As the year draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on 2017. It was a challenging, interesting and exciting year that has flown by, too fast to be honest. A year of memories and firsts, of ups and downs, of exciting recollections which have passed.
Yet with the rush of everyday life, I feel I can only remember certain images I took photos of.
So this year instead of having the same old new years’ resolutions:Join a Gym, Get fit, Eat Healthier. This year, I want to focus on what matters.
Research indicates that only 8% of people actually achieve their new year’s resolutions. So this year I don’t want to focus on resolutions but rather on intentions.
An intention to live a more mindful year with more meaningful memories and experiences. An intention to be present and aware of my surroundings.
A year to be more appreciative of time and not let everyday routine take over.
My 3 main intentions for 2018 are:
1) Be more present
I seem to find myself always planning; planning the next event, holiday, meet-up with friends, dinner and so on and so forth. I find that when the event eventually comes, instead of enjoying it, I find myself planning the next event.
That’s it. Life is too short for this. This year I want to be able to live more ‘in the now’.
I want to enjoy the present moment as if it were the very first time, which technically it is.
I recently started reading up on having a more ’mindful’ approach to life. And although mindfulness seems to be one of those ‘it’ words and practices, it makes so much sense.
Mindfulness is the practice of cultivating a focused awareness on the present moment.
I want to be more aware by paying more attention on what’s happening in the present around me. With all the distractions around us, how many of us can really say we are fully aware of what is happening at that very moment?
Half the time our minds are all over the place and I find it very hard sustaining attention. So I started to take time to really take in my surroundings: what I’m feeling and hearing; what the temperature is like; the smells, and so on.
If I start doing this more frequently, I feel I can appreciate and have more meaningful memories with my family and friends.
2) Put down the phone
We live in an amazing world of technology, but it’s taking over. It’s as if we can’t do anything anymore without it.
When was the last time you went out and left your mobile in the bag and didn’t pick it up at all?
Yes, we have kids, but if an emergency happens people can contact you, as they did before mobiles were around. I’m not pointing any fingers, as I’m as guilty as ever at this.
Screen time has also started to dilute our understanding of non-verbal abilities such as interpreting what a person’s facial expression or body language means.
Recently I was watching a speech by Simon Sinek. He spoke about how engagement on social media and mobile phone usage, releases a chemical called dopamine, the exact same chemical which makes us feel good when we smoke or drink. In other words, it’s highly addictive.
Do I really need to know what people on RUBS are complaining about now?
Mobile phones are becoming such a distraction in our everyday life, no wonder I often say I don’t have time to read a book, or cook the Julia Child recipe I’ve been trying to cook all year.
How can we do this if half the time we are glued to our phones?
So 2018, here is to me putting away my phone and focusing on the real more.
3) Create new family traditions
Over the past year I have come to love the weekends. Not because I don’t need to wake up at 7:30am, but simply because weekend time is family breakfast time.
It’s the time my son looks forward to on weekends and has started asking for. It’s a time when I enjoy making pancakes, fresh oranges, waffles, cereal, you name it. The fun in it is we take some time as a family to sit down together first thing in the morning. We talk about the day ahead and I really feel this starts my day in such a special way.
I wish I could do this daily, but realistically I can barely drag myself out of bed at 7, so waking up to cook breakfast only adds extra pressure.
Weekend breakfast is a family tradition which I am loving.
So besides breakfast I would like to create new experiences throughout the year. To have more outdoor experiences which will hopefully become new family escapades. To be able to awaken our outdoor senses and step into the unknown a little more.
All summer I wanted to go kayaking with the family. We are so lucky to live on this island and be surrounded by such beauty and I always found an excuse why we shouldn’t go.
These adventures are important and I need to find time for them. So whether it’s kayaking, or taking my dog out more to enjoy our countryside with my family, or even going on a non-traditional holiday that doesn’t include theme parks or shops. This year is the year I’m going to make time for these things. I’m going to make nature more prominent in my family’s life.
Spending time in nature is one of the most powerful ways to give ourselves a mental reboot and reinstate a sense of ease and wonder.
So no more excuses, adventures await!
This year I lost my grandfather, who was very dear to my heart. This taught me to appreciate what I have, before time makes me appreciate what I had. The greatest gift we can give people is our time, so treasure it. So this festive season, take the time to appreciate the small details.
Take time to take visual photographs of your family and friends, appreciate them and tell them this.
And for heaven’s sake, put your phone down 😉