As I opened my beautiful Matt Sewell calendar on New Year’s Day, a few things popped into my head. Firstly, the bemusement and disbelief that I turn forty next year! And then, after I’d stopped trying to wrap my head around that large number, I realised that that means It’s been twenty years since I started university.
I mean, twenty years is such a long time and I just thought that I’d have everything figured out by now. As a fresher, studying Marketing, I thought the twenty-years-from-now-me would be super confident and self-assured. I thought I’d be working in a trendy office with a flashy car and toting a posh bag and delivering killer advertising campaign ideas (with PowerPoint slides) to fellow sharp suits. That’s what I thought it was all about and, even though I pushed forward in that general direction, the thought of that outcome secretly terrified me.
There’s been so many steps to get to the point I’m at now – the point of realising that what I’m really after is a simple life with time to nurture and grow my talents. A life with less stress and more time to think. A life where I can appreciate and be grateful for what I have rather than constantly striving for more. A life with less noise and fewer things.
I’m never going to be brimming over with confidence and, I still wince at the sound of my voice if I have to speak in public but, over the years, I have grown a quiet belief in my ability to do something good and worthwhile and have worked out where I’m most likely to find happiness.
And it’s kind of nice to spend some time acknowledging that journey instead of freaking out about the other material achievement stuff and high power career that never happened.
It’s easy to get swept away though. Spend too much time flitting around on social media (I’m so guilty) or follow the wrong type of accounts and you can get sucked into the over thinking/ comparison vortex – particularly at the moment when there’s no much new year noise. I keep seeing adverts and groups talking about how you can uplevel your business to achieve 10k months and I inevitably find myself feeling overwhelmed before I’ve even really started. I’ve realised that the best thing for me is to only follow selected accounts which line up with my mindset and generally just spend less time looking.
So, my intention for this year is work towards becoming a bit more grounded. I plan to spend the year growing roots; both in my business and for myself (so I’m less likely to get blown around like a leaf in the wind). I want to be able to keep my feet on the ground and remember all the good things I have to offer, keep my mind clear to be creative and notice opportunities to grow.
My intentions pan out like this:
Practise yoga regularly
I’ve done this Yoga with Adriene 30-day challenge a few times and really enjoy it. It’s short and I’ve always felt a big benefit after the 30 days – as well as feeling more supple, It makes me feel centered and balanced (If you’ve not come across her YouTube videos yet, do take a look – I highly recommend them).
Write in my journal
I find it so valuable to write a few pages in a journal every day but I really need to make this into a daily habit. I find free writing so much easier – when I’m writing just for me, the words just flow so really this will only take me ten minutes a day.
Spending time outdoors noticing nature and the seasons
I’m generally quite good at this but it does me so much good to spend time in nature I need to make sure it’s always high up my list. I’m planning a solo nature adventure for April which I’ll fill you in on once it’s organised! I’m excited and nervous about this in equal measures.
Growing vegetables on our allotment
We’ve had our allotment for three years now and we’re still learning but, we’re getting much better with our growing skills. I just want to be more on top of things this year and make the most of this gorgeous plot of land.
Enforcing limits on my social media
I know I’ve been wasting so much time mindlessly surfing around on my smartphone, but it’s a habit that’s become really difficult to break. So, I downloaded the Forest app to my phone and it’s brilliant! Basically, you set a timer for a set amount of time that you want to focus on completing a task without distractions and as the timer progresses, if you don’t unlock your phone, the tree continues to grow. If you pick up your phone, even to read a WhatsApp message – your tree instantly dies. Keeping those trees alive is becoming addictive and it seems to be working. It’s amazing how much you can get done in 20 minutes when you’re not picking up your phone and getting distracted every 5 minutes.
Draw every day
If I’m going to hone my skills, I need to practise every day. I did a 100-day challenge a few years ago and, when I look back at my sketchbooks, you can see a massive improvement in the quality of my work over the course of the challenge. I’ll be tracking this challenge for the next 30 days and posting on my Instagram Stories so I feel accountable!
Reaching out and connecting with people like me
On Saturday I will be meeting up with the Creative Countryside Community in beautiful Edale. I only joined recently so this is the first one I’m attending but I can tell from engaging with the other members in the Facebook group that I’m going to make some lovely new friends and connections. I’m also keeping my eyes open for other opportunities and I’ll be hosting a bluebell photo walk and tea party in the woods in May, so I’m sure that will bring wonderful new connections too.
Rather than comparing myself to people online who are one step ahead, my more ‘grounded’ approach is to focus on learning from them. If I see someone who I admire building a successful, heart-centered business online – I’ll become their student, making notes and observations which I can learn from when building my own.
Keeping my desk and creative space clear and organised
I can’t work in a messy space yet I often let my desk get cluttered with all kinds of stuff. So, each night when I finish at my desk, I shall tidy and clean so it’s immaculate for when I come to start drawing in the morning.
I’d love to know what intentions you’ve set for yourself this year – or maybe just for this season. We may be a few weeks into January but there’s no rule to say that this all needs to be done as soon as your new calendar arrives. It’s never too late for this stuff.