I have been having an actual holiday… time away from my laptop, and it has been lovely!!! It is the week between Christmas and New Year, I should be resting and chilling out, it has been a long year and after countless roast beasts and secret Christmas preparations in the past few days, I feel like I need a bit of a break. But I have a new notebooks to start and a fresh pack of markers and I just can’t wait to dive into 2018… So I am taking a moment to reflect on the year that flew by. Back in 2016, I made a conscious effort to include rest in my life, not sleep mind you (silly me), just rest. I wanted to take time to step off the world and read or write or have a coffee with a friend, rest away from the work of a homeschooling mom of more than a handful of kids.
This past year, 2017, was the year the I was Getting Things Done, I was putting aside everything else to get the stuff, that never ceases to land in our home, sorted. Turns out I did absolutely everything else, which says quite a lot about what “writing your goals down” means for me… I did want to send our instagram followers into the thousands (tick); and blog off our blog, dare I say write elsewhere (another tick); I wasn’t sure how that would pan out, but it did; I wanted to slow school down and really enjoy homeschooling (another tick), that’s a whole ‘nother post; and I really wanted to MOVE more, but didn’t think I could!!!
Se7en Things I Learnt This Year
- If You Don’t Sleep You Aren’t Living: Do something about it. I have blogged and blogged about sleeping better this year, because I truly believe in it, it changed my life. Turns out, the more sleep deprived we are the more we think we are ok. I didn’t need special encouragement, I didn’t need extra special sleep coaching, or sleep training… I needed and I still need DISCIPLINE. Sleep is a discipline, it is not a good habit… something you can build into your life after 21 days… it is something you have to be strict about and something I constantly battle with. I love reading just one more chapter, I love doing just one more thing before bed… but the truth of the matter is that with a good nights sleep I literally fly through the next day… no I soar!!! But I have to tell myself every single night, “That is enough for today and get to bed already.” I am consistently inconsistent at this, but I am so much better. Every single time I don’t get to bed timeously I pay a terrible price the next day. If sleep isn’t your number one goal for the year… then make it your number one goal, because everything else will fall into place.
- I Am The Champion of Excuses: I have discovered that I am the champion of excuses. I did set myself a number of goals… and guess what… I couldn’t do this because I hadn’t done that, and I couldn’t do the next thing because I hadn’t done the other thing. I realised that the clutter that was overwhelming me actually wasn’t what was stopping me from getting stuff done… it was the excuse that I had clutter to sort out, that was stopping me from all sorts of other things, all the fun things. As soon as I put all that decluttering aside, I was able to get masses of stuff done. Basically, I was consistent and cleaned out a corner of stuff each and every week, donated and donated and donated… I got a lot of decluttering done, it is still far from perfect over here, but I no longer use “I have to declutter first” as an excuse not to go for a walk, head for the library, go for a swim. If I want to journal better, then there is no need to wait until my desk is perfect; if I want to paint a bookshelf, then I no longer have to sort every book in the house first, I can really just paint the bookshelf…
- I Am Not Very Good at Goals: But I absolutely love a challenge. This year I challenged myself to get moving… I floundered about forever trying to find a goal, and in the end settled on “Just MOVE already.” For years I have tried a daily walk, a weekly hike and any number of things to get moving, but this was the year that I challenged myself… to walk up a flight of stairs when I got to one, to fetch a book from the next room instead of asking a kid, to play on the beach with my gang, instead of just reading a book while they played. I also got to gym, which was life saving, but I think it was an attitude of “moving all the time” that actually got me moving.
