Generally the end of the year marks a period of reflection. What did I set out to do this year? Have I done it? Have I done more, less, as I expected? Who did I meet? Who have I not spoken to for a while? What will next year bring? If I could do it again, would I do it differently? Am I proud of what I have achieved?
For me, this process typically starts in early November, then I have a long weekend away in the middle and I come back ready to make some changes. My mum and Kathryn now joke that the last six weeks of the year is ‘culling season’ and they’re not wrong. When I take four days away from the city, from life, from the hustle, it doesn’t take me long to realise the weight I am carrying and it becomes obvious what needs to go.
I have come to really value and appreciate this period of reflection, this slowing down, these moments I know are coming, for me to remember where I was the year before and to celebrate what I have done. Like many people, I am good at thinking about what is next, but pretty appalling at celebrating my wins – big and small – appreciating my journey and being proud of my hard work.
This year, the reflection felt like a big one and the process felt like it started early. The first ten months of 2019 flew, like no other year. At one point, up until around May, it all felt pretty smooth and controllable, then it went mad (mostly in a great way, just a little overcrowded) until September. Generally, I feel like I will walk away from 2019 with a smile on my face. I came a long way, I learnt a lot, I grew. Of course there were dips, but that’s life.
- I moved house twice
- I made new friends. Ones I believe will have a place in my heart forever, that truly understand and support me, and vice versa
- I lost some friends, that will also always have a place in my heart
- I started to study, I followed an interest and desire to learn about nutrition that I have suppressed since my second year of university. Choosing to do this has been one of my best life choices to date
- I competed in several competitions, as a team and as an individual, some went well and I truly valued the experience, others didn’t and I learnt from them in a way I wasn’t ready to before
- I continued to train a lot and took the time out I needed to realise I do it because I love it, I love the push, the focus and the people, and for me that is enough, there doesn’t need to be any other reason to do it
- I did too much, as always, I was too busy living my life and forgetting to take care of myself
- I made a new years resolution to be more decisive, to stand up for what I want, to take the lead and I stuck to it
- I took steps to let go of the past and make myself happy in the future, 2020 is going to be an interesting year for more steps, hops, skips, and jumps
- I resigned from my job, putting my ego and expectations aside.
I had the expectation of myself, maybe from personal views, maybe from societal pressure, that being a manager is the thing you should do, that I should aspire to, regardless of whether it makes me happy or not. I found myself in a role that I am good at, and it allows me to do something good for the world – which isn’t a bad thing – but it was beginning to come at the cost of my mental health. Sometimes it did make me happy, it often made me proud, but it also made me stressed, anxious and desperate to escape. So I took a step into the unknown. I resigned with no next step, to focus on what makes me happy.
Since I resigned and have taken time to stop and ponder ideas, I’ve realised that doing good things and helping people is really important to me and a huge part of who I am. But I can do that on my terms. So working more on nutrition training and getting into health is a way that I can follow my passion, my interests, learn more and help people to live a better life.
The biggest lessons I am learning from 2019:
- How to tell when I am doing too much and how to slow down
- To block out whole days to do nothing, or at least to stop and think before I make plans. Now my calendar regularly says “DO NOT MAKE PLANS”
- To walk away from things when they don’t bring me joy anymore, to decide whether I want to stay and change something, or leave
- I can’t hold everyone else up when I can barely stand up myself
- To ask for, or accept help when it is offered to me
- It doesn’t matter whether you prove yourself to other people because it is highly unlikely they are paying attention.
Thinking about proving yourself, being judged by others and worrying what other people think of me has been a huge mental shift for me this year. Sure, I still think about it and I can still become overwhelmed with the feeling of competitiveness – but that is just my nature. I have become better at consciously thinking that it only matters what I think and if I am doing something that makes me happy or proud. I am realising that I don’t need gratification from other people (although sometimes I still appreciate confirmation that I’m not acting out of line). I can look like the biggest idiot dancing around and the only reason that someone is going to judge me, is because they wish they were dancing around too and something is holding them back from doing it. That isn’t my problem, that is there’s.
- I hope to not move so much, it would be great to feel content and have roots
- I will have a small circle of friends that I truly value, love, admire and respect
- Ideally the same incredible humans I know now
- I hope to not have any bitter feelings or regrets about people that are no longer in my life
- I hope to love competing and learning lessons about myself by doing them
- I hope to continue loving the process of pushing myself to my limits and realising what I can do physically and mentally
- I hope to work smarter, to do less of the things that I should do, to do more things I want to do and things that make me truly happy
- I hope to learn more about myself and make more progress in letting go, in not holding on to negativity for too long
- I will have faith in my own abilities – I can do whatever I set my mind to
- I will believe in the universe, that everything happens for a reason
- I will travel more – because holidays are great and I haven’t taken enough of them in the last few years, ideally I’d like more real holidays and not just city breaks
- I will be decisive
- I will say what I want and need
- I will continue to work damn hard
- I will take more risks
- I will be unashamedly me
^^None of these goals are about how much money I will make, how much weight I will lift, how I will perform. They are all about what will make me happy and content.
I hope you enjoyed reading this, thanks for sticking around until the end! I hope someone reads this and something really resonates with where they are, somewhere in the long journey that is living the life you want. I am writing down where I am and what I hope for, to hold myself accountable for my actions and so I can look back in a year’s time and appreciate how much more I have grown as I move in to 2021.
Why don’t you try and do the same?!
*The think I love most about all these photos is how easy it was to find photos of me looking happy