New Year goals

Reviewing your year – finding ways to be kind and loving to your self

Most of us begin each New Year with some form of vision for the coming twelve months. January can be a dark and dismal month in the northern hemisphere, so planning ways of taking forward the hopes and dreams we have for ourselves can help to lighten the days.

As 2014 draws to a close, there’s a tendency to reflect on our accomplishments, and wonder what happened to all those lofty plans we made almost 12 months ago.

Did you imagine you’d make more money, lose more weight, be more successful in your career, be kinder to others, travel more – oh the list of ‘mores’  can go on ad infinitum if we let it.

Somewhere along the way we usually get ‘stuck’. The best laid plans and visions lose momentum amongst the day-to-day humdrum and pressure of life.

It’s all very well imagining and even writing those goals down and thinking we’ve got heaps of time to make them a reality. Without even realising it, a minutiae of ‘stuff’ gets in the way – or we find reasons (could they be excuses?) to delay a little, then a bit more, until suddenly it’s December again!

Maybe you feel you need to know more, to get more experience, to be ‘better’ before you put your plans into action?

Small steps

When we have too many options, or take on too much, it can paralyse our brains so much that we become totally overwhelmed – and end up doing nothing. Believe me I know, it’s something I’m very aware I have a propensity for.

When I realise what’s happening, the old adage of eating an elephant one piece at a time springs to mind.

I read an inspirational blog post by Frederique Murphy recently, with some helpful suggestions, called ‘7 steps to turning imaginary dreams into reachable goals’. She uses the acronym of CASTLES – chunk, align, scribe, trust, launch, enjoy, set. Have a read, see what you think …

What one small step could you take today, that will chunk down your dreams and begin to take you towards the life you truly want to be living?

Lose the life-limiting language

Have you noticed yourself saing “I really SHOULD be doing …”, “I HAVE TO keep doing this because …”

Rather than using this limiting and self flagellating language, ask yourself, what do you WANT to do? Who says you must, should, or have to do anything?

What lights the fire in your soul? Because if the vision you have for your life is always around shoulds, musts and have tos, not accomplishing these expectations will lead you to feel ‘not good enough.’

How would your life look if you decided to stop being so hard on yourself? Who knows, you may even get more done by taking on less.

Be your own best friend

Imagine you have a really good friend, someone who’s always looking out for you, cares deeply about you and only wants what’s best for you. What would she say to you right now?

Be kind and gentle towards your self.

When we can treat ourselves better, we automatically behave more compassionately with the people we spend time with.

Review, reflect and revise for 2015

My intention was to put together an incredible tool for you to review, reflect and revise your plans for 2015.

I guess I took too much on and didn’t prioritise this – life got in the way I admit.

However, an incredible fellow coach called Zivana Anderson from ‘Mindset Destination’ didn’t let overwhelm stop her so I’m sharing the love for her planner for 2015. I’ll be printing it off and taking some time to see what wins I had this year and the strategies I can use to make the most of next year.

And I’m going to be (because I really want to) kinder, gentler and more loving towards me.

How about you?

Living with uncertainty in a maybe world

Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.‘ ~John Allen Paulos

In April 2012 I left the security of a substantive contract as a midwife, to focus on completing my Diploma in Holistic Life Coaching topped up with some locum midwifery practice.  Prior to that, in November 2010, I’d resigned from a well-paid senior post to return to clinical practice.  I decided life was too short to take the pressure the post was having on me any longer, took a pay cut and returned to shift work – I wanted to keep my working life a little simpler and less stressed.

My husband and I have been planning a move back to my home country of England since we returned to New Zealand in November 2010, and that’s been the goal we’ve been focussing on.

That dream is almost coming to fruition now …

Being brave or stupid? Embracing uncertainty

In 2002, after a nine-month sabbatical to Gisborne, NZ, I was a week away from returning to UK.  I was consumed with fear for the future – I had little to go back for – no job, no home, no car, no money, but I did have my family.  A book caught my eye while shopping in Dunedin at a midwifery conference, called ‘Embracing Uncertainty’ by Susan Jeffers.  I recall it helped me enormously to let go of expectations and start to live in a ‘maybe’ world.

Maybe I would get a job when I returned, maybe I wouldn’t.

Maybe I’d have to live with my parents for months, maybe I wouldn’t.

When I went to NZ people said I was brave – I wondered if I’d just been plain stupid!  However, that first trip was a turning point in my life and I haven’t looked back.  In January 2005 I returned and gained my NZ residency, and in August that year I met my husband – he’d lived in Gisborne all of his life.

Now we’re both returning to UK to live ‘indefinitely, and Susan’s book has once again called to me.  As we plan our projects for work and home to the nth degree, I know it doesn’t mean it’ll always work out how we would like it to.

Contingency planning is vital, but it’s also empowering to just go with the flow and stop being attached to a certain outcome.  Now that’s a big challenge when the outcome we’ve been dreaming of for over two years is returning to UK, getting Barry’s UK residency visa, and buying another narrowboat to live aboard for ‘the foreseeable future’.

But I believe that we need to trust ‘life’, that what happens daily is for our highest good, and if we can keep an open mind and adjust our plans when things don’t work out quite as we’d imagined, then amazing opportunities for growth can occur.

I’d love to hear how life has given you opportunities for growth …