|Published in The Chronicle Herald - Nova Scotian on January 16, 2017 and the South Shore Breaker on January 11, 2017|
But it can be a little intimidating too. Some of us put a lot of pressure on ourselves to create something wonderful and memorable. Bigger and better than last year. A new me, a new future, a new start towards surpassing past results.
We want to get in shape, lose weight, have big vacations, accomplish spectacular goals. Anything seems possible at the start of a new year.
But what if we looked at that blank page and decided that we don’t have to fill it with a story that climbs to the top of the New York Times best sellers list? What if we contented ourselves with a quiet read full of every day things and every day life?
In years past, I used to spend part of New Year’s Day writing my goals for the coming year. My husband could never understand this and wondered why I had to write things down, why I couldn’t "just be". I'm starting to come around to his way of thinking. Maybe it’s my advancing years, or maybe it’s just that twenty five years with this man has got me thinking more like him. (oh, the horror).
Seriously, I’m not sure I’ll ever totally stop my list making. That’s just part of who I am. A planner. A dreamer. A believer that sometimes writing things down can be the first step toward dreams coming true. On the other hand, a long list of "to dos" can become an anchor that weighs us down and holds us back from living in the moment. If we take lists too seriously, it can backfire and become de-motivating and disheartening if we don’t accomplish our goals. If our lists are too demanding, they can set us up for failure and become a tool for our minds to reinforce a feeling that we just aren’t good enough.
If we lack self confidence, a long list of difficult goals could lead to more stress and less faith in our abilities. The key for me when making my own list is to keep it real, keep it light and manageable, and keep it personal. And you know what? I did make a list last New Year’s Day, but I have no idea where it went. My almost total lack of memory means that I don’t know if I accomplished what I wanted to or not. I guess I’ll mark that down as a success. My list obviously didn’t give me any self imposed stress!
|If you had told me at the beginning of last year that I would write and publish thirty five articles, I would have laughed at the crazy thought.|
Some people like to give themselves an annual challenge, and one of mine was to read 50 books each year. Then I thought that setting a goal to read a specific number of books made it seem too much like a chore to tick off my to do list. I thought maybe it was more important to read at no particular pace and no particular time. Some days I sit and read for hours, and some days I don’t get a chance. Since I am a list maker, I keep track of the books that I have finished and make a note of which authors I enjoyed. And I do try to alternate my need for familiar authors with stretching my mind to new authors and writing styles. The library is truly one of my favourite places.
A lot of photographers join daily challenges, but I have never jumped on that bandwagon. Well, I should be honest and say I did try it briefly in the past, but stopped fairly quickly. I find that having to take specific photographs doesn’t usually work with the way I like to capture images.
As I contemplate 2017, and look at the blank page that is my coming year, I wonder what it will bring. If I was to write a list for myself, what would I like to see happen?
Of course we will continue to day trip around Nova Scotia with our dogs, traveling the coastline and finding new beaches to explore. I hope to finally visit the Kejimkujik Seaside Adjunct this year, and maybe capture an image of some seals. Another item on my photographic wish list is to find a snowy owl.
At the top of my list will be - "Just Be" - and perhaps that will be the biggest challenge of all.
|At the start of a new year, some of us put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make lists and set goals. bigger and better than last year. Perhaps more of us should try to “Just Be”.|