Sunday, 1 January 2017

A look back at 2016

  • 2016; what a year! We’ve seen surprising election results, a real problem in the refugee crisis and more celebrities have died than I could possibly count. But it’s important to remember the good things too, because globally, there have been many. Environmentally, we’ve witnessed a plane travel around the world using only solar energy, and volunteers in India planted 50 million trees in one day.

Sometimes it’s so easy to focus on the negatives. I’ve learnt this year that this will only bring you down. Life’s about making your own happiness, regardless of any irritating, disappointing or crazy decisions made by others.

So, despite everything that’s gone on globally and even personally that’s got me down a little, here’s a summary of why 2016 has actually been a pretty good year:

  •  I’ve explored. I’ve visited Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Italy. I’ve tasted new foods. I’ve walked, cycled, rowed and punted miles and miles, taking in the sights and the cultures.

  •  I’ve formed my own business, with an online shop that went live this week. You can see my bits and bobs here.

  • I've created some deliiiicious dishes in the kitchen

  • I got my first car and with that came the freedom to see more.
  • I’ve survived, maybe even thrived, during a challenging year at work. This included graduating from my PGCE and being awarded ‘outstanding’ status.

  • I went to my first ever music festival and had an amazing time.

  • And I've had some pretty great people keeping me company along the way.

On a teaching course I went on in the autumn, I heard about Covey’s circles: the circle of concern and the circle of influence. He stated that we should focus on improving issues that are within our circle of influence. Things will happen that we can’t do much about. Yes, it’s annoying when it does. You can grumble about it for a while. But if you can’t fix it, stop worrying. Make your day better by concentrating on things that you can change.

Reflecting now, I’ve not been the best at that this year. In my job, in the political spectrum, in my personal life, I’ve let things get on top of me that I can’t solve. I wasted time ranting and raging about things that actually mean very little in the long run, rather than getting on with my lengthy to-do lists, thus creating even more stress.

In 2017, I want that to change.

My key resolution, the one that underpins everything I want to be and achieve moving forwards, is to focus on what’s in my circle of influence.

Sure, these can be segmented further:

I really should lose weight and get fitter. I’ll hopefully find an exercise I enjoy to help with that.

I want to build my business up further, expanding my range in terms of both designs and products.

I need, for my sanity really, to stop letting work take over, and build in more time for myself to do both the things I love and the stuff that needs doing, like maybe keeping the house a bit tidier.

I hope I’ll be able to see friends and family more, spending quality time with those I love and ringing people for a catch up rather than texting 2 weeks late.

Ultimately though, I need to realise that these are all things that I can change. These are things I need to focus on putting right. The other stuff, that I spend far too long complaining about sometimes, needs forgetting. I think I’ll find it hard, but eventually, the positivity will win. The drive and motivation to see the brighter side will come out in force, and I’ll realise that I’m happier when I look at life like it’s a cup that’s half full, not half empty.

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