Looking forward

This past year has actually been one of my best years in a very long time. I have never been one to make resolutions but I did come across something that appealed to me: coming up with 3 words that will guide your year. In 2012, I chose harmony, reduce and listen.

Harmony helped me too remember to take time to breathe and look after myself. In short, my goal was to become more harmonious with the world around me instead of trying to fight it all the time. This one paid off immeasurably. My anxiety levels have reduced greatly. I became a more patient leader instead of always just trying to get things done and seeing obstacles. Where this paid the biggest dividends though was in my health. I am feeling so much better than I did this time last year. My ulcerative colitis is relatively under control. My pain levels have decreased to the point that I no longer need daily morphine to cope. I have also focused on self-care. I take many opportunities throughout the day to do things that nurture me.

The word reduce helped me to focus on reducing all sorts of things in my life. Particularly this one was about consumption. I didn’t buy any new gadgets in 2012. I also reduced my consumption of processed foods to the point where the only things I eat that come from a factory are some cereal and bread occasionally. I believe this has also helped me to feel better. I have focused my diet on whole foods and making stuff at home. I am not perfect at this by any means but great strides have been made.

Listen was really important for me in 2012. Quite often I don’t listen to people and instead I rush ahead with a conclusion before I have even heard people out. This lead to a great deal of increased stress as I could be defensive and annoy other people. I am also starting to learn to be with people in the moment – even if that moment is a silent one. Giving people the space to express themselves has enriched my life in numerous ways.

On to 2013! Three words was so wildly successful for 2012 that I am doing it again this year. The words for 2013 are: harmony, systems and openness.

I have chosen harmony again as I think there is a lot more progress I can make. I also now see how I can roll reduce and listen into harmony. I love how it all interplayed. In fact, 2012’s words all focused on making my life more harmonious and enjoyable.

I have chosen systems because I would like to see more organization in my life. I spend far too much time not being productive because I am trying to remember what I have to do. It stresses me out when I lay in bed at night and my undone to-do list of the day rears its ugly head as I try to fall asleep. I have tried task management apps, lists, so many different things and I have not found a way to keep track of what I need to do. The main part of the problem is that I don’t actually look at my tracking system. I think I have devised a way that I may be able to fix this but it is too soon to tell! I also want to focus on other systems in my life like organization at home.

Openness is a word that grew out of my visit to another refugee service provider. One of their values was mutual transformation. For them, they see every interaction they have with another human being as an opportunity for mutual transformation. This idea speaks to me on so many levels. As I can only control myself[1], I cannot use this as one of my goals for the year. However, I can control me and I can be open to new people, knowledge and experiences. Some of the richest experiences in my life have come by me letting go and being open to the experience.

So that sums up my 2013 plans!


[1] See Harmony above.