Happy new year! Every year, once the champagne bottles have run empty and the last remnants of the fireworks leave the sky, we’re forced to accept that a new year has begun. And with that realisation, there seems to be two trains of thought with regards to how to accept that: overwhelming hope filled with new years resolutions, or the understanding that new years is a social construct, nothing has really changed and that new years resolutions are pointless.
After finding heartfelt disappointment with the former, and overwhelming complacency with the latter, I found that there’s a wistful middle ground: understanding that a new year itself doesn’t necessarily change much, but your hopes and plans can change your perspective and the year’s outcomes.
And that’s how I wanted to start this year – with a clear head, a sober heart yet a hopeful soul. I feel like there’s a change in the air, something good is coming, and that I should prepare for my blessings to come. And to prepare, I thought I should share some tips and tools to get you in the mood.
Writing things down
My first piece of advice is one that will lead into all of the other tools, but it’s definitely the most important. It’s so easy to get all bogged down in your head and become overwhelmed with your thoughts, so sometimes something as simple as writing them down is a key way to getting your life together. This can be in the form of a whiteboard in your room, a massive calendar in your office, having post-it notes, using your phone’s notes/to-do list function or having a physical journal. I personally find it easier to feel less overwhelmed in life when I can clearly see all that I have to do and what exactly is going on.
As cliche as it seems, your Life Orientation classes did not lie when it came to smart goal setting. In truth, for a goal to be more than a dream, you need to have a plan, and any good plan is a SMART plan:
- Time based
And while this is usually an acronym that tends to be something you memorise for a multiple choice question in a test, when you put it into practice, it proves incredibly helpful – especially having specific, realistic and time-based goals. Being specific helps you understand if you’re being realistic, and having a schedule with regular check in dates/milestones can help you see if you’re on track. Also when being specific with your goal, you also have to be specific with the steps you need to take to achieve it.
These help you visualise your goals and what you want to achieve for the year ahead. They can be moodboards for your wardrobe or how you want to look, ideas for redecorating your room or work space, a projection of your future life and job – the possibilities are endless! If you’re more of a visual person than a written word person, moodboards are helpful because they help put a face and tangible idea to what you want for yourself. And they don’t have to be in physical form, they can be digital, or using apps such as Instagram and Pinterest. Pinterest is a great tool but something I’ve still struggled with, but Instagram and their bookmark and collection function have definitely helped me with my little vision boards for fitness, makeup, hair, outfits, office goals and more.
One of the things I want to achieve this year is to successfully bullet journal. A bullet journal (bujo) is essentially a short-hand organisational tool that combines to do lists, calenders, goal planning, affirmations, journalling, doodles and anything else you want to put in there. I won’t lie – I had to do my faire share of research to understand all of the notation, but I found some interesting links here, here, and here. These links are all very useful in understanding and setting up a bullet journal. But if you are struggling to do it yourself and would like some help, you can buy bullet journal templates/pre-set up bujos. Locally, our very own Tshegofatso Senne started Hello Thembikile Stationery. Tshego has done basically all of the hard work for you, so for R550.00 (including delivery) there’s no excuse not to bullet journal! Her own templates have yearly or monthly reviews, habit trackers, affirmations, a goals page and more, including blank pages for you to note take as necessary. There are also beautiful illustrations on each page.
I hope this little blog post has given you some tips on how to start your year! Share any of your planning tips below 🙂