to be grateful for as a starter.
|Found in several places but this one I sourced from:|
The main reason why I suggest you count your blessings first is that you will be much less likely to toss out the really good stuff you already have as you focus on the next big thing you want to be, do or have in your life.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to do a gratitude audit for the last 12 months or so:
- Have I been of service to others at some stage?
- Have I taken care of myself in some way?
- Have I achieved anything significant for me?
- Have I used my skills and talents in some way? (and before you say I don't have any, I believe we all do, just some of us don't recognise them yet)
- Have I learnt something new?
- Have I fostered positive relationships with some of the people around me?
- Have I had any fun times? What were they?
- Have I had any adventures?
- Have I overcome any challenges?
- Have I had opportunities to celebrate the success of others?
I hope that you have come up with a few things to be grateful for and identified some of the great things about your life that you want to keep. Too often we forget to celebrate the good as it happens and taking some time to reflect with our minds and hearts tuned to gratitude can make a big difference to our whole well being. I hope that you spend more time focused on gratitude going forward so you get to experience the joy that it brings.
This approach also helps you work out what it is that you really do want in your life.
- Do you want more of the same? Great stuff- keep adding to your gratitude list and stay focused on creating more of the same.
- Who are the people that you care about and love? If you are able to, how will you stay connected with them?
- Is there something you want to change? If so why do you want to do that? What will it look like if you make that change? (it is important to have a clear vision of the end point you are aiming for)
- Do you want to learn something new?
- How will you use your skills and talents this year?
- How will you be of service to others?
- Is there a way you could contribute to your community this year?
- What adventures would you love to have?
- How will you create positive relationships with those around you?
- Do you want to stretch yourself? If so, in what way and why?
- How will you ensure that you are as healthy as you can be?
Once you know what you want things to look like and you know why you want to go there then you can work how you will get there and take the first step to seeing your vision coming alive.
And the crazy thing is that you don't have to wait for a new year to focus on the good you already have or the path you want to take going forward... you can do this anytime and anywhere! The birds do not start singing a new song just because it is the first of the year nor do the mountains shift that day so feel gratitude now and dream as well.
A personal story to illustrate:
Last year I made some pretty clear goals going forward in about October. I had an ultimatum put to me that forced me to make a choice (much of my thinking was centred around the vision of the future I had been fostering for a little while prior to this to be fair). The things I wanted for the new adventure that I was to take were:
- Most importantly it was to have more time with my family and enjoy doing some things around our home- I have loved spending time with our little man this year, we have gone to playcentre together and had a lot of fun. It has also been great to remodel our kitchen using recycled materials and make it a much more useful space for preparing our food
- Take 3 months off to get my body back in balance and just enjoy a slower pace of life (I had saved up my annual leave for some time to enable me to do this)- it was great and gave me clear headspace to start blogging and do some study for fun as well as walk daily and go swimming and enjoy our kiwi summer with my family
- Start my own business- yup, done that and have had some great opportunities to explore and play with using my skills in different settings including public speaking, writing resources for schools, and also doing adult workplace assessments
- Growing my own vegetables- we started that this season and it has been fabulous, to those of you who follow this blog you will have already read about this new passion of mine... and I am loving enjoying the fruits of our labours immensely!
- Teach an average of two days week- this has happened in the last half of this year and I have really enjoyed teaching students from 5-17 years old, next year I will be teaching 2 days a week in a job share role which is fantastic
- Have my own chickens so we can eat our own eggs- we are on the way there, I got a little put off the idea by the fact that some people found chickens to be rather vicious with each other but have done some more research and we have plans to build our coop in the coming month or so... and the chickens will be a late Christmas gift once we get the coop ready for them
- I have always wanted to write despite feeling a little inadequate as a writer- I have had opportunities to play and learn (this blog is one way) and am learning more about this at the moment as I explore another project, it is exciting
It hasn't always been easy, there are always ups and downs and I have had to take a few risks, but that strong vision of what I was hoping things would look like has helped me get back on course when the chips have been down. I also spoke with other people about this vision so they were able to support me and at times hold me accountable if needed. I am hugely grateful for the opportunities that I have had so far and the dreams that have been fulfilled as well as those that are ongoing and the dreams to come!
I hope that your dreams come true in the best ways too.
And while you are at it ALWAYS remember you are incredibly powerful because you do have choices...