This little last stretch to the end of the year is always a time of reflection and contemplation for me. While things start to wind down at work and my search engine history fills with holiday recipes, Pin-spiration pics and TED talks I’m already day dreaming about all the projects and goals I am going to set in motion next year. You might be thinking NERD ALERT, and a part of me doesn’t blame you – what’s life without a little spontaneity, surprise and serendipity? But in my experience if you can plot a few points on the map and let yourself detour and dance as you pass through them, you’ll be able to stay focused on what it is you really want from the year ahead. We sometimes forget about those things and then wham, its November and you haven’t even started on that novel/renovation project/ fitness plan/ meditation course.
Here’s how I think you can – as Bob Marley puts it – Lively Up Yourself for an epic 2015, you dig?
1. That rush of enthusiasm you feel at the start of the New Year is going to make you feel bullet-proof and unstoppable which is both a good and bad thing. Good because it lights a spark under your bum to make you take that initial acknowledgement of a dream or goal but bad because that same spark can jet set you off into an unrealistic universe where you are doomed for failure. Keep Calm and wait a moment before you sign yourself up for a giant let-down. Take the time to really think about what it is you want and realise you are not superman/woman – you can’t do it all in one whiz.
2. Sometimes when you are climbing what feels like the Everest of accomplishments, you need lots of praise and encouragement to help you along the way. Lots of affirmation and pats on the back will help to propel you forward, so among those challenging goals that require a lot of your time, energy, skill, blood, sweat, tears, mental strength and focus; chuck in a few that are fun, silly and easy. You’ll look forward to doing them and once you’ve achieved them you’ll be super amped to nail another one. This goal stuff doesn’t always have to be boring and serious. For example, one of my goals in 2012 was to do something that scared me. Another one was to hang up all the pictures in my flat. This year I wanted to challenge myself by baking something intermediate (because I’m not a baker). They are the kind of things that you can do and feel proud of but also, not get too caught up about.
3. I think when you put energy and creativity into something it becomes more alive and real to you. Maybe your resolutions are on a board on Pinterest? Maybe they are scrap-booked with magazine clippings? Maybe they are painted on a canvass or woven into lyrics of a song? Whatever inspires you, give your list it some no-rules no-holds-barred creativity and you’ll up the ante on your motivation and follow through.
4. Denial is a sneaky and ugly thing – so don’t give it a slither of opportunity to throw you off course. Put that list somewhere where you’ll see it every day. Look at it, go over it, tick things off as you go. Don’t let it get dusty and forgotten, stashed somewhere in that multipurpose drawer each one of us has.
5. You are your worst enemy and your harshest critic. So maybe you don’t execute something exactly how you wanted to. Maybe you don’t get through every little thing in one year (it’s actually a really short space of time if you think about it?). Maybe you reach your goals but not exactly in the way you expect. Cut yourself some slack, don’t fight the flow and allow yourself to be a normal person. Spontaneity, surprise and serendipity remember?
6. Find yourself an anthem to blast in the car on the way to work/ set as your alarm or ringtone/ put onto all of your iTunes playlists. Something that reminds you why you are doing what you are doing. Whether it’s of the Britney variety (You better work bitch!), something old school and cheery (Jimmy Cliff - You Can Get It If You Really Want) or something that inspires middle-finger motivation (NIN – Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me), a tune can ignite those can-do-emotions like nothing else.
7. My last point is inspired by a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love which I think speaks for itself:
“There's a wonderful old Italian joke about a poor man who goes to church every day and prays before the statue of a great saint, begging, "Dear saint-please, please, please...give me the grace to win the lottery." This lament goes on for months. Finally the exasperated statue comes to life, looks down at the begging man and says in weary disgust, "My son-please, please, please...buy a ticket."
So for all of my readers: I wish you a crazy, marvelous 2015 and I urge you all to go out and courageously buy lottery tickets so you can start cashing in on your dreams.