Welcome to 2022 my loves! I feel like it’s a day late and a buck short as you’re reading this on the last day of January, but hey, better late than never, right??
How is everything going for you? I am feeling refreshed after my 2 week ‘reststaycation’. It was a much needed and overdue break that I’m inspired to do more often this year. You heard it here first folks. Remind me of this during the year if I complain of being exhausted, won’t you?
The concept of ‘rest’ is consequential from such a personal definition, isn’t it? An activity that is inspiring and rejuvenating at one time, can be so draining, and depleting during another. A catch up with friends which is often uplifting can be too much when we are tired and need to restore our reserves. Yet for some, being around people is how we can garner our energy.
I can personally feel drained around crowds of people, especially when I am already feeling tired, and over the years, I have learned to conquer the challenge of having this need met when loved ones have reached out for connection while I have needed a loving disconnection. It hasn’t been easy for a solitary person such as myself, but I’m getting there.
Many of you have written to me about your upcoming new year resolutions or goals that you feel excited to accomplish, and just as many have reached out to express your strong distaste for any such thing.
Like most things in life, I sit on a Swiss fence,
as I believe that there is a time and place for both mindsets.
A whole year can sometimes be needed to focus on completing a degree or growing and birthing a baby. For some, the same amount of time is needed to build up the mental and emotional resilience to physically leave a relationship or resign from a job.
But as life has taught us over the last 2 years, we can have the best of intentions with an avalanche of energy and motivation, but a covid close contact or a vaccination viewpoint can turn that upside down.
In the 3 weeks since my return to work, one client asked for help regarding her apparent lack of motivation, and when we delved deeper, we discovered that her motivation had nothing to do with her resolve.
I learned that she had completed a novel last year and was trying to find the inspiration to edit it and then get it published. To me, this suggests that she has no problem with her drive or even her efficient time management. (And kudos for writing a whole book!!)
What I also uncovered is that she is a mother and full-time carer to her beautiful son who is also a severely autistic man. The previous 2 year’s myriad of lockdowns meant that his group activities had ranged from being cancelled, or shut down due to close contacts and covid exposures.
In this case, her lack of motivation had nothing to do with her trying to find the time to edit her novel, but everything to do with her carer fatigue. If we are tired, or burnt out, no matter how deep we dig, finding our motivation is going to be hard. And if we somehow still manage to force it, most of us will manage to get things done, but it will likely feel like we are pushing shit uphill. And then comes the vicious cycle of hating it, and then subsequently avoiding it. (I have this relationship with my tax.)
But back to that insidious fatigue I mentioned earlier. It’s a representation of the collective common theme that is emerging from these past 2 years. The feeling of being overwhelmed, accompanied with a slight resentment of having given so much more to others, than what we have given to ourselves. I know I can certainly relate to this.
What even is a new year?
A whole new year resolution is such an ambiguous idea at best. I mean 1 January is only based on the Gregorian calendar, and then in February we have the Chinese New Year. And according to your ethnicity or even religion, there is a different new year for Orthodox, Jewish, or Persian cultures – to name but a few.
I also believe our personal new year commences on our birthday, and for us antipodeans, the financial new year starts on the first of July. If I waited for a new year to set an intention I’d have celebrated 3 new year’s by March alone!
This is why I’m such a fan of borrowing and then humanising the corporate world’s concept of quarterly forecasts. And potentially bastardising the idea as it’s not just money that motivates many of us. I know I’m personally much more interested in love, joy, and above all else, freedom.
Traditionally, quarterly forecasts are associated with predicting a company’s financial profit and losses, but when we can apply and anthropomorphise this concept to the values that are important to our personal lives and aspirations, it can help us maintain our focus in smaller 3 month increments, as opposed to a whopping 12 months, which can be overwhelming.
Quarterly forecasts account for data (usually financial) over a three-month, or 90-day period. For those that are well versed in spreadsheets and graphs – this could be a way to keep you accountable, but for those like me that are lazy and part Amish when it comes to technology, then you’re more likely to journal or tick things off a list that’s been scribbled on the back of your Coles receipt.
Not sure where to start?
Maybe you can start with a word or a phrase that can form the theme of the next 3 months. I tried this myself and couldn’t come up with anything initially. But the words that kept repeating were ‘fun and easy’.
So I decided that those ideas will be my general theme for the next 3 months. And what does that mean for me? A swim and a walk as much as possible, as little work as possible, and for whatever pesky life admin task that needs to be completed, to be done as easily (and quickly!) as possible.
For many of us, our habits are usually done on autopilot so it’s an automatic activity They have become so ingrained that we don’t think about them as we do them. Like getting up and getting dressed in the morning, or doing the laundry.
If we want to change our habits, we need to set ourselves up for a good routine, so we need to arrange a deliberate or intentional practice behind it. For me to have that daily swim, I need to stay committed to stop work by a certain time. Old engrained workaholic tendencies are harder to release than I’d originally thought.
The upside is that I have something to look forward to at the end of the day, and the downside is that some tasks remain unfinished. The bonus is that any perfectionistic tendencies within me need to build a bridge and get over it, and the real gold that has emerged, is that I have a lighter mental load and therefore more space to feel inspired to create and to write.
An easy way to do this, is to set 3 priorities for the next few months, that can be linked to your word or phrase. If you want to take it a step further, then write 2-3 tasks or activities to help you get there to make the process a little easier
Priorities help you focus, but give you more wriggle room than resolutions
Then your methods can be flexible when you create new habits
To start a new thing we need to put effort into an intentional practice behind it and that can mean staying committed for a few months . For most of us – this means it takes from 6-12 weeks for this new habit to become ingrained.
For big changes that require a lot of changes – we need to break that down with small changes that don’t overwhelm us. Make it part of your schedule like incorporating it in to what you already do like a commute to work or listening to something on a walk.
Staying light hearted and being kind to yourself along the way really helps as it’s not going to be perfect all the time – we’re gonna slip and make mistakes. We’re also going to get swept up in life’s unruliness and forget about it if we don’t schedule it in the way we schedule work, doctors appointments or groceries.
More than ever before, I have been witnessing so many people restructuring their lives and even changing their careers, than I’ve ever been aware of previously. It has deeply cemented the strong belief I have, about how you’re never too old and it’s never too late to try something new.
But I’ll save that for my next newsletter, and if there’s something you’re really keen for me to delve into, drop me a line and I’ll see what I can rustle up. I hope you’re connecting to your goals or living your life from a place of joy and lightness, for there is enough heaviness in the world right now.
Until next time, sending you lots of love.
THE THINGS THEY SAY ABOUT THEIR SESSIONS
“OMG Patty when we first connected, I thought that it would take me much longer to be able to stand up for myself and speak my truth. Being assertive has always being a lifelong goal for me, but every time I’d try it, it felt like it would back fire on me.
As you know, I started my new job this year, and when we were creating my computer logins, my new manager said “We already have someone called Sunny in the team, so we’ll have to use another name for you.”
Although I’d like to think she was well intentioned, she came up with something horrific, and thanks to you, I’m so proud of not bowing to the historical pressure of being a ‘nice girl’, and instead, I actually stood my ground!
Can you believe I told her that “My name has been Sunny for 35 years, and I’m not about to change it, or its spelling for a role I’ve barely started. You’ll need to find another solution if we can’t use the same login” and what do you know, she bloody did what I asked!!
I would never have had the audacity to do this before I met you, and I know it’s not a huge deal and I still have a long way to go with my family members, but this is a massive win for me, and I’m so very grateful for you!! xxx”