If you’re a regular round here, you’ll know that I’m usually ‘on it’ pretty quickly with the new year goals/resolutions. As the years have passed, I’ve tended to lean more towards the word ‘goals’ (it feels less pressurised somehow) but either way, the list is usually fairly extensive and done well before the 24th January!
Oddly, this new decade arrived without so much as a fizz or a bang for me. If truth be told, the rest of January has pretty much gone by in a blur too. My first tweet of the decade declared ‘reading more’ as my only goal for 2020. Interestingly, looking back on last year’s new year blog post, it turns out that reading more was my only goal for 2019 too! I didn’t manage it then, so hopefully 2020 will be my year.
What’s with the Attitude?
It would seem therefore that this fairly apathetic attitude towards a new year, was also present at the beginning of 2019. It didn’t kill me or ruin my year. What it did, was bring less expectation and less room for disappointment.
Life has been on a bit of an uneven keel over the last year or so, meaning that things often haven’t gone according to plan and events have been cancelled last minute. In the past, this would have been a crushing disappointment for me. What I’ve realised more recently, is that my ‘one day at a time’ mantra, is serving me well. It doesn’t mean no planning at all (a completely empty diary leaves me feeling totally despondent with nothing to look forward to) but it’s helped me to be a little more relaxed and the expectations have dropped which is definitely a good thing.
Perhaps I’m finally learning how to incorporate balance, which was my ‘one word’ back in 2018.
A Year of Gratitude
This leads me nicely onto my ‘one word’ for 2019, which was gratitude. This word felt like a natural choice for me as I had already started documenting three things at the end of every day, that I was grateful for.
It’s a habit that I stuck to throughout 2019 and you can see many of them in my highlights on Instagram Stories. I’m someone who needs accountability and I’m pleased to say that sharing them publicly, encouraged others to do the same.
What difference has it made? The simple answer to that, is an awareness of the good in my life. I mentioned a little earlier, that the last year or so has been hard and at times, devastatingly so. I’ve found this exercise so worthwhile because (and yes, I know it’s a cliche) there is always something to be grateful for.
Occasionally it was as simple as ‘a hot cup of tea made by my son‘ which was probably at the end of a particularly difficult day, when I was having to dig deep. But the lesson is a good one – the simple, ordinary moments can absolutely bring joy.
Trying (and Failing) to Stop a Bad Habit
It wasn’t until I read last year’s new year post, that I realised I was intending to spend less time on my phone in 2019 (forever a battle!).
During an experiment in 2018, I noticed that I was using social media as a distraction when I didn’t want to ‘feel’. I put some better habits in place back then but when life got tricky, the mindless scrolling started up again. Whilst I knew this habit wasn’t healthy, I hadn’t quite worked out what I would replace it with or how I would navigate the feelings.
My One Word for 2020
At the end of last year, I started going to therapy (I’ll add a quick disclaimer here…I’m not cracking up but I did want to seek help to navigate some of the stuff going on for us right now). It has already proved to be a very worthwhile investment.
It didn’t take long before this habit of mindless scrolling was uncovered yet again, along with my constant need to be ‘doing’ (another excellent form of distraction from feelings if anyone is looking for one!).
So these therapy sessions, along with many other ‘whispers’ (a term I use to refer to anything God might be saying to me) have led me to choose the word ‘Pause’ for this year:
- I want to learn to pause before I speak or act
- I want to learn to pause and feel instead of constantly doing
- I want to perfect the art of pausing a thought that is threatening to spiral out of control
- I want to give myself permission to pause during the day (cue more reading).
Pausing does not come naturally to me but I know that to live healthily, it needs to become an integral part of my life. I’ve started exploring mindfulness (very early days, I can’t get past 5 minutes at the moment!) but the easiest thing I’ve done so far, is set time limits on the social media apps on my phone. I’ve even incorporated a whole social media-free day, into my week.
I’m not putting oodles of pressure on myself or declaring ‘new year, new me’ (I hate that expression) but I am being intentional about pausing a little more in life generally. This will no doubt take many guises as the year progresses; some will stick, others won’t, but I want to make sure that compassion (for myself) is at the heart of it too.
If you’ve got to the end of this post, then congratulations! May I take the opportunity to wish you a very happy new year/decade. I would love to hear about your plans for 2020. Have you chosen a word to shape your year?