Exactly one year ago I wrote about 'conceptualising' instead of setting new year's resolutions or fixed goals. In this post I want to share with you the results of my experiment, and the three new concepts I'm setting for myself for this year.
But first, a couple of words why I hate empty promises.
The problem with New Year's resolutions and "This year I'm going to be a better person..." promises is that they are driven by negative self-talk.
Does this sound familiar ... 'I'm not worthy because of my seven extra kilos. My tummy is too floppy and I really shouldn't watch so much reality TV. It's time I stop drinking wine, stop eating chocolate, and never spend money on high healed shoes again.'
When you focus on the negative - the issues just get bigger. When I was younger I was on a diet a couple of times and the more I thought about food and how I'm not supposed to be eating this or that, the more I wanted to eat!
Second problem with this kind of negative self-talk is that you compare yourself with an elusive 'perfection', some external measure that in reality doesn't exist (or only exists inside your head). So what if you are seven kilos over weight? Who cares? The dress size doesn't make you any lesser a person!
New Year resolutions become very quickly empty promises because habits are extremely difficult to change.
Determination is not enough. And negative self-talk is not a very good motivator. End result is that you end up feeling even worse because nothing happened despite good intentions.
I believe it's better to replace these empty promises with positive self-development.
What can I do better this year? What is important for me in my life right now?
When you concentrate on areas for improvement, rather than negative things to fix, you start the year with a positive mindset. That's why I conceptualise rather than set goals or resolutions.
A year ago I set out to focus on these three concepts:
I wanted to highlight to myself that things don't always go as I plan and especially as fast I'd like them to. The gap between expectations and reality only creates stress, therefore I wanted to work on being more in tune with the way my projects grow organically.
The fact I wrote this down in the beginning of the year helped me tremendously and reduced my stress levels. I was able to be more present in what I was doing and thus create more value. I'm going to take this concept to the next level in 2015. More about that later in this post.
A year ago I announced boldly that "I'm going to connect with everyone I ever wanted to connect with."
Hmmmph. It didn't quite happen like that and in fact I feel I'm in the very early stages of building connections for the next level of my personal growth. But what did happen was perhaps more important. I stopped being afraid of approaching people. I stopped worrying about their reaction and whether they'd like me or reject me. I realised I don't have to care. All I have to focus on is what I do and what I can contribute. I will keep this concept on my list for 2015.
3) Create value
This third concept was very business related. I wanted to ensure I spend my time most productively. It's very easy to make yourself busy, but it's much more difficult to choose the right activity that will make biggest difference in terms of results.
I think I've succeeded beyond my dreams with this one. A year ago I had no idea I was going to launch a new business in 2014. Oh yes, all the late nights and long hours measuring beads and stones have paid off, and in December 2014 my fashion jewellery website www.minkandstone.com went live. Users can design their own jewellery pieces, and have them made and sent to them.
I feel writing down these three concepts have helped me a lot in my quest for constant improvement. Would I have made New Year's resolutions I don't think I'd feel so satisfied with the results.
These concepts where based on inviting better things into my life, rather than fixing negative aspects.
I find it easier to connect daily with a bigger vision rather than get stressed counting how many carrots I'm allowed to eat. I also believe that if you strive to make yourself happier and more fulfilled the little things will fix themselves. As my stress level reduces and I become happier within myself I don't feel a need to count calories or worry about lifestyle changes.
What next? My three concepts for 2015:
1) Never in a hurry
'Accept' was such a good concept and it worked so well for me that I want to take it onto a next level. In June I experienced a panic attack. It was the weirdest feeling ever, like living in a slow motion movie with a massive headache. I then realised it is me who sets the schedule for my life. (Yeah, it only took me 43 years to figure that out.) And I said to myself I'll never want to feel that kind of self-induced stress again.
Year 2015 will not be stress free, because some stress is good and productive. But I will refuse to be in a hurry. I'm going to stop rushing things. I know there is a gigantic mountain of work I want to get done this year but there is no need to feel overwhelmed about it. I will work focused and hard and become better in switching off and relaxing.
I want to move between focused work and relaxation quickly. With this I mean that I can take a 5 minute break in the middle of the day and rejuvenate my mind. Or that I slot in short holidays and time to do sport and relax with my family and friends. I'm going to set realistic schedules and will not be pushed around by other people's agendas. I'm the Ruler of Kingdom Miisa!
As I mentioned earlier, I have only scratched the surface with this. Fine. So this concept will stay on my list. Unaltered. This girl will keep connecting - to the left, to the right, up and down. Stay tuned for how I'm doing - I will report back exactly in a year's time.
3) Think big
It's time to take the value creation to the next level. My first concept 'Never In A Hurry' will be huge asset here as I will ensure I always have the headspace and capacity to look into the horizon, not just what's next in front of me, rushing from task to task. I will try to learn to select the big ideas from the average, what really matters from the noise. And this is only possible if I'm calm, relaxed and present.
I hope my list inspires you to write down your three concepts and invite good, positive things into your life.
2015 should not be about fixing the negative but creating the positive.
Happy New Year to everyone!
PS. Please share your three concepts in the comments. It will help you to make them real and become accountable. It's much more powerful than just deciding something in your mind...