Laying the foundation for 2015

Each year, as I review the previous 12 months, I identify what didn’t work. My theme for the coming year often reflects this as I aim to correct the issues and fill in the gaps. As I have said, 2014 was, for me, directionless. I had no theme, no goals, no real plan – and the path it took showed how crucial this was. I floated along and went wherever life took me. Now while there is a certain freedom to allowing fate to take hold, I much prefer having some say in where my life goes.

This year’s theme, FOUNDATION, is designed to return me to basics, to allow me to build, (almost) from scratch, the life that I want and to focus on creation. I decided to continue with the Circle of Life approach and use the eight focus areas it outlines. Instead of a specific goal, I want to focus on habits and systems. By having a goal as my focus, I would place myself in a state of not having achieved, until I actually do achieve the goal. So this time, I want to place more emphasis on the actual process and make that my focus. That way, each day as I work on the process, I am, in fact, succeeding already. It may seem like a mind-trick, but I need as much positive experience as possible as I continue to dig my way through my current depression.

The 8 areas of life (as per the circle), in no particular order of priority, are as follows:

  • Career
  • Money
  • Health
  • Friends & Family
  • Significant Other/Romance
  • Personal Growth
  • Fun & Recreation
  • Physical Environment

So I examined each of these areas, looking at what was lacking, and tried to identify systems to develop therein. By system, I mean some sort of repeatable process. In some cases, I came up with habits that I want to develop, which may eventually become systems. Below is what I’ve come up with so far:

  • Career
      • Personal Productivity – Productivity and time management have been a major downfall for me because I have long struggled with procrastination (though I am getting better), and, as a result, often have a long list of to-dos. I have not yet developed an effective system for managing all the things I need/have/want to do. So this will be a major focus area for me – building a personal productivity system. I will write more on this, but the process will be guided by the work of a friend of mine, Francis Wade, as outlined in his recently released book, “Perfect Time-Based Productivity” (which I helped to edit).
      • Business Building – I have long wanted to have my own business, and the older I get, the more I would love to be in complete control of my work life. The Year of Foundation will be the year that I make significant progress towards a business of my own, and so I want to work on taking regular steps towards this. Not yet a system, but I will be working on a weekly habit of working on my own business projects.
  • Money
      • Financial Management – Whoo! Talk about problem area. There are so many issues here. I spend emotionally. I hate thinking about and managing money. I have little to no savings. My money seems to just vanish and I live paycheck to paycheck. It is not an education issue as I have studied finance and accounting and economics and I understand most of the bits and pieces but have yet to successfully implement so that I have anything to show for it. So I will be building a personal financial system, which will include habits such as budgeting and tracking my expenses, as well as saving and investment. This process will be heavily based on the principles laid out by the creators of YNAB (You Need A Budget), which is an amazing program for getting control of your money.
  • Health
      • Wholistic Wellness – Last year I ended up focusing on my mental health because I was in a bit of a crisis. That work continues, of course, but I am taking a more whole body perspective this year. My mental health, while crucial, contributes to and is affected by my physical health. The two are intertwined and must be improved together, and both depend multiple interconnected areas such as nutrition, fitness, sleep, self-care and others. I have already begun working on my wholistic wellness for this year, and have plans for greater focus and control. My healthy choices and habits will be directed by the Primal Blueprint lifestyle, which I had begun work with a couple years ago. I will be renewing my efforts and making changes accordingly.
  • Friends & Family
      • Reaching out – Now this one will not be so much of a system as a set of habits, the core of which will be making regular contact with friends and family. By reaching out and communicating more often and more deeply, I will improve my connectedness and move away from the inward focus that has fueled much of my depression. This one will be difficult for various reasons, but it has become increasingly evident that I cannot thrive in my solitude. While I will still, and always, value time alone, connections to the outside world (and I don’t mean just virtual ones) are a necessary “evil.” Lol!
  • Significant Other/Romance
      • Progressive Partnership – Admittedly, this is a tough one. I actually wrote all the others before coming back to this item. For a while I was stuck. This was an area that, while a nice neat system would be great, it’s not so straightforward. I was pretty clear on the things I consider “foundational” in a relationship (love, trust, respect, honesty…) and there are lots of habits that could fit my improvement process. But, still, I was stuck. Then I realized I didn’t feel right declaring my intentions in a vacuum. After all, I’m not in a relationship by myself. So the focus for me, the foundation of everything, has to be partnership. What I really want is to collaboratively strengthen our partnership. Of course, the very nature of that requires that I not be working alone. So we’ll have to figure this one out together.
  • Personal Growth
      • Capacity for change – Now clearly I am capable of changing, but it has largely been a trial and error process up until now. All of the areas I am discussing require change of the transformational and lasting kind. And for that, I need new skills. I need to learn how to change and how to build new habits, so that they stick. It sounds simple but as anyone who has tried to make major life changes knows, it is not as simple as just declaring you will change. It requires a consistent effort until it is a part of you that you no longer have to even think about. I’ve begun doing some research into the psychology of change and will be developing my change skills to impact all areas of my life.
  • Fun & Recreation
      • Fundamentals of fun – Who needs to remember to have fun? Well, it seems I do. One of the things depression does is decrease the enjoyment you get from doing things you love. It is challenging to fight against it because you really don’t feel like doing anything. But this is going to be one of those fake it till you make it situations for me. No system to follow really, just to remind myself of things that I enjoy and get into a habit of doing them, even if I don’t feel like it. I will probably try to do something at least once for the week which should give me a boost.
  • Physical Environment
      • Home Sweet Home – I have been living on my own for nearly 2 1/2 years, and while I don’t love living alone, I have come to appreciate the value of having a space that is mine. Now I am renting currently so there are limitations that come with being a tenant. But there is a significant possibility that I will be able to change from tenant to owner in the near- to medium term. My aim for this year will be to take regular action towards making my home happen, which will call upon the skills from other areas such as the productivity and financial management.

So, with all that laid out, I now know what I want this year to look like. There’s a lot of work to be done but I’m ready!

 

 

Live, Love, Laugh
Bianca

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