So, with New Years come new beginnings but while it’s easy to get carried away drawing up several list of resolutions and goals for this year (in my case, all project/task-related and categorised….yep, I’m the queen of list-writing!) it’s probably a good idea to pick out a few key things off your lists that you need to focus on this year. I’m not sure about you but there are times where I find its hard to carry out everything on your lists which is why I narrowed it down to a handful of things that would be my primary goals; ones I want to make a conscious effort to adhere to throughout the year as oppose to just having it ticked off. It’s my positive approach to life, so to speak; six simple things to follow continuously without fail……..and who knows, perhaps these could inspire you too! :)
- to appreciate more; something I constantly need to remind myself of as its easy to forget or take for granted the smaller things in life that are in fact the most significant. Since being in London, I soon realised how quickly you get sucked into the ‘fast-paced’ and busy lifestyle but while that is totally fine, it is essential that I stop to take more time out and appreciate the people and things around me a lot more. Whether its taking longer walks to appreciate the fresh air and your surroundings, or stopping to listen to a street artist busking away, having an extra long embrace or cuddle with your better half /family before you rush off to work or even having breakfast in bed, to picking up the phone and ringing your grandparent or best friend you haven’t spoken to in ages. Life is all in the details.
- to forgive more; I’ve never been one to harbour any ill feelings or grudges but I must admit (whether it’s an age thing or not) that I do sometimes get easily wound up, vexed and disappointed in people and with their words or actions. One thing I simply cannot tolerate are people with hidden agendas, or still appear to have this high school mentality, show no disregard or respect to those around them. To forgive or even ignore these things that niggle away at you is probably easier said than done but it would make one hell of a difference to your mind and soul! And more importantly (and the trickiest of them all!)….to forgive myself more. I know this will be a challenge as I tend to be a lot harder and critical on myself but while these can be useful self-motivational techniques, I’ve realised that too much of it can actually kill any chance of happiness you get from what you do.
- to accept and adjust more; no matter how much we plan, life can take unforeseen turnings or create setbacks we probably aren’t always prepared for so when that happens, it’s important to not let those changes bug you but to accept it, take it in stride and move on. There is no point stewing over things that don’t go your way….and that’s definitely one for me to tackle. I tend to get very focused and passionate over stuff, striving to do the best in everything I do and when the end-result I had pictured in my head doesn’t quite work out I can find that very disheartening, and quite often antagonise over it for a while after. To be honest, this is a long term goal I’ve actually been working on for a while and slowly but surely getting better at it. Don’t get me wrong – there is absolutely nothing wrong with striving for perfection or working hard as long as you know not to feel completely defeated if things don’t go always go your way.
- to explore and discover more; my mantra has always been to ‘live life to it’s fullest‘ or to ‘live everyday like it was your last‘ but its not always easy to step out into the unknown. Reality (aka the practicalities of life) or even fear and doubt normally tends to rein us in from making those somewhat irrational or spontaneous choices that could in fact prove to be the best things we’ve ever done! So I need to conquer those fears once in a while or perhaps even steer off from the ‘norm’ and try new things or discover new places; whether on my own or with others.
- to laugh more; I’m by no means a miserable old git (quite the contrary!) but I am known to take things a little too seriously sometimes (I may have to blame that perfectionist/OCD trait of mine!) and can easily let things get to me. ‘Uptight’ is probably the word I’m looking for. Thankfully, my husband is the polar opposite (not saying he can’t be serious!) where he is so much calmer, cooler and easier going than me (for those of you that don’t know us – we are so Chandler and Monica!) so I think I need to take a leaf out of his page this year and learn to loosen up and just live a little! Life is too short to be constantly serious all the time….and growing up doesn’t mean you can’t have a good ol’ laugh more, right? ;)
- to prioritise more; I absolutely LOVE keeping busy and am always in search of something or another to keep me well away from being idle. If you ask anyone, including my husband, they can vouch for me when I say I simply cannot sit still or even lie in on weekends! I could easily be labelled a workaholic too! My main concern (and more to the point), is that I do have the tendency to take on far more than I can probably handle…even if I do completely deny it! Whether it’s work, personal or social life, I need to either slow down or prioritise what is important and not just jump at every glimpse of opportunity or event that comes my way. Okay, so you may have to do that every now and then, especially if you want to get your foot in the door or move up in life but again, it’s all about doing it in moderation. I had a few manic months last year where both my work and social life suddenly peaked and before I knew it I found myself doing a juggling act; working on several projects simultaneously (both PhD and freelance), attending various events and splitting any time i had left for family and friends…all within that short time-frame. And rather than prioritising things I continued to juggle on and then take on more until the madness go far too much to bear and the exhaustion eventually kicked in. So this year, I need to somehow start categorising all the things into ‘needs’ and ‘wants’, and then prioritise what’s truly important (i.e scrapping everything else in between) which could help me feel a lot more calmer, confident, in control and happier without of course pjeopardising my sanity! ;) And with this year being my final writing-up year for my thesis I have to be even more ruthless! ;)
So, that’s my key primary goals for 2014! If you were to narrow them down too, what would be your key ‘approaches to life‘ this year? Well, if you need something to muse over, I shall end with this remarkably simple yet poignant quote by Mother Teresa – it pretty much sums it all up :)
“People are often unreasonable and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you.
Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.
Give your best anyway.”
~ Mother Teresa