Much ado is made of January 1st and resolutions - and for good reason. We all want to believe we can better ourselves and change bad habits. Much like starting a new diet on Monday, New Years Day provides a starting point that the whole world can get behind.
I have both stuck with and broken many resolutions over the years. But like with most goals, the idea and the vision in my head of what life would be like once I made those changes is far more romantic than the reality. The reality is we have deeply cut neural pathways that define our behavior - and changing those habits is a feat like no other.
I don't know about you, but although I know myself to be a fiercely determined individual - I'm not really keen on setting myself up for negative self-talk from the beginning of the year.
Instead, I have decided on a one-word theme for 2016: SIMPLE
Simple is defined as: not hard to understand or do; having few parts; not complex or fancy; not special or unusual.
2015 was strange, thrilling, and obnoxiously full of self-discovery for me. I parted ways with the social media agency I worked for, decided to forge my own path, wrangled with a toddler, anxiety, and self-doubt. I also met some amazing people both online and off that have supported me and cheered me on.
Creating a SIMPLE way of living and conducting my business reaches into every corner of my day - with my business, my family and friends, and my lifestyle (food/exercise).
As I have gotten more and more fine-tuned with my client process and my own business, I have discovered that simplicity equals productivity.
It started with creating a social media engagement checklist to keep me on track with daily social media tasks and not sucked into the hole of Facebook. Not only am I able to accomplish my job quickly, but my VIP email signups love it too.
As I grew my business, I had more and more interactions with potential clients that took some critical thinking and patience. As every small business owner knows, it is so hard to turn down clients - but you quickly realize not everyone is a great fit - and the ones that aren't end up costing you far more in time and money (...and peace of mind ...and they can bring out homicidal tendencies).
I have always been one to know and trust my instincts, and that has proven to serve me with clients as well. I can tell through a simple conversation (NOT picking my brain over coffee) if I am going to love working with a client and vice versa.
Starting my business also meant I had to adjust to everything that comes along with working from home. You start off thinking you can do it all...then quickly realize there are simply not enough hours in the day for your homemaker/ruler of the universe dreams. Stay tuned for a big announcement on that subject in spring of 2016.
I deal with a sometimes crushing level of anxiety that started in a less-than-pleasant childhood and has continued to manifest its ugliness in adulthood. I learned to deal with anxiety by using food to feel better - which obviously isn't healthy mentally or physically. Couple that with starting a new business and working from home, and it's a recipe (couldn't resist #sorrynotsorry) for disaster.
I could spend all day on Pinterest planning out complicated batch cooking, recipes lists, and grocery shopping plans - but the reality is I can barely get the laundry done, let alone chop vegetables I don't even like for 2 hours, so that is not an achievable or exciting goal for me - it just feels more stressful. I also know from experience that if I throw away all "unapproved" foods in the house, I'll jut crave them more and fall off the wagon hard. Add in a hubby with weird food issues and a toddler...and oh for f*cks sake...no thanks.
I picked up Tim Ferriss' new book "The 4-Hour Body" about a month ago. It's a huge compendium of information, and I have only delved into certain sections - mainly diet and exercise. Tim's whole premise is simplicity and doing the "Minimum Effective Dose" to achieve your desired results. I'm not going to go into all the details, but let's just say 6 out of 7 days a week my meals now involve a lean protein, legume, and veggies. My exercise involves walking and one kettlebell move. That's it - and I'm seeing results. Minimum effort, simple food, no stressing or over-thinking. Yes, please.
When I started my business, I got very different reactions from friends. I quickly realized their reactions were about them and their fears, not me. Some people felt threatened, some confused, some encouraged me. After giving my all to my family and my business, there is just not a lot of time left for friend drama. I have some amazing friends that I always make time for and some people who have fallen off the radar.
That might sound cold and lame - but I can't tell you how freeing and energizing it is to not take on the stress of friendships that really drag you down (whether you're conscious of it or not). I don't know how else to explain it, other that to be trite and say,
"Life is short. Don't put up with other people's bullshit."
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This area of my life is my first priority, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to spend serious quality time with my kiddo. She goes to preschool 4 days a week, and Fridays are just her and me. While sometimes I'm literally counting down to bath time with a glass of wine in my hand, I know I'll never get this time back with her and she currently thinks I'm the coolest human being ever.
What that means is that I'm trying to squeeze an entrepreneur's week into Monday-Thursday as I do not do client work on Fridays. What kind of quality time would it be if I was answering emails on my phone while we were at the park?? I left the corporate BS for a reason, and I'm truly done with it.
I also know that from 4pm-7pm is family time during the week, and no client email/calls are allowed. Simple. I know my boundaries, and the people I love know that putting them first is not negotiable.
So there you have it. All four areas of my life in 2016 will be measured in simplicity. If it's complicated, stressful, negative, and/or bullshit - it goes. This is not to be confused with challenging and helping me grow in some way - both of which are things I crave.
I would love to hear if you have a yearly theme or resolutions - please tell me below!