It began with something called a ‘happy planner’. The year, that is — I started off so well, planning ahead in my bright yellow hard-covered book that’s trimmed with gold and artistically decorated with beautiful landscape photography. All my goals, neatly listed, poised for success. Maybe you can relate?
I spent time working through my planner’s activities which included noting intentions and rating my happiness in various areas of life with a view to take action on anything that felt lacking. On a glance back, I see I also filled in the ‘reverse bucket list’ pages, where instead of writing down all the things I wish to achieve, I listed those things I was already proud of accomplishing (a very nice activity, if you need a boost today).
While I did initially make the most of my ‘happy planner’, it has actually been sitting on top of a pile of half-read books since May! The bright yellow HAPPY cover serves as a reminder each morning of the possibilities ahead. But in the evenings, it came to prompt panic over all I’d intended to do but not yet acted upon. According to the internet, this is now a thing – ‘FOMOMG’ (fear of missing out [on] my goals).
What to do then, if we feel like we’re not where we intended to be now? That is, if we haven’t saved the money we wanted to, got the job, bought the house, discovered the romance, finished (or started) a project we’d hoped to have in hand.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and like we’re missing out, and some might agree it’s especially so at this time of year. Keen to not fall victim to this so-called FOMOMG, I resolved to lessen the pressure I admitted placing on myself.
I’ve been reading some of Sarah Knight’s work — she’s the author of the No F*cks Given guides and presenter of a TED talk on the ‘magic of not giving a f*ck’ that’s reached over four million people. Clearly, many are curious to know if it’s okay to shed our excess ‘stuff’, and Sarah’s now famous for spreading the word on how to let go of things you really don’t need to care about.
Akin to decluttering your home, we’re encouraged to do the same with our minds. You can start this today by writing down a list of all the things that are taking up space in your head, then carefully consider which items you don’t need to care about. Really. For example, are you worrying that you’re not as caught up in your career as your friends are (well apparently, according to Instagram)? Let it go. It’s likely to work out the moment you begin to clean up your thoughts and focus on the things that truly matter.
I’ve also been dipping into Amber Rae’s Choose Wonder over Worry (another one stashed in my bedside pile of books). She helpfully points out that it’s not the things we don’t care about that are hard to let go of, but it’s letting go of all those things we DO want to achieve, plan for or create, that is so hard. To choose ‘wonder over worry’, means doing just that — letting some of the stress and pressure go, and focussing on the thing that is the most important to you.
Looking ahead, it’s time for me — and you, perhaps — to find joy in the moment. Make time for a festive break; consider the good in your world, and your achievements; play with your kids or pets; focus on ONE thing you’re looking forward to pursuing next year. Let go of the clutter and embrace with me the understanding that setting goals is one thing but realising those goals can change is the real key to happiness.
Get it girl Sarah Blinco is a business communications professional. She blogs at travellivelearn.com and @sarahblinco on Instagram.