Your guide to planning a purposeful, peaceful and abundant year ahead
(If you're ready to get planning ASAP and skip the preamble - it's worth a read, I promise but I know you're busy ;) - your new year Planner starts halfway down this post)
I often see parallel themes in my coaching and my personal life and as I’ve reflected on 2017, one in particular has really jumped out…
Much of our stress is our own creation.
We tend to fill our metaphorical plates to the brim and then some...and then we complain that we’re so busy all the time. The to-do list only seems to get longer and more overwhelming...but it's because we're adding things to it! We know we’re stressed and that we should really do something about it…but we turn a blind eye and keep pushing though.
You know the feeling – craving a holiday, answering every ‘how are you?’ with ‘busy!!’, sacrificing your sleep and health, racing from one engagement to another, mind overflowing with thoughts, a constant undercurrent of niggling anxiety.
The reality is, lots of the things on our plate are there because we put them there! Most of our stress is caused by choices we’ve made (and the good news is, we can make choices to remove stress too – more on this shortly).
I’ve seen this in a big way in my own life last year – if I had to choose one word to describe my year, it would be relentless. I’m pretty good with keeping up my self care and prioritising the things I enjoy but work-wise, this year was full of far too much nitty gritty adminny jobs (that I find boring and tiring) and hardly any time left over for creativity. I barely had energy and space to write a blog post or record a video this year because my energy was being burned up with other aspects of my work (not to mention renovating + planning our wedding!).
This year, I’ll be simplifying big time and prioritising more of the juicy creative projects (more blogs, resources, and a book), travel (hello honeymoon to Italy!), and pursuing interests that have fallen to the way side (painting, pottery, and learning a language to name a few).
I’m going to give you some journaling prompts to help you simplify and prioritise for your year ahead as well, in a sec. Before we get to that - here some examples of some things my clients took off their plates to ease their stress this year – food for thought!
Stopped spending time with toxic friends
Ended an emotionally abusive relationship
Asked a housemate who constantly overstepped personal boundaries to move out
Dropped back to part time work and study
Switched their phone off at 9pm every night and deleted social media apps
Deleted their work email from their phone and stopped taking their laptop home
Hired a cleaner/dog walker/lawn mowing service
Stopped staying up late watching TV and started a night time routine
Said no to going out and drinking every weekend just because their friends are doing it
Sought professional support for a niggling injury or health issue
Got support to start their business
Left a toxic work environment
Now not all of these are ‘easy’ things to do, I get it! But worrying you’ll offend someone or be judged or looked at differently is NOT a good enough reason to keep something stress-inducing on your plate. While there will always be things that cause stress that we can’t take off our plate (like a busy period at work, a sick family member, the loss of a loved one, or moving house for example) we’re able to cope with these things much better if we’re not adding stress unnecessarily.
You’re getting an idea now of some things you can drop like a hot potato in 2018…but so far we’ve only looked at external things that cause us stress. There’s another big culprit in the mix here – our inner critic. Specifically the ‘stories’ or limiting beliefs our inner critic whispers in the back of our mind, for example:
‘I always need to look perfect’
‘My house should be immaculate’
‘I should say yes to every social invitation’
‘I need to do a hard workout every day or I’ll get fat’
‘I need to be the last to leave work every day to prove I’m a hard worker’
‘Everyone has to put up with some crap in a relationship’
‘I have to get all my chores done before I can do things I enjoy’
‘I don’t like asking for help’
'I'll burn the candle at both ends now and relax when I go on a holiday'
‘I should cook every meal from scratch’
‘I’ll do the things I enjoy when I have time later in my life’
‘I won’t be able to start my own business or do a job I love’
‘I don’t have time for exercise or self-care!’
‘I need to wear a new designer outfit to every event’
‘I can’t afford a cleaner/babysitter/holiday/yoga class’
Sounding familiar? These stories add to our stress because they:
1. Keep us chasing (non-existent) perfection,
2. Base our self-worth purely on what others think of us
3. Shut down the intuitive nudges we’re getting to look after ourselves and follow our interests and passions
In order to create our most amazing life, we need to address both out internal and external worlds to make sure we're aligned and not putting uanessacry obstacles in our way. To make it easy as pie for you, I've put it into a guide below and its broken into 2 parts: Part 1: Simplify + Prioritise + Part 2: Tame the Inner Critic + Get Intentional.
