With the new year around the corner, it naturally becomes a time of reflection. We often want to forward plan and think about the kind of person we want to be in the year ahead. What goals we want to achieve. What milestones are ahead of us.
Looking back we can often get caught up in all the things we haven’t done yet. There is a quote that says something along the lines of people over estimate what we can do in a year, but under estimate what we can do within 5 years.
I’m guilty of this. I overestimate what I can do in one morning, squeezing in extra tasks and then realising I still need to get myself and the kids dressed before heading out for the day. Always looking ahead and wanting to achieve and do it all now. Pushing forward without listening to what I really need.
I’m the first to say I love living in my head, day dreaming and imagining all the possibilities. But it really is true that when you physically move and put things into action that you gain further insights.
I remember climbing a mountain a year ago at a course I was attending. Now, I’m not the fittest person, and I was also unwell. I knew it was going to be a challenge for me. But it was the mindset and mental self talk that really surprised me.
I lost my breath very quickly but I still kept going thinking I needed to keep up with every one.
Lesson 1 – there’s only one race that matters and that’s yours. Keep to your own lane.
As it slowly dawned on me that I didn’t need to worry about what others were doing, I gave myself permission to slow down and stop to gather my breath, and continue to walk a pace that suited me and continue to take regular breaks.
Lesson 2 – listen to your body and work with it, not against it.
And by taking these regular breaks, this allowed me to appreciate my physical surroundings, watching the sun rise over the beach, and the natural playscape I was in.
Lesson 3 – don’t be so caught up by the destination that you forget to enjoy the journey along the way.
This was a real real eye opening experience for me as I realised just how often I was rushing past in life. Always doing and pushing for more, and feeling guilty when I wasn’t. It would lead into this all or nothing cycle. Where I was completely flat out or I would just do nothing.
So my aim is to be somewhere in the middle. While I’m not perfect, I’m slowly getting the hang of it. I’m learning to listen to my body and take notice when it wants me to slow down.
I’ve learnt that by pulling back and slowing down doesn’t make me a failure. I’m in this for the long haul. I’m happy to be able to achieve my goals within a five year plan, ecstatic even.
So when I start my end of year review, I won’t be frustrated or get down on what I haven’t done. Instead I’ll take the time to focus on all the moments I was there for and how I’m sowing the seeds for the future.