Each year, for the last couple of years, I have worked through Leonie Dawson’s Shining Life Workbooks. Although a little on the “airy-fairy” side for me, I do find the workbooks really useful and enjoy filling them in.
So, last night, I finally got around to starting work on my one for 2018. And the first part of that exercise involves reviewing 2017 and then “closing” the year, ready to move onto the next.
One of the things Leonie suggests you do is choose a word of the year. The first year I chose “change” but then nothing really did change. So last year I chose “action”, thinking that I actually needed to take action in order to make things change.
Well, it turns out that simply choosing “action” as your word of the year, doesn’t actually make you take said action! And looking back on my 2017, I would say that the word “inaction” probably sums it up.
That’s not to say I spent the year doing sod all. I actually spent the year working. A lot. My day job became so all-consuming, especially over the summer months, that I had very little time to do anything else, let alone to “pursue my dreams”.
So I didn’t spend more quality time with my family, I didn’t write my blog as much as I wanted to, I didn’t start my killer business, I didn’t manage to see as much of my long-distance friends as I wanted to and we didn’t move house.
That’s not to say I didn’t do some great things in 2017. I got to go to Venice for a fantastic child-free weekend, we had a really lovely and relaxing family holiday to Florida, I went to see Take That, Sophie and I have had some great mummy/daughter days out to see David Walliams’ plays, I did the 26 mile Allendale Challenge and I’ve had some brilliant nights out with friends.
There is so much more I could have done though had I not been so consumed by work. Having said that, part of the problem is also that I didn’t really know what I wanted to do – did I want to get back on track with my blog, reinvigorate my family hotel directory, finally complete my web design course or come up with another business idea that would be the one to finally gain traction. So I spent a lot of time reading various business and self-help books, looking for the answer – instead of just getting on with doing something.
And that is the lesson I think I have finally learnt – that you really do work to live, not live to work. That there is more to life than work and only I can really change my work life balance. And that if I want to make things happen I need to get focussed on what exactly those things are and just get on and do them – make them a priority. Stop thinking and start doing – even if what I choose to do doesn’t end up being my “dream”, I won’t get any closer to finding out what that is unless I just give it a go.
And that’s the point of the review exercise – I can now put 2017 behind me, take on board what I have learnt and get cracking with 2018. And make it a year that counts – after all, it is the year I turn 40 so really the perfect time to make things actually happen!