A couple of weeks ago, I recorded a podcast episode called The Noble Art of Goal-Setting. In it, I talk about how I really struggle to come up with big, juicy goals for my business (and life).
Some might call me vision-resistant, other might just say I’m indecisive… either way, it’s an issue I’m aware of.
And like I said in that ep, I do have aims – there’s always something I’m working towards – it just tends to be a new habit, rather than an all-consuming goal.
You see, whenever we get to the end of a year, I like to take stock of what’s going on in every part of my world. Usually, this will also involve identifying the bits and pieces that need more work.
This year, I thought I’d share a behind-the-scenes glimpse with you, on the off chance this could inspire you to incorporate a few healthier* habits into your life.
*When I say “healthy”, I don’t mean I’m joining the green-juice-sunrise-yoga brigade, I mean little tweaks that will have some sort of positive impact on what I do.
Reading is both my favourite way to learn new things and my favourite way to unwind. It’s easy for my blissful book time to fall to the bottom of my list, so I embrace the external accountability of Goodreads – a great app that allows you to set an annual reading goal, track your progress and soak up a ton of recommendations.
I like to start my mornings with a few minutes of journaling – it isn’t a spiritual practice for me, as it is for many, it’s more of an opportunity to dump everything that’s on my mind onto paper, so I can start to work through it.
Like everything else, this is one of those things I tend to sack off when things get busy… despite those being the moments when I really need to do it… so this year, I’m keeping my journal beside my bed. If it’s the first thing I see when I wake up, how can I possibly forget?
Wins, gratitude, takeaways
I suppose this another take on the journaling thing but bear with me here…
For Christmas, I was given a gorgeous planner that has dainty little “week to view” pages. There’s no way in hell I’d fit my actual planning into those boxes, so I came up with a new way to use it…
Each evening, before I go to bed, I’m writing down a big win, something I’m insanely grateful for, or the takeaway I can’t ignore. The idea here is that whenever I fall into a funk, whenever I start feeling like I’m going nowhere and everything is shit, I can flip back through the pages and give myself a jolt.
Doing the blitz
It’s time to face the truth – since the moment I quit my job, I’ve barely left my chair. Yes, I take my dogs for a walk twice a day, but a leisurely stroll doesn’t do much for the old waistline, especially when you’re existing on a diet of tea and toast.
To kick my arse into ACTION, I’ve committed to following through with the 30-day body blitz. This isn’t something I’ll be implementing indefinitely, but I’m hoping it will get me back into the habit of moving around a bit and batch cooking decent meals.
If you’ve been with me for a while, you’ll know I’ve been suffering from insomnia FOR YEARS. I mean, seriously, last year I spent 3-4 hours every night bingeing on Netflix, with Jason snoring away next to me, annoyingly peaceful. It was gruelling – especially as the alarms start at 4.30am.
But then I found the cure. My auntie created a sleep serum for me (we’re not talking magic potions, we’re talking aromatherapy blends). And every single night since she gave it to me, I’ve slept 8 hours and woken up feeling energised.
I’m amazed and astounded that it worked so well, but I’m not complaining. This is definitely something that I’ll keep using for the rest of the year and beyond!
I mentioned my attempts at setting concrete working hours in this episode of Your Biz, Your Rules and the intention still stands. I do not want to fall back into the trap of spending every waking hour working, so I’ve put little alerts in my calendar to remind me to take breaks (and close up shop for the day).
That’s the real lesson here – if you want to implement habits that stick, you need to make it easy for yourself. Reminders, accountability and tracking apps are your best buds.
My most productive months of 2017 were the ones in which I gave myself time to plan my week in advance. This is a practice I want to bring back, so yes, you’ve guessed it, I’ve added reminders to my calendar.
Mandatory lazy days
When I interviewed Natalie Alexia about all things self-care, we talked about the idea of scheduling monthly lazy days.
I’m not the best at taking prolonged breaks, so I thought putting something “official” in my calendar would be the best way to go. And these regular(ish) days are a nice stepping stone. They’re simply days away from the “hustle”. Days where I can switch off all my devices, stay in my PJs, read a book, whatever. A day to recharge my batteries. Once a month.
In September of last year, I read Profit First by Mike Michalowicz. it completely revolutionised the way I look at my finances, and although it seemed a little scary to start off with, it was well worth that initial effort.
One of the basic premises is that you deal with your incomings and outgoings twice a month, which means you pay yourself twice a month. This alone has made me feel so much less stressed – cashflow worries and skipped invoice payments are concerns no more!
Again, this is all in the scheduling. To set myself on the right track this year I’ve booked in:
- Monthly date nights
- Times to phone my sister and grandparents
- Regular client catch up calls
- Biz bestie accountability calls
The daily declutter
I’m part of Lisa Sharp’s brilliant decluttering programme, The Clear Calm Space Blueprint – in a nutshell, every day, you receive one task to do. One task to prompt you to work on a different area of your home.
Towards the end of last year, I got so caught up in biz stuff that I stopped working on this stuff altogether and now I’m really feeling the burn. Decluttering my space definitely needs to become more of a priority if I hope to stay sane while working from home.
This might seem like the total opposite of my decluttering plans, but it isn’t. This is more about being intentional about the things that surround me and discarding the ugly things I have no use for.
For me, this one is already raising its head in a couple of places. First up, I’ve been periodically sorting through the stacks of crap on the shelves above my desk, making sure that the bits are kept and arranged in a visually pleasing way.
The second thing I’ve been focusing on (so far) is the gallery wall in my office. This is something I’ve been talking about for a good long while after spending years collecting prints and postcards and pieces of art.
ISN’T IT BEAUTIFUL?! . Last weekend, in between all of the tax returns and cleaning we hung the next batch of art in my office – I LOVE how it’s looking and more than that, I LOVE that each one of these was either created by someone we know or created by someone who runs a small business. . Plenty of space to fill yet though, hit me up in the comments with your recommendations!
I touched on the aromatherapy already, but as well as using my sleep serum each night, I have a diffuser to fill my space (both home and work) with lovely healing scents. It really does lift the whole mood.
And that’s it – that’s the overview of habits – old and new – that I’ll be working on this year.
I don’t expect (or suggest) you go out and try all of these yourself… I know it’s a lot. Instead, I’d like you to see these as prompts to look at and upgrade the areas of your life and business that are feeling a bit “meh”.