New year, and the urge to self improve

The New Year urge to self improve is upon me, the desire to mark the movement of the calendar to a new year, a blank diary, the thought of a new start. Those blank pages awaiting all possibilities. But it is so arbitrary, and with the colder, dark weather, and a desire to hibernate strongly influencing every movement my mind and body takes, maybe not the best time of year for resolutions.

I have been thinking about what I want to achieve, my goals – long and short term – and my ambitions. Advice about how to self improve, and what disciplines to adopt come from all directions, so many individual good ideas.

Yesterday, I looked back at all the advice for self-improvement based on “just spend (time period) every (day/week) doing…” that I have received over the last year, and have started to wonder if  putting all those things into my life would actually  mean that I do nothing except meditation, yoga, exercise, meditative & creative walking, daily writing practice, making youtube videos daily, writing a blog daily, mindfully cooking and eating nourishing meals, reading (spiritual/cultural/political/current affairs/tech subjects/arts/science/…) in fact means there is no time to do any work… And today I remembered pelvic floor exercises, 10000 steps a day, artist’s date-with-myself day once a week, mahjong, singing, dancing, painting, drawing, sewing…)

If I did all things I have been advised to do, there would not be time for work… or sleep… so instead of trying to do everything, I  need to combine, refine, decide what I want to do, what direction I take. Maybe there is a place for seasonal changes of emphasis, as well as a daily core. Maybe there are three areas I could group everything into:

  • wellbeing: for example Physical health, mental health, spiritual health
  • self development: for example Creativity, awareness, learning
  • productivity: for example Writing, teaching, researching

These work together: if I look after my wellbeing – exercise, fresh air, nutrition, friendships, rest – then it will be easier to be productive and to nurture my self development. If I am productive and developing as a person, I will be more motivated to look after my wellbeing.

I need to think about which times of day and which seasons are most suited to those three areas, and whether the types of activity I do change with the seasons. I also need to think about which activities run daily, weekly, monthly or seasonal cycles.

Or maybe, I need to not over-think it, relax, digest my supper and then sleep.

2018 – a year of great potential – what will I do to harness it? Today, despite much thought, I am no clearer on my goals for the year, I can see some of the picture, but not clearly. Tomorrow I shall think some more.

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