- If You Think You Need to Move More, Then Start Already: Don’t wait… dance around the table, walk the dog, walk the kids… just move. You can be kind to yourself, you can be slow and steady, you can give yourself days off (only if you’ve had days on!!!)… eventually you are going to have to do the hard stuff. If you want to run 5km and I do, but you feel dreadful “gasp” when you do, then you can do every other exercise that isn’t running but eventually you are going to have to run. Do the hard stuff, it won’t get easier, but you will get much better at it. At the start of the year I started the ParkRun, it was a family decision to encourage our potential runner… I nearly died the first time. The second time was worse!!! The third time was my absolute LAST EVER (never believe a word I say at the end of a run)… and 35 ParkRuns later I am still chugging around a 5km course each week. I would love to run it, but I just can’t yet. I know I can just download the couch to 5km challenge and work through it… but I was way too unfit for that programme… I am on the Pre-school version of the couch to 5km and perhaps by the end of next year I will be able to run 5km!!!
- Habits Take a Lot More Than 21 Days to Establish: Everyone will tell you that if you do something for twenty one days then it will become a habit and you will just do it routinely. Anyone who has ever started a new habit will tell you that this is a fable. Just saying. Somethings are habits, everytime I get into the car I press play on the audible book I am listening to… that’s a habit. Other things like getting up at 5:00 in the morning will never be a habit, they are a lifestyle. If someone said to me, you can sleep late and get all the things you want to do in a day done… I would probably try that theory out, I would love to believe them.
- Hook Your New Habits onto Something You do Already: I get up everyday, and part of getting up is going to gym. It is as simple as that… I get up and walk out of the door before I even think about it. The first time I give a conscious thought to my day is when I walk back in the door as my kids are stirring. I do not check my phone, I do not have a snack, I do nothing except put on my gym clothes and walk out of the door. It is that easy for me to get to gym… it is literally just part of getting up. I treat myself to a coffee on a Saturday morning, on the way to the coffee I do a ParkRun… do you see what I did there… I hooked the changes I wanted to make onto things I was already doing. Hooks work for me. I thought I was a rewards gal… a year ago I would reward myself with coffee for getting up, another coffee for getting breakfast done, another coffee for hanging out the laundry… really!!! Turns out I am not so much a rewards gal, I just need to find things to hook new habits onto.
- To Do Something Well You Need to Do it Everyday: I started writing with my kids, everyday for fifteen minutes, during November. We did it for the full month, I have 30 pages of writing, and found my writing mojo again… really if you want to do something you routinely do, like writing and blogging then you just have to practice it. Just as you wouldn’t be able to walk the balance beam very well if you only got round to stepping out once every couple of weeks. You literally have to practice and practice and practice to get things right. It is the practice of writing that creates better writing, it doesn’t always flow… it is the practice of going to gym that makes my workouts better, they don’t always flow. In fact it is often hit and miss… but the practice and more practice will set you on your way to being better at almost all things.
- Friends Are Your Strength, Work on Them: Sometimes you feel like you just need to get away from it all, sometimes you feel like you just need a breath of fresh air… well I have discovered, and this is huge… that those are the times you most need a friend. Call them, message them, just stay hi… do it. You will be richer for it. I never take time off the world for myself, there is always one more thing to do… but this year… whenever I was stretched beyond reason, I messaged a friend first, instead of just retreating, which is my usual game plan. Try it. You don’t have to spend hours, and I rarely have those, but instead of trying to always escape… call a friend and say hi before you escape. It was a great strategy for keeping connected and keeping those friendships alive. Trust me if you feel like you need some encouragement and a time out… you will have friends with exactly the same needs… they also don’t want to spend a whole afternoon nattering, but they might well want a momentary afternoon pick me up before they dive into dinnertime and bedtime.
And the se7en + 1 + 1th… YES, I am saving the best for last…
- Don’t Ever Give Up on Yourself: Honestly, I thought there were somethings I could never ever do… I have hiked my whole life but never been up Lion’s Head via The Dreaded Chains. I really thought I could say good bye to wanting to do that… turns out… never ever give up on yourself, you can do the hard stuff… and when I finally got there, it wasn’t even that hard!!! Never say never and keep on trying.
There is a vague hope maybe 2018 will be the year I get all the clutter of living with ten people sorted, but I have a feeling that it is quite the most impossible task. While I do have strategies to keep on sorting, I certainly won’t be putting my life on hold, while I get it all done. It has to be an onward and upward kind of a year for me, it is the only option.