Happy new year and welcome to 2017! A new year always seems to signify changes. Changes we want to make. Changes to what is happening in our lives. Different milestones. New goals. New Years Resolutions.
I must admit, I have never been good at making New Years Resolutions. Actually, let me rephrase that. I have always been great at making them, just never that good at keeping them.
I think in all the years that I have made resolutions, I have probably kept three. And only one of them has stuck for good.
One year, after having a decidedly bad time with my teeth, I gave up drinking Coke. Admittedly, I was drinking over 2 litres per day, so it was bound to be an issue in more ways than one. But, I just went cold turkey. I decided that I wasn’t going to have Coke again ever. EVER!
That was about 10 years ago… And I have still not had a single drop of Coke. My one and only resolution that did stick.
Another year I decided I was going to drink two litres of water every day. I did this for 364 days of that year. I missed out on one day. And I missed it by 200ml of water. Can you believe that? I had been at a line dance competition 7 hours from home and travelled part of the way back by car then caught a train, then another car trip. I was so exhausted by the time I got home, I literally fell asleep as soon as my head hit a pillow.
Unfortunately, though I do drink more water now than I used to, that resolution never lasted past the end of that year.
And of course there has always been the weight loss goals. Again, I did manage to do really well with this a few times, but in the end, I always gained the weight back.
So this year I have decided that my New Years Resolutions are going to be more like “Life Goals”. Changes that are not drastic, but will make a huge difference to my life, and take me in the direction of where I want to be.
I have come up with four areas of goals that I would like to make changes in:
Although I have been working towards these goals for some time now, I hadn’t really put a name to them. I hadn’t broken down how I am going to achieve these goals. And I fear that may have been my downfall. So this year, starting right now, I am breaking them down. I am defining what they are. I am making them measurable so that I know when I have achieved them, or at least so I can see how far I have come.
Life just seems to be so hectic these days. With kids and family, work, school and personal commitments, we don’t seem to have a spare moment to catch our breath. Setting goals in this area will not only simplify my life but the effects will follow on into the other goal areas that I have mentioned.
To me, simplifying means a number of things. Reducing the amount of commitments that I allow into my life. Organising myself so that my day to day runs more smoothly. Removing the people from my life that don’t add value. You know the kind? The ones that only call when they want something from you. It means improving my health to allow me to be the best version of myself that I can be. And it means letting go of some of my self imposed expectations of what I should be doing or should have achieved by now.
Setting measurable goals for these are hard. How do I measure how many commitments I should commit to? Or how many negative people I should remove from my life? I struggled with this a little, but then realised that I can make a list of my current commitments. From there, I can decide if any of those are things I can let go of, or remove myself from. With a clear picture of what is left, I can determine if any new commitments are going to interfere with current ones or if I will feel overwhelmed by taking on any more.
The same goes with negative people. I notice a few years back that there was one person in particular that was very draining. She was always friendly, but only seemed to be available for a catch up when she needed her child picked up from school. Or she needed to drop her child early before school because she had a meeting. I never heard from her at any other time, and the broken promises of a return visit for my son, we’re not only affecting me. So I had to draw a line.
Unfortunately, there are others like her that are still in my life. And for my own sanity, that needs to change.
My health is an easier one to measure. My blood test results show areas that need improvement. The scales show weight that needs to be lost. The measuring tape shows way too many centimetres that need to go. All of these are measurable. A health tracker will also show how my anxiety and depression are going. Too many sad faces are not a good thing for anyone.
Letting go my own expectations is a bit harder for me, but I think I have found a way to measure these goals also. Most of the things I need to let go of are projects that I have never completed. So they are a physical box or bag of products. Mostly craft related. Scrapbooking, card making, sewing (though I don’t know what I was thinking there, I can’t sew to save my life!) And a lot of them are attached to memories. The scrapbook album of our trip to America. The boxes and boxes and boxes of schoolwork I have kept of Zac’s. A memory album I was creating for mum before she passed away. All sentimental items. But I need to do something with them. I need to complete them or let them go. Again, a list of all of these projects is going to make it measurable.
Since finding out about minimalism I have totally changed my mindset. I have no interest in accumulating “stuff” anymore. Not physical, digital or emotional. And while I am by no means a minimalist I can honestly say that I love the idea of it. Not having to search through stuff I don’t need to find one thing I do. The idea of not having crap everywhere. The thought of being able to clean and tidy so much faster because there is far less to do. And I love that I have a pretty good vision of how my minimalist life will be.
When people think of minimalism they may think of only being able to own 100 items or less. Or not having a car, or owning a house. I think there are two really great descriptions of minimalism and they from Leo Babauta from Zen Habits and Joshua and Ryan who are The Minimalists.
Leo describes it as:
“It’s simply getting rid of things you do not use or need, leaving an uncluttered, simple environment and an uncluttered, simple life. It’s living without an obsession with material things or an obsession with doing everything and doing too much. Using simple tools, having a simple wardrobe, carrying little and living lightly.”
The Minimalists definition is this:
“Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.”
So this year, I want to concentrate more on minimising the things in my life. Minimise the clutter, the just in case items, the memorabilia, the physical items, as well as digital clutter, and emotional clutter too.
How much easier is it to organise less stuff? Organised clutter is still clutter right? So working to get rid of all the excess first will make the organising process so much easier. Once I have minimised what I own, and what I do, it will be far more manageable to organise what is left. I won’t need to organise the craft supplies all over the house, because I won’t have them. I won’t need to organise the toys and clothes that are no longer used, because they will be gone. And what is left after the minimising stage will only be the items that I love, that are used, or that are useful. No more “just in case” items. Or double ups. No more excess!
The digital age in which we live can be wonderful, but it is also a little bit scary. I have to admit, I have hard drive after hard drive after hard drive, all filled to the brim with photos, memorabilia, home movies, documents, schoolwork, etc.
But what happens if something happens to those hard drives? They aren’t going to last forever! What happens if one of them fails? Or if my house is broken into? Or heaven forbid, there is a fire or a flood and we lose everything. These are irreplaceable memories we are talking about here. Digitising is only the first step in getting rid of all of that paper clutter.
The next step is to create reliable back ups of all of that information too. And let me tell you, this is going to be a mammoth task. Not only do I have several terabytes of data over several different hard drives, but I can guarantee that over half of it will be duplicates. You know how it goes… you back up the computer before you reformat it, then drag all the info you need back on. Then a year later you reformat it again, and do the same. The photos are backed up in two different spots, so again, duplicates… and the list goes on.
The Photo Organizers suggest “The 3-2-1 Backup Strategy”.
“The 3-2-1 backup rule is very simple and has withstood the test of time for protecting digital assets. This rule requires that you have 3 copies of your digital data (photos, videos, documents, etc.) stored on 2 different media or devices with 1 copy located off-site.
This is my ultimate goal as far as digitising my data goes.
So there you have it – My Life Goals
My Life Goals rather than New Years Resolutions. This is where I am starting my journey this year. I would love for you to share your aspirations for the coming year. Leave a comment below. Or send me an email. And feel free to comment on Facebook or Instagram as well. I would love to see you on those platforms too.