2016 has been a transition year and for me 2017 is the year I am creating my future. I learned a few weeks back to stop putting so much pressure on myself and weirdly it has worked. I am full of projects but I focus less on the outcome and the source of revenue these activities could bring than on the pure pleasure of trying new things and keeping up with the ones I like.
Now that I have been back 2 months already from India and that I am full-time again in a new job, New Year, new objectives mode, I am happy to say that I feel better. Has it been the writing? The sharing? The meeting new people, letting of old ones? in some ways it seems that I have managed to understand better what was making me happier and what was bringing me down but most importantly I have managed to act on it.
I am going to be 30 in exactly 5 days and I should be feeling an immense pressure, not because it is normal or everybody should feel it, but just because I have been stressed out for the past year and I have feared this moment so much. Now I want it to be just a perfect day with family and friends. I want it to be joyful and pressure less. Of course I am going to celebrate it more than once so by the end of the month I will have so many happy memories that the ghost of this new life milestone will be forgotten or accepted.
Today I haven’t visibly progressed much in all my plans to change my life but I have in my head, in my state of mind and most importantly I have a schedule that gives me more time, and lets me enjoy my life right now for once. This has not happened in more than a year.
What am I happy about today and what do I want from 2017? Where do I want to be in January of next year?
1) – I have made space in my life. I have had the strength to let go of the people who were maybe once very close but who now bring me more suffering and resentment that positivity.
I have also learnt to ignore the “naysayers”, aka the people who try to tell you what you should do, what is smart, what is safe, which is not what you are planning to do. These people are my family, sometimes my close friends, people who want the best for me but do not want me to take any risks. Today, change, risk, is what is driving me, and although I understand how they want to protect me I have learnt to take the good and the bad and make my opinion. I am not stubborn as before, I am pragmatic and I listen, but today I know what I want, my long-term objective is clear and nobody is going to stop me from it.
2) I have started the journey to my future life. After reading tons of self-improvement books and desperately trying to find very fast an excellent ideas to become rich, change lifestyle and sort everything out, I decided to take it one day at a time. Last fall I began a daily journal for positive thinking, where I would write everything that I was happy about every morning. But I soon realized that it was only stressing me more because I was not happier than before and even worse I was failing although I was following the advice of happiness experts. Why was I still so sad, feeling so unfulfilled?
Then, while keeping this routine,
I tried it MY way. I love writing, but instead of focusing on the positive now every morning or whenever I feel like it, I write what I need to write. I had stopped the daily ritual of writing 5 things you are grateful for because every time I was forcing me to find something positive in my day, I was also avoiding writing anything negative. So my journal was very happy indeed, but all the negative thoughts were stuck in my head still consuming me. Then, one day, I was so upset I just started writing with no other purpose than to clear my head from all the things I was going through, the stress from work, the household chores, the evening out that were taking a lot of time. And in this stream of thoughts everything was coming out, the positive and the negative thoughts that were swirling in my mind. And it felt so good to leave these heavy thoughts on a page, to get rid of it, that now I am eager for my 15 minutes of peaceful writing every morning.
In The Artist’s Way the author gives many interesting tips for writers that are lacking inspiration or get stuck frequently. However, one good idea that appealed to me in general is the concept of Morning Pages. She says that completing three pages of stream of consciousness writing, first thing in the morning (they can be about anything and everything that crosses your mind) helps you avoid over thinking your day and your creative objectives.
Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow. — Julia Cameron
Because I cannot write everything in this blog I started writing a journal, first on paper but then online, to keep a trace of it and to write it in
3) I start visualizing again. Visualize my life like a movie, like when I was a kid. Only the dreams have changed a little bit. I visualize where I live, with whom I am with, how fabulous I look like. I do that for special events and the anticipation is exciting just like when I was a kid. Although these days everybody is visualizing because “Visualising is the great secret of success” says Rhonda Byrne, I do it to get in the right mood and to picture everything going well!
Until a few weeks ago I could not picture myself anywhere hence it was hard to keep the spirit up. Now I can picture myself at least short-term and it looks very good as far as I can tell!
4) I want to get through with my 52 Challenges and finish the year hopefully by feeling to have learnt many things but also feeling that I have touched people with my posts. I started this blog to give back some of the things I was reading and thinking I might help some people going through the same experience I had. It was also a good way for me to externalize my feelings, knowing that somebody was reading them gave me a sense of purpose. During a time I felt nothing I was doing mattered it gave me joy seeing people liking and commenting my posts, my family and friends giving positive feedback. And slowly I have experienced a shift that has brought me to this wonderful day of “almost” spring, feeling that everything s possible again.
