Happy new year!
When I reach any milestone my thoughts always turn to reflection and setting new goals. I'm not a fan of new years resolutions particularly as I think that setting goals, making plans and correcting my course is an every day job. However, I think there is some merit to reflecting on it now. So, with my Psychology lecturer hat on, here are some things to do.
Have a place to keep your dreams
I am a big fan of beautiful notebooks. At first I didn't like to use them, to defile them with words that could end up being wrong. Then I realised (thanks to Tom Hodgkinson) that life is an experiment so there is no such thing as wrong.
I have a small hard backed note book that is my dream book. I write a new dream or goal at the top of a new page and write the date it was set. I leave the rest of the page blank so that I can write in when and how I achieved it. It is important to set goals but also to read through your goals regularly, keep them in the forefront of your mind.Some good advice is to try not to self-censor. In 2009 I wrote a goal that I had little control over; to win a prize or accolade for my work. And in December 2010 my colleague and I won an award for innovation in our work. So, if you want it to happen, be bold and write it down.
If you don't like the idea of a notebook you could have a dream jar where you write your dreams on pieces of paper and keep them safely. You could burn the paper (safely of course) when you have made it happen. I also love the idea of the chinese lanterns where people write their dreams and then set them alight to release them. I am a little concerned about the environmental impact of this so I've never done it but symbolically it is great.
However you do it, write your dreams and goals down. There is something special about committing them to paper. Some say it communicates your intention to your subconscious and that helps you to identify opportunities. It certainly works better than not writing it down.
Write your future self a letter
To really focus on where you want to be, write yourself a letter. It could be to be opened on 31st December 2011, on your birthday, the day before your wedding - whenever you want. Write a letter to yourself about anything you want - perhaps about who you want to be, what you want to have achieved, what you're grateful for - anything. Either ask a trusted friend to send it to you or, and I LOVE this website, write it at futureme. This is a free service where you can write yourself a message and it will be emailed to you on the date that you set. I've tried it a couple of times and I found it very moving.
Robin Sharma's 'How to make this year your best year yet'
I get a lot from the work of Robin Sharma and he has posted a free ten minute video on his youtube channel that you can find by clicking here.
I spent some time working through the steps that he outlines and it has helped to clarify my goals and to set some timeframes around them.
The most important advice is to start. We so often wait for some magical time when we imagine we will be less busy, more inspired, less tired, more focussed - and then another year has passed.
Don't let that happen. Even if it is something small, do something today.
Have a look at this weblink that I found courtesy of Scoutie Girl's blog. It outlines the regrets that people have when they are dying and is very poignant.
'It is useless to desire more time if you are already wasting what little you have' James Allen
Today I have finished ceramic painting this vase
and I have used my kiln to fire some silver leaves