Enjoy your planning!
The Purposeful, Peaceful, and Abundant Year Planner
Part 1: Simplify + Prioritise
Grab your journal and free write your answers to the following questions (no judging what you write or holding back):
What are my favourite things to do?
What would I like to learn more about?
What interests do I have that I’m currently not pursuing?
Who would I like to spend more time with?
How can I make more time for these things?
Have I got a business idea that I'd like to pursue? How can I bring it to life?
What is causing me stress that I can take off my plate? (get REAL with yourself here - you CAN ditch your stressful job, say no to seeing people you're not crazy about, or get out of the not-quite-right relationship)
What is causing me stress that I can't take off my plate? How can I make these things cause less stress?
What would my ideal week look like?
Once you’re done, grab your new year calendar (I love Google calendar) and fill it with things that you’d like to prioritise in 2018.
- Monthly massages
- Weekends away
- Art or language course
- Yoga teacher training
- Live music
- Health retreat (DIY or destination)
- Dance classes
- Goddess circles
- Dinner parties
- + anything that came up in your writing on the previous journalling prompts
Then, look at your ideal week answer and add these things into your calendar as well – for example:
- Catch ups with friends
- Time in nature
- Food shopping and prep
- Love making
- Time to practice a skill like learning a language or instrument
- Date nights
- Journaling and self reflection
Notice how we have't added work or other "have-to's" to the calendar yet? That's the final step - now that you've made time for the things you want to do and that will keep you feeling great, it's time to add in work and other commitments to your calendar.
As you do this, you might notice that in your ideal week, you would like to dedicate 4 days to work instead of 5. And that you'd love to spend 8 weeks of the year travelling, and not be limited by the 4 weeks of annual leave you get. Maybe you'd prefer to work 3 long days instead of 5 half days. Maybe you'd like to be able to work from home or leave early. Maybe you're like to start a side business. Where you can - take action to make your ideal week a possibility! You never know what could come from an open conversation with your boss, or saying YES to a business idea you've had brewing.
It's important to remember that this calendar isn't meant to restrict you and you don't have to follow it to the letter. But make a pact with yourself that you won't delete the things you put in first - you're welcome to move them around to suit you though.
Part 2: Tame the Inner Critic + Get Intentional
1. Get to know the stories that your inner critic tells:
What are some stories my inner critic tells me?
This is a great daily practice to keep track of limiting beliefs so you can spot them and let them go – try writing down 5 limiting beliefs that your inner critic threw your way at the end of each day.
Remind yourself that these stories are just words and that you can choose not to buy into them.
2. Come into the present moment
Head out into nature, take 10 deep breaths, meditate or move your body - any way you care to, come into the present moment. The inner critic can't exist in the here-and-now, only in thoughts about the past and future.
3. Boost your self worth
The inner critic loves to undermine our self worth so it's great to counteract it one a daily basis by giving our self worth a boost. Write down 10 things you appreciate about yourself and 10 things you're good at and aim to add one new things to each list every day.
Too really supercharge your worthiness, try my I am Worthy meditation from my Meditate with Amelia album every day for a month. You'll be overflowing with worthiness by the end of it!
4. Set intentions
Think about how you want to FEEL in 2018 and write these feelings on sticky notes or cards and look at them every single day.
Here's a great way to nut out your intentions for 2018:
- download my Feelings List
- circle each feeling that you like/jumps out at you
- narrow this down to 10 favourites
- narrow this down to 5 favourites - these are your 2018 intentions
We narrow it down so we can be laser focused in calling in what we want.
For each intention or feeling, write how you can bring this to life in small ways every day the more you purposely bring the feeling into your life from inside you, the more your external world will support that intention.
So there you have it - a plan for a purposeful, peaceful and abundant 2018!
Make sure you share this with your besties and soul sisters so they can plan their amazing year too.