It’s fascinating to watch how the advent of a brand new year (and new decade in this case) brings a sense of renewal and optimism to people.
It’s the time of year where we welcome change, where we set new intentions and let go of the things that have weighed us down in the past.
We often wait for the new year to come around before we start afresh, as if we need permission from the universe to move forward and finally take action on what has been brewing inside of us for so long.
I eagerly await the new year every September/October, when burnout and reluctance tend to surface — a negative default that I hope to rectify.
This year however, I’ve realised for myself that embracing a new year is not only about making plans for the future, but about finding contentment in where you are now, given everything you’ve been through. There is power in this kind of perspective and the gratitude that it brings.
A couple of years ago, I stumbled across Year Compass, a global movement to help people to reflect on their last year and plan for the next. I completed the booklet on my own and found it a beneficial way to turn inward, assessing where I was in life and where I wanted to go.
Here are my Top 3 Past Year’s Revelations:
1. People don’t change if you tell them to
When you really take the time to think about your relationships, you’ll realise how often you criticise the behaviour of others, wondering why they don’t do things the way you expect them. Whether it’s your partner, friends, siblings or parents, there are times you just wish they would change — to become better versions of themselves. Why? Perhaps because it would be more pleasing or convenient for you.
I’ve noticed that resisting the way that others behave or react does more harm than good to you. You find yourself in conflict with the reality of things which hinders your ability to improve the situation. I have tried it enough to know that telling people to change their ways is futile — we have to first start by accepting who and how they are.
From here we are better positioned to change how we respond to the behaviour of others and where possible, become a positive influence on them through leading by example.
It’s a difficult thing to manage day-to-day, especially in your closest relationships, but I’ve learned that by starting from a place of acceptance, you free up energy to be happier and more productive.
2. Money is not synonymous with personal worth
Since leaving my full-time job at the end of 2016, I’ve really struggled shifting out of the ‘employee’ mindset in order to feel confident and financially secure as an entrepreneur. I’ve realised that becoming accustomed to a stable income not only instigated some negative spending habits, but also inadvertently, led me to attribute my personal worth to how much money I’m able to earn.
This is one of the most limiting beliefs you can have if you are self-employed, and in my experience, has caused me to make poor business decisions — ones that have been somewhat profitable, but were not sustainable in the long-term, nor in alignment with my values.
2019 reinforced to me this important message:
Your job or how much money you earn is not an indication of your value as a person.
We are worthy just as we are, without any of the material things we possess. This goes against so much of what is steeped into our culture but it’s important we learn to accept this as an eternal truth. We must accept this for ourselves, and in reference to how we judge others.
Money should be treated as its own valuable resource, not as a symbol of what makes another person or even your own self, valuable.
3. You have to fill your cup
It’s the buzzword of the moment and ‘self-care’ is something that I have been more attuned to this past year.
One only needs to search the hashtag on Instagram or Pinterest to see the various contexts in which people are practicing self-care (I too, dabble in some aromatherapy and evening journaling), but the essential understanding that I have about this movement can be encapsulated in these three words: Fill Your Cup.
Not too long ago I watched a sermon online that explored the notion of ‘service’ and pouring out to others, helping them with what you have (your gifts, talents, resources). It made the important point that in order to pour out to others, your cup must first, be full.
I really love this metaphor, especially in a season of my life where I sometimes feel guilty for having the freedom to explore my passions and personal ambitions. This has led me to say ‘yes’ to a lot of things in order to help other people which has shifted my focus from goals I’ve set for myself and my business.
Pouring out what you have to others will eventually leave you dry — and nobody benefits from an empty cup.
I am enjoying experimenting with new ways to keep filling my cup, knowing that by caring for myself, I can sustain the energy to care for others around me.
These learnings, along with my new goals and intentions, are what I will take into 2020 and beyond.
I’ve discovered that working to deepen your understanding about yourself and how you can contribute your best to the world, is much more effective than that list of resolutions we seem to make every single year.