Another new year has begun and the same flurry of questions that always comes this time of the year has come my way: “What are your New Year’s Resolutions? What are your goals? What new habits are you embedding into your life? What’s your year going to be about?” I’ve stared blankly into many faces with very little answers to these questions. Up to now, almost the end of January, I’ve had no idea. Fortunately, today I do. My year is going to be about doing what matters.
Let me give you some context. About four months ago my husband and I left the hustle and bustle of London for a sabbatical in our French country home. Well, in all honesty, he was on an immediate sabbatical as he sold his business and I was on a semi-sabbatical neither not working nor working full-time. I was in no man’s land neither fully relaxing nor staying on top of things. Now, after reflecting on this for the last few weeks, I’ve made a decision. I’m leaping into the clear blue waters of a full-on sabbatical.
That means I might be a bit quieter around here – or it might be I’ll start writing blogs every day! I don’t know where it’s yet going and I’m ok with it. I don’t want to set restrictive rules that I’ll only rebel against. Instead, I’m simply going with the flow. I’m dropping the pressure of doing things regularly and simply opting to do things when they feel good. This is a bit of foreign concept for a Type A controller, planner, organiser but at the same time this is what I feel I need to do.
That’s why this year I’m not setting any goals or resolutions for myself. Instead, I’m setting four intentions for my year which will guide me in doing what matters most to me. If you want to join me in this, here is how:
This is a word that you want the year to represent. It can be a word that you use as inspiration, as guidance or simply to feel better.
For me, my word is light. For me, this is about observing more of the light, both literally and metaphorically. Our location here in France has the most magnificent light at sunrise and sunset, and our house itself has light coming in from every angle. It’s breathtaking – and I want to notice it more and use it as a healing light. Metaphorically, I also want to feel lighter. To release more of the things that don’t serve me, to more easily say no to things that aren’t meant for me and to stop carrying so many worries with me. This year, if in doubt on whether to do something or not, I will simply ask myself: “Will this make me feel more light?”
For me, the first is developing my horsemanship skills with my horse Mickey. We have a great bond and we train really well together, but I’d like to evolve that bond even further. To do that I’d like to do more groundwork and in-hand work to work more on our insides (i.e. mind and emotions) and not outside (muscles etc). The second is writing. Last year was quite a whirlwind year with the launch of my second book Happiness is Here, getting married and moving to France. I did write here and there but still not quite as much as I hoped so this year I want to do more of it. Finally, I also want to play with creativity. This is ambiguous on purpose as I want to really see where this takes me or what draws me in.
As humans, we are happiest when we are growing. That’s why making a conscious effort to grow is one of the best things you can do for your sense of fulfilment.
For me, the three things I want to evolve in slightly overlap with the answers for the previous question. I want to evolve my horsemanship skills – and I already got a fantastic book for Christmas that will be step one in this. I also want to evolve how I play with words. I’m very good at writing with an agenda but less confident to just write to play or to just write going with the flow. That’s something I will be doing more of this year. Finally, I also want to evolve in my French language. As I’m surrounded by it, I am understanding more and more of it but I do want to practice speaking more because it’s another language I’d love to be fluent in one day.
Finally, sometimes we’re simply carrying too much with us to be able to fluently flow forward into our next steps. That’s why sometimes you have to let go of things to make room for new things.
The three things I want to let go of slightly terrify me but I want to at least try. The first is to-do lists… Now I’m a master at these but I tend to over rely on them and then want to do them all the time. This year, on my sabbatical, I want to try to let go of these at least a little bit and simply go with the flow a bit more. After all, if it’s important, it will get done, right? I hope so ;) The second thing is rushing. I call this the “London syndrome” having lived there for nearly a decade. Back there, I used to always be rushing from one place to another, packing my schedule so tight I barely had room to breathe. Now, in France, on my sabbatical, I want this to change. I want to stop rushing. After all, there is no reason to.
Third, I also want to drop the pressure. Somehow now that work has been less intense than in London (and will be even more so now with a full-on sabbatical), I’ve managed to add pressure to myself from different angles, such as getting it perfect with the horse, being the perfect wife, having a clean, tidy house, and cooking new, perfect meals. Thinking about it, maybe it’s the word perfect that I ought to let go of rather than pressure – or, actually, let’s go for both ;)
With all that said, 2019 is set to be another whole new type of adventure for me. I can’t wait to see how it goes and simply savour it step-by-step.
Wherever you are, and whatever adventure you’re on, I hope you’re doing the same. I hope you’re doing what matters.