2016 – creating space

Happy New Year! I hope 2016 has started of with love, happiness and contentment for you and your families.

In this post I will share with you my goal for 2016, why I decided on this and what I plan to do to help me achieve it. In a follow up post I will provide some tips on how to go about setting your personal goal for the new year if you have not done so already.

Create space in my life for creativity and calm

I learnt a significant amount from having my single personal goal in 2015. You can read my end of year review here, but to summarise:

  • I am happier and calmer (a better mother) when I am not rushing from one thing to another.
  • I was able to work less hours but still produce high quality and the appropriate quantity of work – I work well with deadlines and without them can spend way too much time on tasks.
  • Slowing down in one capacity, that is work, has a positive impact on other areas of my life.
  • The urge to speed up is something I have to manage. I need to learn to rest and recover more.
  • As much as I love routine, I also love variety.

I sat on these reflections for some time, when early one morning after I came back in from a run, I had the urge to write this:

2016 white space

The term white space symbolised how I was feeling:

  • The need to have more room to move both physically and mentally.
  • To have more space in my head to think about things that are important to me.
  • To have more clarity through simplicity.
  • To have a blank canvas as a base for creating.
  • The need for calm.

“White space” though is not a very descriptive goal, so I pondered this some more as I wanted a phrase to represent this. I loved having a short simple statement goal to focus on last year. And then one morning as I was writing notes in my gratitude journal it came to me – Create space in my life for creativity and calm

creativity and calm board green

As with last year I wanted to have strategies planned to help me achieve my goal. Going over previous successful achievement of goals there is one consistent contributing factor – habits. Taking time to create habits to support your goal is critical to goal achievement. In the book The ONE Thing, the author’s make reference to advice comedian Jerry Seinfeld gave to a young comic:

He revealed a unique calendar system he uses to pressure himself to write. Here’s how it works.

He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.

He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”

“Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis. {source}

This approach works for me. I have changed many habits and adopted new ones by sticking at something for a period long enough for it to become a habit. For example, my change to a wholefood approach to food came from undertaking a challenge at my CrossFit gym which ran for four weeks. I never went back to my old way of eating once I had my new habit.

In the table below I have listed my strategies or new habits for 2016 to help me achieve my goal of creating space in my life for creativity and calm. I have written a brief description for each, but will write in greater detail on each of them over the next few months.

HabitConnection to goal
37 pieces of clothing per season
Decision fatigue is a real thing - less clothes to choose from will free up mental energy! I am going to simplify my wardrobe to make choosing what to wear easier and having less items in my wardrobe will give me back needed physical space.
33 consecutive complaint free daysComplaining spreads negativity and I have so much to be grateful for. It is hard to be calm or creative when your mind is full of negativity. I have half heartedly worked on complaining less before, but to become a habit I need to track and measure it.
33 consecutive days of meditationI have dabbled a little with meditation and it makes a huge difference to the noise in my head. It makes me feel calmer, but I am yet to do this regularly. Doing so will help create an inner calm in my life regardless of the chaos around me.
33 items decluttered from the house each weekOn the surface our house looks relatively clutter free, but there are over flowing cupboards and drawers. Decluttering will give me a greater feeling of space and calm.
3 hours a week for creativityTime for creativity never made it to the top of my to do list as I didn't give it the value it deserved. If you want something to happen you have to schedule it.

Have you set a goal for 2016? If so I would love to hear what it is!