Certain times of the year can prompt us to review our lives. It may be a new year, an anniversary, a significant birthday that motivates us to pause awhile and reflect on where we are, on what we’ve done with our lives and what we’d like to do next.
For some this could be a pleasurable few moments of reflection. We’ve achieved much of what we aimed for, have good relationships, lovely children, a successful career or business, good quality of life and so we smile, feeling proud, content, looking forward to the year ahead with enthusiasm. But for others this reflection can result in an, ‘is this it?’ response, followed by perhaps feeling stuck in a rut, trapped by circumstances and unsure what next steps might be possible.
A variety of constraints and limitations, fear of rocking the boat and the potential impact of changes may deter further thought. And yet so many people hit their forties, fifties or even sixties and feel they’ve missed out. Rather than be that person, why not use the new year as a natural start to a new phase of life and a new you?
The routine of daily life often means we face many pressing demands. There’s no time for self-reflection when we have to think about work, finances, children and family as well as maybe spiritual concerns. Postponing changes for several years may seem to be the only course of action, but taking time to thoroughly consider our situation may open our thinking to other possibilities, rather than simply becoming resigned to saying, ‘I’ll wait until the business is bigger, the children are older or there’s someone to pass it on to’.
Certain responsibilities cannot change, but there might be some capacity for small adjustments which bring positive benefits into your life. Change doesn’t automatically require major upheaval. Simply revising your perspective may enable you to return to your everyday life with a calmer, healthier attitude, feeling settled and in a better place.
Deciding that a new year is time for a new you can motivate you to positively adjust your viewpoint and become more flexible and tolerant. Interestingly, those minor changes often make life more pleasant for everyone else too. Don’t forget that our priorities often evolve over time. Those earlier ones may now have morphed into caring for older relatives, our children have now grown up and don’t need us in the same way. We may have an established reputation and be comfortable financially, have a settled relationship or be free of a difficult partner.
Let’s look at some steps which support a new year and a new you:
Commit to making regular time for things that bring meaning and satisfaction into your life.
Then you’re able to start the new year well, with good habits that help you manage stress and pressure. Take regular breaks, wind down, eat well and exercise frequently. If necessary, give yourself time to grieve, recover from a breakup, heal after a change in circumstances or have some space after a hectic time or period of illness before you reflect on what you want to happen next.
Learn to delegate.
Appraisals can help you assess ways to develop staff and maximise their skills and talents. This improves their engagement and commitment to the business, whilst enhancing their personal and professional competencies. It also frees you to focus on your key skills, without needing to control everything yourself.
Outsource tasks that take too much of your time or are outside your area of expertise. Accounts, social media, PR or domestic chores like cleaning or gardening may be better done by someone else, allowing you to invest your time more productively.
Enhance your relationships.
Is it time to add interest to your work by learning new skills or even forming relationships with complementary businesses and opening up new doors, so extending your reach?
Nurture your relationships, both professional and personal.
Commit to regular quality time with the significant people in your life and be part of each other’s support systems.
Are your friendships working well for you?
Do you spend your free time with the ‘right’ people who inspire you? Do they support you and your dreams or are they in your life simply by default? A new year can prompt you to refresh your close circle and introduce people who are more positive into the mix.
Do your spiritual and core values need attention?
Whilst you may not be able to radically alter your life there may be scope to invest in your core values and spiritual wellbeing. Helping others, volunteering and charity work can bring real satisfaction to your life. As a business owner you’ve probably grafted long and hard to get where you are, making many sacrifices whilst establishing your reputation.
A new year can be the time to check how that’s going for you.
By re-establishing your priorities and finding positive ways to better care for yourself and the things that are important in your life you can invest in your new year today.
Susan Leigh MNCH (ACC)
Altrincham, Cheshire and South Manchester counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer and media contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and confidence. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support.
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