I am not a fan of new year’s resolutions. There is, however, some value in looking back and learning from experiences, as well as setting intentions for the new year and deciding what one wants to create. Throughout December, I have spent quite some time pondering, evaluating, making new plans and most importantly looking at the highs and lows of 2011 in order to determine what to do more or less of in 2012.
Here I’m sharing my lessons learnt with you:
1. Thoughts create reality. We often think that circumstances make us feel a certain way or keep us from acting but really it is our smart little brain that thinks up a lot of stuff either really helping us achieve (“Yes you can”) or hindering us (“You’re just not good enough”). Knowing that empowers you to carefully look at your thoughts and the reality they create for you.
2. Patience is (such) a virtue! Several things tested my patience this past year again and it is not my strong point, but I learnt a valuable lesson from my impatience that screwed up an exciting business project. As a result I have become more relaxed and concentrated on switching off my mind chatter that can make a mountain out of a little molehill sometimes (see lesson #1!).
3. Expectations are illusions bound to be disappointed. In 2011, I have been starting to be able to really let go of expectations and controlling behaviour. Whether they may be about myself or others. Even as simple things as wanting someone else to do something your way and being annoyed when they don’t — a waste of energy, really.
Goals and Purpose
4. Goals sometimes stand in the way. Especially as a coach, my life of course is filled with goals but for the first time in 2011 I ran out of goals. I was tired of goals. I was frustrated because I felt I should have new exciting big, hairy goals but didn’t. I was just happy with the way everything was. Having goals and pursuing them can be fun, but shouldn’t be a necessity for happiness. Once I let lose on that thought, I felt good and excited about new projects again.
5. Life’s Purpose: The journey is the reward. Whilst we may have a lot of ‘I’ll-be-happy-when’ thoughts in daily life, I believe that we will never really get ‘there’, whatever or wherever ’there’ may be. Too often we will quickly determine new wants and needs and then feel dissatisfied even when we’ve reached our goals. Our true purpose evolves over time but not precisely knowing what it is might hold us back in the meantime.
6. Knowing your passion doesn’t mean that you stop asking questions. About your life, your work, your purpose.
7. Finding your purpose starts with why. Why do you do what you do, what’s driving you? Unlike many, Simon Sinek believes that your Why can be found in your past history, not in the future. From early childhood through to recent employment. Listen to this interview where he demonstrates what a deep meaningful Why looks like.
8. Fear of failure is often fear of judgement. Fear of being judged by yourself, those who pay you and those that mean a lot to you. Leaning into uncertainty is the only way to overcome this and is not as scary as one might think.
9. We are not naturally good at everything we really want to do. Sometimes we simply need to work on things.
10. Desperation for money is really unsexy and will just lead to more lack. When absolutely no money is coming in , the best way to start the flow of cash back into your bank account is to trickle money into your life by getting a part-time job, doing that cleaning or bar tending job. Whatever it takes to make some bucks.
11. Saving, on the other hand, is sexy. Saving money is empowering, feels good and makes proud. Do it. Starting now.
12. There are three illusions around money (and life in general): 1. There is not enough. 2. More is better. 3. That’s just the way it is. Profound. Read The Soul of Money.
13. The fees you charge have to feel good. Don’t charge what everyone else charges or what you think you should charge. Or else you might never charge $10,000 for a day’s worth of work.
14. The feelings we have about money are often a reflection of how we feel about other areas of our life.
15. Buying things on credit sucks. More often than not, whatever we want in that moment is not truly necessary. But paying off debt will be.
Food and Exercise
16. Discipline pays. I have lived and learnt, tried and failed but always persisted. I now have found my own way with food and released 6.5kg/ 1st 0.33lbs of fat getting me into the best shape of my life, just in time for my 30th birthday (on Jan 12th). The single biggest success factor achieving what I thought to be impossible was discipline.
17. There is no one perfect solution to weight loss or nutrition. You have to find what works for you.
18. Excess weight is first and foremost a belief problem. Change what you think about food and your body and your body will change accordingly.
19. Sugar feeds cancer. Have less of it. That includes all simple carbohydrates, not just the white crystals.
20. Clean eating (paleolithic style) works well to obtain and maintain a great healthy body and feels fantastic.
21. Fat in foods, whether they are trans fats or ‘good’ fats, is not necessarily the problem. Carbohydrates are.
22. Strong is the new skinny! I am now doing around 220 push ups in a 40 minute workout, can do pull-ups and feel fantastic and fit without being bulky.
23. Be kind with yourself and others by practicing forgiveness. Or as Gabrielle Bernstein would put it: Throw down the F-word. For “when you connect to the light within others, you can see them as equal and release your resentments. No more ‘He said, she said’.”
24. Presence. One hears a lot about ‘being present’ or ‘in the moment’. Only over the past 12 months I have come to appreciate that this means more than just active listening. It is about letting go of the past, loving what is, and also releasing the future. The latter is probably hardest, hence:
25. No more Future Tripping! Definition: needlessly worrying about the future, what could happen, worst case scenarios, what if’s and should’s and shouldn’t's – it is all a story we make up in our minds, not reality. And since it causes angst and stress: stop it!
26. Silence. In order to truly listen, be present, hear our own wisdom, we need far more silence. It’s good for you.
Family, Friends & Networks
30. Family comes first. For me, anyways. I discovered how much meaning and joy I find simply in doing good for and spending time with my family members and friends.
31. Sometimes it’s gotta be huge. This year, I organised a special birthday trip for my sister and went all out: Chauffeur to the airport, flight tickets, spa treatments, shopping spree, great food, time to chat, long walks, surprise letters. It was no ‘special’ birthday, but a very special person. It added hugely to our already profound relationship.
32. Online friends online can become greats friends offline, too. I have had the honour of meeting an incredible amount of fabulous people last year. With a lot of them, I have regular Skype chats with coffee to catch up and I have even met two of them in Regent’s Park in London during the summer, after only knowing them from Facebook. We got on like a house on fire. This year, for the first time ever, I am holding a virtual birthday party with my American and Canadian friends as well as an in-person one!
33. Honest friends are best friends. I have a very small number of close friends (3) that I can talk to about anything. And not just that, they will also tell me the truth about me. They will say what I don’t want to hear. They help me grow. One of them is Beth. She blows my mind and rescues me frequently.
34. Having a tribe of peers makes everything more fun and easy. I have had the joy of working with some fantastic colleagues over the past year and we’ve been supporting each other, moaning together, laughing together, sharing experiences and tools. These women have been the best mastermind support group ever and deserve to be named: Susan, Dana, Glenda, Maria, Maryna, Jessica, Gia, Patricia, Kendrick, Marthe, Teri.
35. And last but not least: Fun! Fun can be spontaneous and surprising but often enough it has a bigger chance to come into our lives if we plan it: For example by flying out to Phoenix, AZ, to meet these amazing ladies above, organising a spontaneous Baby Shower for my cousin in Germany and taking time to make chocolate with a friend.
What would be really fun for you this year?
If you made it all the way down here, many thanks for reading. Watch this space for my biggest lesson learnt yet and an exciting offer for you in the new year.