However, because lately I have been overwhelmed with external activities and private life I am late with my posts and I am not happy with it. I thought I could write 3 posts per week, but because my posts are very long and I have a full-time job and evening activities I am more realistic now: I give myself the target to publish a post at least once a week and to become more active on Social Media. The best would be for me to schedule some posts ahead but since I am actually doing new things every week I am kind of busy already! The only time I find now is during the week-end but with the sun coming back I will be out a lot!
5) I have to plan the big party for my 30th birthday! Starting from this weekend and all week long! I will be able to celebrate it with all my friends and most of my family, ending it with a trip to Italy on the 25th of March. Although I did not want to party at first, thinking there was not much to celebrate, I am in a different place now, full of hope and enthusiastic for the future!
6) The year has started well with a 2 weeks holiday in India (see posts from Week 1 & 2) and until July is looking pretty awesome too. For once I have planned ahead and I am looking forward to a week-end in Spain in April, a wedding in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in May, two weddings in Rome and the US in June. The wedding budget is very high this year (two other weddings in Paris planned for this spring) but it gives me a good reason to travel too and most importantly it is a perfect reason to visit the friends you always say you will visit but never do.
7) It is possible…probable…that I have cut back a little bit on my workout routine. In my defense I was busy changing jobs and starting my blog, going out a lot to cheer myself up…yes that is not a real excuse. I have been walking a lot though and I was waiting to know if I was staying in Paris to renew my gym subscription. After long discussions I am going to stay here at least until the end of the year so now I really have to do it before the end of April. And if I am not staying, it will be because I have found an excellent opportunity somewhere else so it is not going to be to hard on me.
8) As I was writing in my Week 5 challenge I have started learning Brazilian and last Friday I watched the complete season 1 of a Brazilian Netflix TV show “3%”. Not only is the show great but I also understood everything so I am making progress! Let’s keep it up!
9) I want to just relax more and make time to learn about random subjects. I want to take the time to read the tons of books I purchased and take some time to watch TV shows and documentaries (I have a huge list waiting for me!). With the nice weather ahead at least I picture myself having long afternoons in the sun reading or napping and hopefully get some tan too because the Snow White look does not fit me so well!
10) I want to give myself the following challenges (I am not sure when and how but I will write about them in future posts):
- Writing about the blog in my company Newsletter. I would like to make a presentation in front of my colleagues at some point but in the meantime I am happy to have an article published about the 52 Weeks Challenge and get some exposure with people who are roughly my age and who might like it.
- Learn to use a professional Graphic Tablet: for my birthday I asked for a Wacom Intuos Pro in Large format (it should be about the size of a A4 page). I already draw a lot on paper but I saw some amazing art work made by a friend with his tablet and I know that when I used to love the one I had. I will need some lessons and watch some tutorials but I am passionate about art so I hope to have some results quickly.
- In the spirit of progressively switching from a desk job to a more “free range” type of activity I am looking for different business ideas, one being to start selling reproductions of my paintings online. Once I will work with a Wacom it will be even easier having them in a digital support already.
- Make at least one photography challenge, starting with my brother who works in the movie industry and will be able to give me some interesting tips to improve my composition and lighting.
- Cook more and better: it might not be obvious because I repost recipes sometimes or wrote about my father’s orange Tiramisu recipe but I actually do not know how to cook. I know how to follow and learn a recipe and make something good with it, but I have no passion and no patience. And I know that eventually this will have to change, if I ever plan to feed a husband and some kids I need to make an effort in that area. So I am forcing myself to try more, I have cooked quite intensively this past 2 weeks (nothing worth mentioning but still) but I now I want to cook at least one dish per week.
- Finish my Nutrition course and pass the exam this summer – I am quite late for this actually but I do not want to leave this project unfinished.Since I started caring about what I was eating my life has drastically changed. I am not an extremist and I might have gained some weight back since I came back from India, but I have more energy, I feel healthier and I like my body more!
11) What about the long-term plan? Well, I am happy to announce that I finally have a plan for the year and this is exciting and feasible and I am totally working on it.
- First I decided that I am going to stay in my current position at least until the end of the year. It gives me some financial security, people are nice and the job is good (probably because it is still new). It also gives me the possibility to work on my personal projects without the stress of having no income. I found a good balance between my working hours and my personal projects and for the moment it matches.
- In the meantime I need to resume to working on the several business projects I started and select the ones that are viable: I am working on 5 different ideas at once (not all of them can work obviously) which stimulate my creativity and nourish my mental health.
- Another reason why I want to keep the position is to have the time to buy an apartment. Not a big one, just one to live in as long as I stay in this city and then to rent once I move away (because I am moving away).
- This should be enough until the summer considering all the traveling I am doing. By September I will post a second 2017 feedback, hopefully with good knews and lots of achievements.
What about you? Do you have big resolutions for the year or have already achieved the goals you set last year? Do not hesitate to share in the comment section.