This year I’m turning 40. I think that number might be a bigger deal to my parents than to me (What? Your youngest child is 40???). I actually think it’s kind of cool that I’ve made it this far! I sure as heck don’t feel 40. I don’t really look 40 either, or so I’m told. Some days I feel 40. Most of the time I just feel like me. But this milestone year has me thinking about certain behaviours I’m prone to, and I’ve made some changes along the way. Every now and again I slip up a bit, and start to slide back into old habits. We all do. One thing I do to counteract this is, I step back and re-evaluate periodically. The change of seasons is the perfect time to do this.
We often look at the beginning of the year as a time for fresh starts. We diligently make resolutions, and vow that this year is going to be different. If you’re human, many of these resolutions have long fallen by the wayside, and now we’re back in the mire of the day to day, struggling to manage and keep up and stay sane. With Spring in the air, we all have a chance to do some re-evaluating, celebrate the successes, and continue to work on the things we’re struggling with.
It’s an opportunity for a fresh start – so here are some thoughts on where to begin.
Reduce the clutter. Over my past couple of posts, I’ve talked about de-cluttering. Whether it’s your schedule or your inbox, it’s important to wipe the slate as clean as possible, so you can see what’s hanging you up and where you may need to make adjustments. Block out some time in the next few days to actually clear out those 99,648 unread emails in your inbox (even if that means hitting “delete all”.) Get up close and personal with your calendar and to-do lists, and figure out where your time is going, where you need to focus more, and what you need to say “no” to. And finally, but perhaps most importantly, clean your desk. Throw out/donate/file/recycle anything you don’t need. Your mind will be clearer and you’ll be ready to focus on what you need to do.
Move every day. Many of us work on computers all day long. We sit and sit, then finally get up, stiff and sore, realizing we haven’t moved around for about 4 hours. This is even more true for those of us who work from home. It seems at an office, there’s more reason to get up and move, whether it’s to trek to the washroom or go see a colleague. If you’re not moving enough, you’ll know. I get twitchy when I’m not moving enough.
I think that too many people believe that exercise has to be a big deal. They go out and spend $75 a month on a gym membership, sign up for $100 worth of yoga classes (not to mention the $300 to buy all the fancy clothes and accessories), then feel guilty because they aren’t making it to their workouts often enough. Exercise does not have to be complicated or expensive. If you have a pair of running shoes and a door, then put the shoes on, open the door, and put one foot in front of the other for 30 minutes a day. You can even go fast (run) if you’re inclined. Then come back inside and download the YogaMazing podcast for the low low cost of FREE, and breathe and stretch.
Move around some every day. Put it in your calendar so you’ll do it. It is good for your body, and your mind. A half hour a day, and you’ll be more productive and less stressed, I promise.
Re-evaluate, and adjust. If you’re like me, you probably came up with some goals at the beginning of the year. I wrote them down, and created a path to achieve them. I looked at them again the other day, and realized a couple of things. First, some of the goals had changed. Some of the stuff I thought was important 3 months ago actually turned out to not be that important after all. Second, lots of the paths had changed. I’m still on track to reach the goal, but circumstances have dictated that I need to take a slightly different path to get there.
It’s important to stay focused on your goals, but it’s equally important to revisit your goals often and adjust the paths if necessary. In my experience, the path to a goal is never what you think it’s going to be. Situations can change on a dime. A single phone call or email or chance meeting can flip things in an instant, for better or for worse. Being able to be resilient and being open to making adjustments on the fly is critical to staying on track. Don’t resist what comes into your life at any given moment. Embrace it, and figure out how it fits in.
What it’s really all about. I’m at my best when I am rolling along with life, as we all are. It’s hard for me, because I’m pre-disposed to control-freakedness and compulsive worrying. Every day, I do my best to wake up in a mind set that I’m going to allow the events in my life to unfold before me, rather than trying to control my circumstances all the time. When I can get into this mind space, something remarkable happens – things unfold exactly as they should. What’s even more remarkable is, when I’m busy worrying and trying to control everything, things…well they unfold, exactly as they should. So if things are going to happen exactly as they should anyway, why bother worrying about them? Why not just focus on what I am doing every moment and let the rest sort itself out?
Reduce the clutter in your life. Move every day. Re-evaluate, and adjust. Let things unfold. It takes some getting used to, but good habits take time to form. With a little time, your fresh start will evolve into your way of life.