Adjust Your Focus
Photos: This Brit and Unsplash
We are nearing the end of February, and although the temperature barely exceeds 5 degrees, we can clearly see Spring on the horizon. As the sun starts to melt the frost on the ground, we see new shoots getting ready to sprout, birds beginning to nest, and life just seems more exciting. This is a great time of year to reflect on the past couple of months, and how you have moved forward this year. Have you done yourself proud yet, or did you lose sight of your focus?
It’s a new year, and a new season, there is no better time to invest in yourself, your career, and your happiness. It’s time to really focus on what you want to achieve this year and make a plan, winter is over, and therefore you’ve spent enough time recovering from the Christmas/ New Year chaos.
I have two boards on Pinterest dedicated to Career and Lifestyle which is where I keep everything I want to read, do or take inspiration from to apply to my life and career. On one of these boards is a pin about having a life plan. The premise of the concept is to write down your “Lifetime Goals”, “5 Year Plan” and “Daily Goals”, each is supposed to be broken down by the next section to help achieve your ultimate goals, these can be career, relationship, or hobby focused and a good plan incorporates all aspects of your life.
Do you have a plan for your future yet? If you do, really have a look at it, is everything you want to do achievable, and do you still want to do it? Is where you are now on a step on the ladder, or do you need to re-evaluate your circumstances and change direction?
If you haven’t written down your plan, I suggest using the above technique build a life plan of what you want to do and why. Taking the time to figure out what you want to do before you die, where your focus is, and what makes you happy. That way you will know where to invest your money and your time, make sure every decision you make takes you one step closer to your goals.
Most organisations have pay reviews and award bonuses at the beginning of Spring, it also marks the end of the first quarter. We spend over 8 hours a day at work, so doing a job just for the pay check isn’t something that I have ever agreed with, I have to love the work and the people I spend my days with, otherwise I just don’t see the point of being committed to it.
The end of the first quarter is an important time to decide whether the company you work for is still a company you agree with. As the organisation changes and adjusts their goals, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to like or agree with those changes, however it is important to review whether you are still committed to the company and their values despite the changes. If for any reason you don’t agree with the direction a company is heading, it’s a good time to look at your options and decide whether it’s time to move on from your role or your company as a whole.
The average time a person stays within their role is 2 years before they look for a promotion, side-ways move, or an industry change. I know people who change roles every year, and others who have been in the same role for 20 years, neither is a bad thing, and finding what works for you is important.
Your Health and Mind
The news is saturated with articles about self care, mental health in the workplace and reducing stigma. Isn’t it wonderful? Self care has never been more accepted and celebrated than right now, there is a wealth of books, articles, studies and free resources all dedicated to offering advice about how to look after your mind all at your very fingertips. Looking after your mind is as important as looking after your body, over the past few months, if you’re anything like me, you probably haven’t been very good at doing either.
Nourishing your mind is as important as nourishing your body, and Spring is the perfect time to do both, especially this year. It’s a new season which means new vegetables and fruits to challenge you. My favourite recipe book “A Modern Way to Eat” has a wonderful section on seasonal vegetables and fruit, and these can be swapped in and out of most of the recipes within the book.
Once you nourish your body, this will give you the energy to nourish your mind. The spring weather varies between being too cold to spend any length of time outside, to being lovely and warm and wanting to spend all day outside. It’s the perfect time to learn a few new things, from indoor activities like learning to cook differently or learning a new instrument, to outdoor adventures like “Go Ape”, camping, or simply reading something new outside (or inside, or wherever takes your fancy).
Spring has an energy to it that I don’t think you find in any other season of the year, the excitement of winter finally being over, and the anticipation for summer. Do you feel that energy too? What do you use the energy for?
Investing in your happiness shouldn’t be something that you only do in the spring. Really, you should be doing this all year round, but after a season of investing in other people’s happiness, it’s time to make this your priority.
It’s okay to be a little bit selfish with this, sometimes it’s better not to compromise. Maybe look at starting planning a bullet journal, like I’ve just started? One of the pages I decided to create was around making note of all of the things that make me happy. Are there any things that make you so happy that no matter what mood you’re in, it will always make everything better? I’d love to know, and maybe I’ll try a few of them out because that’s hard for me. Try to make a list as long as you can, and then do one of those things every single day, see if it makes a difference to how you feel? You could also start a mood tracker, and see if doing one thing that makes you happy a day impacts your mood overall.
I’m sure my friends and family are sick of me telling this joke, but it’s my favourite so I’m going to tell you too:
“Why couldn’t the toilet paper cross the road? Because he got stuck in a crack!”
So many people say that relationships are about compromise, and making sacrifices, but I don’t think that’s how you should enter into a relationship, or what you should be thinking about. Relationships should be positive, and about adding to your life, not taking things away. Compromise comes later, and is largely natural. I’m not talking about relationships with significant others here, I really mean any connection you have built with anyone, including your family.
On the note of significant others though: Why do some people make relationships that become their lives? I admit, when I get into a relationship, I fall hard and I fall often. But that doesn’t mean I stop doing the other things I love. Relationships are supposed to add more not change what you have. Having a clear sense of what you will and won’t compromise on in a relationship is important, and you should never compromise on things that are truly important to you. If you do, then either they weren’t that important, or your relationship is causing you to change your values for another person. My friends are mostly male, and most of them I’ve probably tried to date at one point in my life or another, to most men that can feel quite threatening, so I won’t date most men.
This being said, I’m single, so I’m not sure how much value you should take from my comments. However, relationships with your friends and family take exactly the same commitment as a relationship with a significant other. They take time, nurturing, faith and it’s important to ensure a healthy balance between your relationships and your personal time, as well as ensuring that the compromises you make do not impact your values.
Some relationships you enter into aren’t supposed to be long term, sometimes they’re just needed for a specific time in your life, recognising these and allowing them to come and go without thinking too much into people leaving you is an important part of being happy. It is also important to recognise toxic relationships. This does not mean that the person is toxic – knowing that will stop you from hurting the other person or lashing out inappropriately, most of the people in the world aren’t bad people, however your personalities combined may create a toxic environment, and these should be let go of, no matter how painful.
Have you considered your friendships recently? Your time is precious and investing your time with the right people will help you grow, build an incredible support network and will provide you with a constant source of inspiration. Saying I love you, and I appreciate you seems to have started to decline, it’s so important and it really makes a difference. Do you think you tell the important people in your life that you love them enough?
I am so proud of every single one of my amazing friends, and my beautiful, supportive family, they inspire me every day to be a better version of myself, and I love them more than they will ever know.
Your future, career, health, happiness and relationships are all an integral part of who you inherently are as a person. Instinct is important, and allowing things to run their natural course is extremely powerful however taking control of your direction, investing your time and energy can and will change not only your life, but the life of those around you.