Stretching out before us is the new year, winking optimism, opportunity, freshness and renewal. And to help you make this a great year, I am going to share some brilliant advice I have just received. It is a gem- and if you deliver on it, will make 2014 an outstanding year. Promise. Here it is.
I love the ‘fresh start’ that January brings. It lifts my spirits, and makes me feel ‘anything is possible.’ I plan accordingly! Sadly, history tells me that by about March, I will have sunk back into the depths of deadlines, ‘to do’ lists, pressure, and a string of broken promises with myself. I lose sight of what drives, inspires and gives me purpose. But not this year. No, no, no! You see- I read a piece of advice while on my break that I know will make this year a triumph of mindfulness and happiness. It can for you too. If you’re up for it. Here’s that gem.
“Take more time, cover less ground.”
So said Tomas Merton, quoted in Daniel Klein’s powerful philosophy on the best path to a happy and fulfilling life, “Travels With Epicurus.” Klein goes on to suggest another powerful habit, which I reckon dovetails perfectly with this theme:
“Be clear what gives you pleasure, and do more of it.”
So- this is what I plan to do. Want to join me? Some of you might feel this is a bit anal- but that’s me. If I don’t force myself to slow down- to pause and reflect- my life flashes past and I feel it becomes a missed opportunity. Sometimes you need to slow down to speed up. And in 2014, I WILL take more time, and cover less ground, and cover that ground with more presence, and thoughtfulness. Here’s my two part plan:
1. Get clarity on what gives me pleasure
Seriously- are you clear on where you get the most pleasure from in your life? I am clearer today than I was two weeks ago, now that I have been really thinking about it. It shocked me. My pleasure comes from very simple things- being together with family having a meal somewhere new, walking with my Mother and holding her hand, the feeling after a solid run, learning something new, great conversations, doing something for others (eg last year, coaching an under 10s rugby team was incredibly rewarding- it’s hard to describe how something so basic gave me so much genuine, unmitigated pleasure), and so on. It’s a pretty short list, filled with stuff I simply don’t do enough of.
2. A weekly one hour ‘Fresh Air Session’ with myself
I am diarising now for the rest of the year, a one hour meeting with myself, at my Third Place (not work, not home, but somewhere else where I can relax and think). I will use that hour to revisit my clarity on three things:
a) what is most important to me in my life, and check whether I am giving those the right focus
b) revisit my ‘pleasure’ list … am I finding time to sprinkle my weeks with what I get the greatest buzz from
c) check in on what I need to STOP doing- what has crept in to my life that is not productive and needed, and how can I stop spending time and energy on that
Take more time, cover less ground. Be clear on what gives you pleasure, and do more of it.
I reckon- hand on heart- if we can do this well in 2014, it will be a very special year. Good luck with it. And I hope a weekly dose of Possums makes it to your ‘pleasure list.’ Much love to all and thanks for being back again with me this year.