I’m sure you’ve all heard the idea? To choose a word and to let that word shape your year? I’ve been doing it for a few years (my previous words have included ‘Move’ and ‘Courage’). This year, as so many times in the past, my word screamed itself at me as I sat working one day and then refused to unclench its teeth until it had solidified itself as part of my life from that moment on.
What word? (I hear you ask?)
Best efforts (in all things) =
Best Helen (in all ways) = Happy Mama = Best Mama
= Best life for my littles & for me
I say screamed, but it actually probably started as a whispered question from that little voice that speaks volumes (when I’m quiet) – my intuition. She started asking me, “What would your best life look like?”, “How could you make 2015 better….no….how could you make 2015 the best year of your life?” (Yep, she became decidedly less ‘whispery’, and much more persistent, as time went on).
I began thinking in depth about these questions and went on quite a journey. Involving – amongst many other things – being strongly drawn towards opening the copy of The Alchemist I’d had on a shelf for at least fifteen years (thanks, Mum, for sending it…how on Earth you knew I needed to read it, I’ll never know, but hope to attain, and then retain, this level of mother-daughter telepathy with my daughter when she grows up!). You know when you know you should read a book but you’re just not ready for it yet? This was that book for me [Hats off to Paolo Coelho; I see, now, why he’s sold 150,000,000+ books!].
Anyway, I digress. I started to think about what my journey looks like (and, consequently, what our journey looks like) and I began to dream. Big dreams. The bigger the better. I wrote them all down.
I then started to ‘reverse engineer’. What, for example, would I need to do by ‘x’ date if I want to achieve that dream by ‘y’ date? I ended up with a whole bunch of manageable ‘chunks’ of dreams, bite-sized nuggets leading to the whole roast chicken (strange metaphor for a vegetarian. Strange metaphor, period…it’s late. I’ve been writing this post for about 2 weeks, bear with me…it’s an energy block hanging round my neck now, I just need to get it out there!). Goals per day/week/month which, if worked through and attained, would lead to major changes/fulfilment of said big dreams.
OK. At this stage, I now had a whole bunch of dreams written down and a series of timelines/manageable chunks mapping out how to get there. “What’s stopping me?” my intuition began to whisper again (the little minx). My more practical self realised that if I were to achieve even a few of the little ‘nuggets’, I’d have to make some fairly radical changes in my life. I’d have to push through stuff I’ve been avoiding, face situations I don’t like, do things I haven’t been able to do.
Cue Pinterest (another little minx – a time-sapping minx) and this timely image (which popped out at me as I was browsing one night):
Of course. I need to get out of my comfort zone. “Cool. I can do that”, I said, voice trembling slightly. I set to work. I’m a scientist by training (that’s kind of how my mind works, still, even though my soul’s telling me I SHOULD WRITE FICTION – yes, she does SHOUT this particular instruction!).
I decided I needed some measurables here, so I can see that all the effort’s having an effect, thus building in accountability (it’s shown to be having an effect and I stop actioning the actionables, ceasing said effect, then I’d only have my lazy good-for-nothing self to blame!).
What could I do to challenge myself to work through my ‘comfort zone issues’?
“Wellness”, shouted my intuition. “Wellness dimensions”. There’s seven of them (physical – intellectual – occupational – social – emotional/mental – environmental – spiritual). I currently score pretty darn low on all of them (apologies for the Very Low Tech graphic!):
Note that my score on ‘social’ is as high as it is because of all the wonderful people I’ve met through blogging (who nourish my spirit and mind so much), and all my wonderful friends from home who’ve kept me going through some dark, dark times. As a friend from home said to me recently, “Helen, going out to buy hamster food does not qualify as a meaningful social interaction”. After sheepishly admitting that, in fact, it does not, I realised many things have to change.
They say once you know the worst, you can only improve upon it. [And, really Helen? Really? Honestly? You’re alive (a veritable miracle!) and you’re scoring 1s and 2s on fairly major life axes? Really? Bells should have been ringing long ago!]…So that’s what I’m going to do. Improve on it. I’m going to measure my wellness every month as I pass through my ‘baby steps to big goals = best life’ plan. I’m fairly sure that if I do everything I’m supposed to do (actioning my daily actionables) my scores will improve.
So, in a nutshell. 2015 has to be better than the last (which will probably go down in history as anyone’s worst year ever). I’ve got some major life goals I’m brewing. I’ve broken them down in to stages, and these stages in to daily actionables. The plan is that these actionables become habits and habits become small changes and small changes become big changes until – voila! – we’re living our best life. Increasing my – our – overall wellness in all areas as a wonderful – more than welcome – side effect.
“Sounds like a plan, Batman” said Robin.
Cue gratuitous men in tights image…(sorry, ladies, Robin Hood’s much sexier in tights but I don’t think Robin Hood ever said ‘Sounds like a plan’ to Little John and I, for one, definitely don’t want to see Little John in tights…!)
As I was going through this whole process, brewing this whole new approach (‘Get the Life You’ve Always Dreamed Of In Five Easy Steps‘ – if I were ever to market this baby, LOL!), I read this somewhere, shortly after my word spoke to me, claiming its place in my life, my journey. It made me cry, it’s so perfect…
“The rest of my life will be the best of my life”
It’s up to me to make sure of it.
I am, after all, “…the master of my fate…the Captain of my soul”.
Ain’t no-one else guiding this ship, matey, it’s all down to me!
And I’m biting at the bit, anxious to “get a move on” (as my Grandad always said).
I deserve a life that feels like my own.
My best life.
[I’ll be posting more details on various aspects of the process in later posts: my planner, my vision board, the steps I’m taking to improve my wellness scores etc: hopefully it might be useful to some of my readers!]