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The creep up to the new year is, in our books, perhaps one of the most exciting times of year. It’s a bit like a ‘life’ equivalent of packing your suitcases for your holidays. You know roughly what it’s going to be like when you get there but you just need to get everything in order to take with you.
It’s the ultimate ‘lose it or use it’ time of year (and we don’t just mean the extra few pounds that might have appeared as if from nowhere with Christmas magic – oh my goodness, the mince pies, the cake, the cheese, the nibbles, the chocolates, the little extras, the food, the food, the food!).
Generally, we’re of the view that if something isn’t working, or working out for you despite best efforts, it should go in the ‘not taking this into the new year’ pile. Every year we accumulate so much ‘stuff’. Material things, problems, challenges, gadgets, just…stuff, and this is perhaps the best time of year to stop, take stock of life and work out what we want our new year to look like.
That 365-page book of crisp white empty pages waiting to be filled.
Isn’t that the most exciting thought? To think that you can actually choose what stories go into the book? In many ways that’s what life is about. A collection of stories and characters and plots with twists and turns. Yes we know that there are lots and lots of things that will happen that we can’t predict or know about right now but we can start to shape the 12 chapters of 2018 pretty well if we take time to think ‘What do I want my 2018 book to be about?’ How often do any of us ask ourselves something like that; to allow time to let our thoughts drift from reality to dreams and then back again, taking some of these dreams into our new year?
It doesn’t matter whether your 2017 was rubbish or rockin’ (we really hope it rocked…), 2017 is very almost in the past and the bright lights of 2018 lie ahead.
It’s your opportunity to do that thing, visit that place, buy that book, get into something that you always wanted to do but thought was for ‘other people’. You want to be able to look back on 2018 and think, “That was a pretty good book and I’m in a great place”.
New Year has traditionally been about making resolutions, the things you will usually resolve to stop doing or do less off. Maybe it’s time to turn all of that on its head and look at it a different way by taking time to plan realistically (with the right sprinkling of dreams and passion) what we want 2018 to look like and who we want to be in 2018.
Here’s our guide to approaching the new year with little nuggets on how to plan to have the best one yet
1. 2017 Highlights
Write a list of all of your highlights from 2017 – the things you achieved and worked hard for, new experiences you gave yourself that you had always wanted to have, places you visited and loved, moments that made you feel amazing! It’s too easy to gloss over a year with the ‘where did time go?’ cliché but actually, when we write stuff like this down we can amaze ourselves with what we’ve managed to do in 12 months, and it gives us the boost we might need at this time of year when quite frankly, we all get a bit tired and emotional. A brilliant exercise to do to remind ourselves that yes, we can do it!
You know the drill… Don’t take anything into the new year that isn’t beautiful, useful or valuable. Be ruthless! Aim to start 2018 with as much of your life in order as possible – (yes that includes your wardrobe…).
You can’t declutter without the BIG clean (actually we think this should be a quarterly thing to avoid that ‘I want to run away from my life’ feeling you get before embarking on such a brave task. The period between Christmas and New Year is the ideal time to do it and the task can be a whole lot less daunting (and you can cut the time in half) by taking time to wander round the house with your notepad and make a list, room by room of everything that you need to do in that room to make it ship shape for 2018. Put the date in your diary for the clean and on cleaning day, arm yourself with your products, dusters, cleaning ‘mix tape’ and enjoy that amazing feeling of satisfaction as you transform your home into a sparkling space.
Usually the last few weeks in December are spent limping towards the finish line of ‘last day in the office’ and just getting through it, so any thoughts of the New Year and our professional goals just disappear down the drain really as we fall over the finish line.
Yes, it’s a slightly grim thought, that whole first day back in January thing but it’s always always much easier than you think and the January dread shouldn’t stop you from thinking beyond that and having a ponder about your professional goals in 2018. It’s fine to dream big but whatever your goals are, they’ll be a lot easier to achieve if you make them SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound. Give yourself realistic goals that you can work steadily work towards. Then you’ll reach them!
5. Project Home
What needs doing around the home, inside and out and how are you going to do it?
We have such busy lives that come the weekends, we end up playing catch up on everything that didn’t get done the week before plus try to get organised for the week ahead. We rarely have enough time to devote to garden and house projects, unless of course they’re broken down into manageable milestones, or you have no choice because your front door is hanging off. Otherwise these kind of jobs just don’t get done and you’ll find yourself getting frustrated and angsty.
Even devoting an hour a week to ‘Project Home’ is better than living with that feeling of complete overwhelm every time you look at whatever it is – the room that needs painted, the flat pack chest of drawers that are propped up against the wall in a box, the unfinished decking in the garden, the front door hanging off. Start drafting your 2018 ‘Project Home’ and most importantly break it down! (Not your actual home…although we know you might feel tempted to).
You don’t need us to tell you that family life can feel pressured and tough at times. The meals, the sports clubs, the parent taxi service, the endless birthday parties, the squabbles, the emails that are flying in from work when you’re doing homework hour or stirring a pot, the conversations you seem to have with yourself because everyone else is staring at their screens. And laughing. None of it is easy, in fact it’s all completely exhausting and there absolutely have to be moments of joy in all of that otherwise you’re just a sad, stressed hamster in a wheel.
As much as every parent wants to feel they’re nailing it on all fronts, it’s just simply not possible to be acing everything at the one time, so it really comes to priorities and getting the basics right. In our minds, there is nothing more important than family time. Not forced family fun with grumpy teenagers and tantrum filled toddlers which ultimately makes you feel seriously stressed. We mean creating a routine event that brings you together, even if you are barely checking in with each other all week or conversations are constructed entirely from one syllable.
Some of the things us Caorunners do…
It’s so easy to jump straight into the next task of clearing up the dishes, getting the homework books out, catching up on emails and so on when actually, 15 minutes of quality family time might just make things a lot easier and heaps better for everyone. When we mean questions, we mean the ‘out there stuff’. If you could have one wish..? If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be…? What would your superpower be? If you could have a different name, what would it be? Not the ‘So how was your day?’, because nobody ever got a meaningful answer to that question! Think about creating new opportunities for strengthening in the bonds within your family in 2018.
7. Project You
At the centre of everything, is you. We often lose sight of that. We are pulled in so many directions in life that any ‘me time’ is usually the scraps of the day that are left over. To run that machine that is ‘Your Life’, and to give everything and everyone of you the best of you, you have to focus on you and make sure that you is a happy you. Think about the ‘you’ you want to be in 2018 and make a ‘You Plan’.
What do you want to do in 2018? What do you want to be in 2018? What things are you going to have to do to enable you to do and be who and what you want?
Grab a notepad and draw out three columns:
From there you’ll be able to focus on doing the things you need to do to get to the place you want to be. Whether it’s a weight loss goal, or becoming better at something you do in life (could be cooking, running, yoga or just getting to work on time every day…), making a dream trip a reality or just having more time to yourself each week. Pretty much everything is doable in life with passion, a dream and a plan.
We are delighted to have been part of your 2017 – we really hope that it’s been a good one for you.
Whatever you have planned for Hogmanay and bringing in the new year, we very much hope that we’ll be there in spirit. Our clever Caorunn cocktail crew have been busy perfecting some special tipples to make sure you breeze into 2018 in style, whether you’re hosting a party or enjoying a smaller soiree.