Do you remember the summer holidays? That wonderful time when everything was in recess. No school. No committees. No ‘normal routine’. The days seemed longer and brighter. It was a time of catching up and switching off. Of unwinding. Pausing. Dreaming. Breathing…
Summer is the perfect time to personally ‘re-group’. It’s a time of new beginnings. Maybe you set some goals for the year or maybe you chose a ‘theme’ for it. Maybe you didn’t do any of that, because it’s not your style. Whatever your approach to the beginning of the year though, there’s an element of excitement and positivity and ‘fresh start’.
But now here we are in March and it might feel like summer has slipped through your fingers. And with it, that ability to bring a sense of effortless calm to your life, and a refreshed approach to your year.
So before you start ducking your head into Autumn and charging into the rest of the year with a distinctly ‘wintery’ outlook, it’s worth a pause to reflect.
What will the rest of 2016 bring? And, more importantly, what will each of us bring to it?
Here are three simple questions to ponder as we let go of those summer months. You might like to write down the answers and keep your ideas somewhere prominent as a reminder.
What will I start?
Where will the growth or change occur? What will be new? What will bring variety and interest and passion into my life? What was I putting off because of fear, or the perceived lack of time, or because I’d prioritised other people’s interests? What might happen if I begin?
What will I stop?
Which behaviours, choices, habits and activities dragged me down last year? Which weren’t good for me? Which weren’t good for the people around me? What can I let go of now? What must end? What will I stop doing?
What will I continue?
Some things have been going well. What are they? What’s working? What do I want to continue? Which aspects of my life do I wish to maintain?
It’s Time to Renegotiate
One of my friends, Canberra nutritionist Kate Freeman, incorporates a process of ‘re-negotiation’ into her life each year. She sits down with her husband and they re-negotiate the terms around everything they do, personally and as a couple and a family.
The benefit of doing this is because what worked well last year might not fit now the kids are a year older and in different grades at school or undertaking different activities. It might not work any longer if you’re changing jobs or work hours or locations.
When we sit down and re-negotiate how we’re running our lives, when we move the boundaries in or out, and shift the goal posts—even when we change the rules—we become more flexible. And flexibility is the key to getting through the barrage of things we can’t control.
Life is unpredictable. We know that. But unpredictability doesn’t always have to equate to doom and gloom, along with the weather! So let’s use those memories of summer to flex our reponses, flex our thoughts and flex the way we do things to give us the greatest chance of adapting to whatever life brings us, and thriving through our own endless summer.