And so it ends. 2017 has drawn to a close and it’s naturally a time to review the past year and plan for 2018. I’m not a big planner, and I’m not one to make big bold New Year’s resolutions – to my mind, switching to 1st January doesn’t automatically make your mind ready for change. I appreciate that for many it does work – but for me – not so much.
The last year was one of discovery for me and I ended the year finding Mindfulness. I have to admit I tried it all throughout the course of the year! Some things worked, some didn’t. One that didn’t was looking to the universe to manifest what I want. I struggled with this because so much seemed to be focussed on manifesting abundance and / or money. This wasn’t really a priority for me – my journey is more about improving my health and wellbeing – and so this was knocked on the head fairly quickly.
One thing that did work well for me was the #365 Grateful project. I loved taking a photograph every day of something or someone I was grateful for and provided a very visual image of my journey through the year. For some reason I stopped doing it on a daily basis, and I have to admit I miss it. It was good for me and made me stay in the present much more than I am prone to do.
Another thing that I did try was ‘One Little Word’. It works on the premise of picking one word to guide you through the year. This fell by the wayside. Not because I didn’t like the idea – I have picked another word for this year, well a phrase really; ‘Let Go’. I found the structure of a programme quite constraining and so will be finding my own ways to keep this word at the forefront of my mind. I’d still highly recommend visiting ‘One Little Word’ as for many people the structure of it is brilliant. January will be a mood board!
And so to 2018. I recently read an article by Annika Rose in ‘the Moment’ magazine on just this topic. She recommends asking yourself 3 questions:
- “What do you want to invite more of into your life’?
- “What lights you up”?
- “What did you learn this year”?
So in answer to number 1. I want to invite more calm into my life. I want to enjoy the moments as they happen, rather than constantly worry about what has been or what might be. I also want to invite more people into my life and share more experiences with real people.
What lights me up? Anything crafting and my husband! I know that crafting lights me up, yet for some reason I can’t quite fathom I tend to put it to the side. I also increasingly love yoga – like crafting, when you are in that moment you can only think about now, the present and all other stresses disappear.
Walking also lights me up, increasingly so I as learn to walk in the present and really pay attention to my surroundings. I cannot begin to imagine the number of things I have missed over the years with my body being in one place and my head somewhere totally different.
And what did I learn this year? Not to try to change too many things at one time. That I need to reduce my anxiety levels. Towards the end of the year, I learned about mindfulness. If I think about it I can’t really remember how – but I started reading Ruby Wax’ ‘Sane New World’ and I was hooked. And mindfulness is based in science – I liked that. There is real life scientific evidence of how and why it works. The biggest hurdle for me is that it is going to take time. I like a quick fix, I want to be less anxious now, I want to be more present now, I don’t like slow. But for this to become a key feature of my life I have to take it slowly, I have to commit to it every day, I have to continue to do it, even if I don’t particularly like it or feel like doing it. When I reach the end of 2018 I want to be able to see that progress has been made and that my anxiety levels have decreased, that I am no longer living life in ‘catastrophe’ mode.
With this in mind I have set myself the following three targets for the year:
- To practice meditation and mindfulness every day – even on the days I really don’t feel like it.
- To walk 1000 miles. This is a challenge run every year by Country Walking magazine. In the first instance I will just be counting the miles I walk every day. I have to walk 2.74 miles every day and I’m not sure as yet how that will work out. At the end of the day, this blog has walking in the title – I want to get back into it.
- To do something of a creative nature every day. Be that knitting, crochet, sewing or even colouring. Something that will make my heart sing in that moment.
For the first time in a long while I am looking forward to the new year. Whilst I am still anxious about where it will go I believe that the steps I am taking mean I will enjoy far more of the year than I have previously and that finally I am walking in the right direction.