Yearly review 2016 – contentment in the calm

I am going to look back fondly on 2016. It wasn’t a perfect year, I don’t think there will ever be such a thing, but it was a year where I felt great contentment.

My contentment wasn’t because of massive achievements or grand events, but it was contentment from the small things. My contentment came from:

  • learning to disconnect from social media
  • learning to take time to just sit in the sun
  • developing a meditation practice
  • developing a yoga practice
  • enjoying dinner time conversations with the kids
  • reading more
  • learning to let go with the kids as they need me to
  • completing small craft projects

And the most heartening thing about this observation of my year, is that everything listed above is something that I can continue into the new year without arduous effort.

creativity and calm board green

My goal for the year was to create space in my life for creativity and calm. Having this single focus was my guiding light through out the year. It helped me make better decisions. It helped me determine my priorities. It helped me remember amongst the daily chaos of family life, what was important to me.

Struggling with the creativity component

If you have been reading my monthly reviews through out the year, you will know that I really struggled with the creativity component of my goal. I summed up my struggles in my July monthly review as follows:

If I am truly honest with myself, I think there are a few things preventing me from establishing this habit:

  • In a hang over from my addiction to being busy and being productive all the time, I allow other activities to crowd out time for creativity.
  • I have been working on a project for my work which requires me to use my creativity. After a day working a lot on this project, I just don’t feel like “being creative”. I would rather do something more passive like read a book or listen to a podcast.
  • It feels a little forced – now is time I need to be creative!

I asked readers for help with my struggles and I had so much wonderful advice and tips, that did really help me get on track with my creativity habit. The key messages for me were:

  • Define what creativity means to me – this could be very different to what it means to you and that is ok.
  • Let go of attaching outcomes or results to my creativity time – as a hard core goal setter, I find it difficult to just do stuff. I was building up the expectation of my creativity session way too much, making myself feel more pressured and stressed to achieve something each session. This was exactly the opposite of what I was trying to achieve.
  • Small is ok and take joy in anytime spent on creativity, don’t spend time worrying I should have done more.
  • My work requires creativity.

I think when I set the goal, I didn’t have a clear idea of what creativity meant to me, or more importantly what I wanted creativity to look like for me in 2016.

In hindsight, what I think I was after was something more hobby oriented. I work, I exercise, I look after the family, but rarely sit and spend time on something “creative” just because I want to.

The underlying aim was to slow down and spend time on things I like to do. Setting the creativity habit of three hours a week, didn’t capture this properly.

Learning from 2016

I have been goal setting for 10 plus years, but I still make mistakes with it. 2016 has been a wonderful and successful year for me, but I didn’t achieve my goal for the entirety of the year.

I am completely okay with that, because through out the year I took time to reflect, adjust and redirect myself as I needed to. My experiences this year, will hopefully help me set a better goal for 2017. As I noted at the start of this review, I have finished the year with an overall feeling of contentment.

This is why I find yearly reviews such an important part of the goal setting process. I need to review what has happened in the previous year and learn form what has happened and take these lessons into my goal setting process for the following year.

HabitConnection to goalMonthly progress
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. I don't think I will ever go back to having an overflowing wardrobe again. Having fewer pieces makes me feel lighter and makes deciding what to wear so much easier.
How to simplify your wardrobe.
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.You can read how I finally achieved it in this post -
Monthly review – planning and persevering

This is a habit that I will always need to pay attention to. It is a habit for me that actually has two supporting habits to make sure I achieve it - meditation and getting enough sleep.

I prefer the non complaining me to the complaining me, so will continue to work on this.
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.You can read how I built my meditation habit here -
Monthly review – building a meditation habit

I will keep up my meditation practice for 2017. The positive impact it has on me and therefore the family is so beneficial.
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.I changed my plan on how I am tackling decluttering which you can read here.

I really still want to work on ridding our house of stuff and found the project approach worked well for me, so will continue with that.
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. I struggled with this aspect for a lot of this year and as noted above much of my problem was what I was defining as creativity. I will still want to spend time on creative pursuits, but I will not have a set metric for it in 2017.

What about you? How did 2016 go for you?