2018 is not the year I thought it would be.
My word for the year was growth. After 2017, my first year in a portfolio career, had been all about exploring my options, I thought 2018 was going to be the year that things took off for me. Growth at the start of the year felt expansive and about going outwards and upwards.
That’s not what the year had in store for me.
Instead, it’s been a year of inner growth. Of going inwards. Of going deep down inside myself. It’s been a year of understanding and starting to release some deeply-held beliefs and patterns. Like a tree growing roots deep into the earth.
As I write this now, I actually feel a bit flat...perhaps even a little disappointed. Which objectively isn’t fair. In some ways, 2018 has been a wonderful year for me. But it also feels like a deep breath before the storm.
I hope that means that something’s coming. That as that energy has gone into growing deep roots, at some point, that means the tree is going to grow upwards and outwards. That spring will be on the way. Maybe that’s 2019, maybe it isn’t. Either way, this is the perfect time to look backwards and forwards.
What’s Gone Well
My income is up 40% compared to last year - which I didn’t actually realise until just this moment! Money has felt much tighter this year...and that’s clearly not true. Well, maybe it is a little as I’ve been investing in the business this year, and that didn’t even exist last year! I also managed to start to saving back into my pension again this year.
I became a qualified yoga teacher and a certified wellbeing coach. And elsewhere, the portfolio career has been taking more shape with a couple of long-term contracts which have given me more stability and some predictable income. I was also appointed as a trustee for The Cares Family, a dynamic and ambitious charity creating connection in a disconnected age. And The Practical Balance is slowly gaining momentum. At the start of the year, one of my goals was to deliver a public workshop. Now, not only have I done lots, I have been approached to deliver workshops and get paid for it.
One of my big achievements was to run 1,000 miles. Given that I ran about 600 last year, this was going to be a big stretch...and it really was. And I feel very proud of myself now!
What I’ve Learnt
Exploring and understanding my own rhythms has been a big feature of 2018.
I decided to come off the contraceptive pill in the spring and experience a natural menstrual cycle for the first time in about 17 years. It’s been fascinating to learn about this aspect of my body and to see how this cycle influences my energy and mood.
I’ve learnt how important rhythms are in life. When I’ve not been following my rhythms or creating structure around them, I’ve found myself feeling unstable and disconnected. I find it hard to focus and I know I’m out of balance. So, for 2019, I need to build more structure around my monthly rhythms and my daily rituals - consistently.
This year I realised that I don’t have to do things alone. I say realised because I don’t think I’ve truly embodied this yet but I took the first steps on a journey to being more connected with myself and with others.
I let some significant relationships go this year. That’s been hard and sad as well as full of possibility. I’ve also met some wonderful new people and communities that I think will be really important for me in 2019. And there are the amazing people who continue to be part of my life; I’m not the best at maintaining relationships so I am deeply grateful for the people who stick by me.
I learnt to recognise when I need help and support this year. And asking for it is opening up new opportunities. I’m still practising noticing….my default is still very much “I can do this all by myself” but I feel like I had a breakthrough this year.
I had a profound experience this year of experiencing embodied presence in one moment contrasted right up against being in my head, detached, analytical and critical. I’ve experienced both of these states so many times but never right up against each other. And guess what, being present and in my body feels so much better. What a surprise!
Sarcasm aside, this is something I’ve understood in theory for a while. This year, it’s making sense experientially. When I am present and connected to my own experience, things flow. I make decisions I’m happy with and I feel at peace, even if the emotions I’m experiencing are anything but peaceful.
Presence, connection and rhythm are all completely entwined for me. They are mutually supportive and reinforcing; you can’t have one without the others.
My Theme for 2019
My word for 2019 is commitment.
There was a lot of change for me in 2018. In fact, change has ironically been a pretty consistent theme for me over the past few years. All that change has left me feeling like I’m playing on the edges of my life. And I don’t want to keep doing that.
Commitment to me means showing up consistently in my work. It means doing what I know is right for me. It means investing in my relationships. It means taking myself and my dreams seriously. It means being focused and intentional and putting the effort in. It means focusing on the process and not holding onto the outcomes too tightly.
It’s all of these things: affection, fondness, determination, firmness, resolution, dependability, reliability, trustworthiness (thanks Merriam-Webster).
That feels good. That feels powerful. I feel powerful.
I find this process of reflecting and connecting with a theme for the new year an important way to close out the old year and enter the new one with intention.
And I have a few things to help you do the same.
Get my Reflections and Resolutions Workbook, my 90-day Goal Setting and Action Planning Workbook, and my Productivity Masterclass - all for free!