“Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece, after all.”
Steve Jobs said, “Simple can be harder than complex” and I’ve certainly found this to be true. In my professional role as teacher, it can sometimes prove difficult to simplify a concept for a child who isn’t ‘getting it’. In a role reversal, I am now that child and I’m not ‘getting’ how to simplify my life. I keep returning to it, working hard on simplifying. This year, I’m giving it another shot and I’m working smarter rather than harder.
SimplifySimplify sounds easy, doesn’t it? After all, the base word is ‘simple’; but it rarely is. In order to achieve this, I’ve decided to develop a happiness project. (Not familiar with happiness projects? Look here.) To keep myself accountable and let an expert guide me, I’ve subscribed to Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project Experience online course, a year-long guided project and support group with monthly focus areas which can be interpreted to suit personal goals.
Self careThe Local Milk 12 Days of Slow Living challenge in the lead up to Christmas reminded me of some areas of self-care and simple pleasures I have recently neglected and I’ll be working on weaving these back into the fabric of my everyday life too. The twelve categories all require slowing down to enjoy simple routines, rituals and pleasures – meditate, nature, hydrate, move, nourish, create, glow, relax, sleep, gratitude, indulge, celebrate.
Throughout the year, I’ll be working on simplifying and improving my life and increasing my happiness. Not that I’m miserable at all, but you can always improve, right?
I intend to set myself simple, achievable and measurable monthly goals as well as coming up with a monthly mantra to keep myself on track. A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Many resources are available to help set personal SMART goals. A very quick Google search revealed step by step instructions on the AAHA website. Mindtools.com explains “Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about … motivating yourself and turning your vision … into reality” and gives ideas including sample goals to get you started. Smartsheet. com offers a clear explanation of SMART goals as well as a couple of templates to help you develop your own. Research shows SMART goals are most effective when accompanied by an action plan and support. To this end, I’ll be creating a monthly action plan and enlisting support, both online and in person. I’ll be checking in monthly here on the blog too, both to keep myself accountable and in the hope that my challenges, progress and shortcomings might be helpful to others.
JanuaryThis month, I have set three goals: simplify, faith and self-discovery. “Well, they don’t sound much like smart goals,” I hear you say. Bear with and they soon will be.
To kick off the year, January’s mantra will be “I have enough“. My goal is to be purposeful and 100% conscious in my consumer habits. With this firmly in mind, I will be embarking upon a retail cold turkey. I will not purchase anything non-essential for at least the first month of the year. SMART goal 1: for the month of January, I will make only essential purchases. I will consciously consider each desired item to determine necessity. I will know I have achieved this goal when I have brought only grocery items and necessary gifts into my home.
Faith My self-care goal for this month will be meditate. I intend to do this by reading, reflection, journaling and prayer based on daily Bible readings and will work on rebuilding this into a daily habit. SMART goal 2: I will spend time daily working on my faith by reading God’s word and communicating with him. I will log times in my diary to keep on track and will know this goal has been achieved by referring to my diary at the end of the month.
Month one in the Happiness Project Experience involves deciphering what you value and what brings you joy. Only after doing that, will I be able to set goals for my ongoing happiness project. SMART goal 3: I will participate fully in The Happiness Project Experience, watching all videos and completing all worksheets. I will schedule time for this in my diary and tick when completed. I will know I have achieved this by reviewing both my diary and worksheets at the end of the month.
So that is my plan for January and my direction for the year ahead. Comment if you’d like to join in with any of these goals or share your own, either for the month or the year.