Thriving in 2022

Welcome to 2022!!! Your generous and enthusiastic responses to my recent blog on making a list of 21 learnings in 2021 warmed my heart and gave me a buzz. Thank you.

How did you go making your list? I got up to 16 items relatively easily, then stalled. I asked a couple of close friends for input and bingo! I got to 21 rapidly. My list is both poignant and playful. There are learnings that bring smiles and others that are sober. That’s all part of life.

During my ‘time out’ here at the beach I’ve been re-reading some journal entries from this idyllic restful week from 9 years ago to more recently. It was confronting to see some recurring themes that demonstrated less than ideal progress in making changes and simultaneously rewarding to be reminded of how far I have travelled, the experiences I’ve relished, even the scars that have been added (proof of surviving outside my comfort zone).

Now it’s time to move on from reflecting on the past, this is an ideal time to set some intentions for 2022. Before you immediately check out at the thought of ‘New Years Resolution’, I implore you to consider that whether you write some goals down or not, your thoughts on what you’ll focus on this year WILL heavily influence how it plays out, so why not weigh into possibility?

There are three components to this process which I find helpful.

The first one is to choose a word for the year. A theme to guide and inspire you throughout the year. In 2019 I chose ‘curious’, in 2020 ‘wonder’ followed by ‘agility’ in 2021 which I changed in July to ‘pause’. I’ve got my 2022 word lined up and when I looked it up in the dictionary this morning, I was excited that it encompassed more than I had first considered. I’ll share it in another blog soon.

Secondly, write a page on ‘my life in five years’. This playful exercise is surprisingly powerful. It’s important to write it in the present tense, for example “it’s January 15th 2027, I am sitting…….” Then continue describing your life at that moment. This week I’ve reread some of the ones I’ve written in past years and it’s uncanny how much of what I’ve written has influenced decisions I’ve made, places I’ve been and projects I’ve immersed myself in. In January 2016 I wrote about about my life in 2021 and it included the words “I love reaching out to people through my blog”– and I didn’t have one then, now I have one that is expanding!

Thirdly, on a large piece of paper put the following headings:

  • Love (family, home, travel)
  • Health (exercise, nutrition, rest, mind)
  • Career
  • Learning
  • Financial Freedom
  • Spirit

Then do a brain dump, putting anything you’d like to accomplish this year under the respective headings. I like to continue adding to this rough draft for the month of January before taking time to consider it more carefully, highlighting the 3 items on the page I want to focus on first. Oliver Burkeman in ‘Four Thousand Weeks’ suggests that you limit your work in progress to avoid overwhelm. His recommends focusing on a maximum of 3 projects at a time,  and completing (or abandoning if it’s not longer applicable) one before focusing on another. This is especially helpful for large and challenging projects. I will continue to encourage you to ensure that you’re maintaining balance by incorporating healthy habits, connection with others and creativity in each day.

What’s all that got to do with the photo captioned “Castles are not built in a day”? Castles are often associated with fairytales. Some people refer to the ‘my life in five years’ as a ‘fairytale exercise’, and in some ways it is. We don’t have control over all the circumstances that shape our lives. However we do choose how we respond.

Remember to bring a fun, playful mind set to the process of doing these exercises. It’s great to have some big hairy audacious items on it and  it’s OK to amend the list you’ve made, or choose to focus on a different item. Do it and I promise you’ll be amazed looking back in 12 months time.

I’d love to hear what word you choose for your personal theme this year.

May today be filled with vitality,


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