Diving into my theme for 2018, I’m doing things a bit differently this year.
I’ve been theming my years for a while now. For me, they provide a focus for developing goals, making decisions, creating changes, building habits and using my energy for the year ahead – these should all be influenced by and contribute to the theme. I’ve also found that what I learn from one theme influences the next, so there’s a continual feeling of self reflection and development ( even if some things feel like they will never change). Looking for inspiration for 2018, I delved into my themes from the past few years.
As I reflected on the themes of Experience ( 2017) and Change ( 2016) I was confronted with a interesting but uncomfortable reality. I “discovered” that I’ve lived to the theme each year – pushing and surprising myself, dropping balls, doing great things, making good decisions and bad ones, digging myself into and out of depression holes, learning a few things and ageing a little disgracefully. (#lifegoals) – but I was retro fitting and giving perspective to things I became distracted by and the times when life ( or myself) just got in the way and relying on those ‘mad to say no to’ and spontaneous moments that life surprises us with. I wasn’t actually doing much of what I had planned to do.
When it comes to my personal life, I’m dynamite at intention, dreadful at sticking to (or even making) the plan – this isn’t actually a new “discovery” by the way but seeing something you dislike about yourself, and consciously ignore rather than fix, written by your own hand so clearly just makes you feel like a fucking dickhead.
2017 was the year of Experience. The intent was to break a few bad habits and experience more of what life has to offer by getting out and creating it – because I had not been doing much of this in the previous couple of years. What I created was a mostly fun, crazy, diverse, limit testing, boundary breaking, enriching, imperfect, exhausting, experience – that left me feeling grumpy, tired and not who I want to be a little more often than I’d like, which fucked with my happy, motivated, positive vibe – which is who I really am ( or want to be and think I am anyway). It also eventually landed me in hospital in December, the ultimate “experience” to see the year out on.
There were highs. like the work I started and continue to do with R U OK Day, marching in the Sydney Mardi Gras with My People My Tribe, asking questions about Marriage Equality to dangerous religious dinosaurs on ABC Q&A, catch ups with friends ( although not enough), days at the beach, fun photo shoots, nights on the dance floor, the occasional bouncing around with boys ( although definitely not enough of that either) and my one little holiday, that long weekend away; and there were lows like the too many lengthy dark depression holes, not following most of my social, financial, physical, travel and other plans at all – so not creating experiences, better habits or much change as intended, forgetting to make time for friends, pnuemonia, exhausting myself into hospital, feeling like I was living to work, and just generally doubting myself and getting in my own way a bit too much and wondering what the fuck I was doing with life ( #standard) – which, SURPRISE, in case you don’t know it, like I have for years………all come together to create lows like a too many lengthy dark depression holes. ( and you thought you’d never see plot twists more obvious in the first minute than The Sixth Sense or The Others again)
Let’s be honest, nothing horrible or out of the ordinary happened in 2017 ( unlike 2016 and 2015) and my first world problems were pretty light last year- some of them I even created for myself…. because that’s a helpful and productive use of time and energy isn’t it. I did a lot great things, I missed out on a lot of great things, I burnt myself out, kept my distance, didn’t change what I wanted and lost some perspective along the way. Sometimes I have no control over the rollercoaster of depression, but I do have the power to influence and control my behaviours and triggers.
What I learn from all this is that I need to dial a few things up and some other things down and think and act a bit differently to consciously design that better balanced lifestyle – which includes both putting down the fucking knife that I seem to enjoy stabbing into my own back and doing the actual fucking work and following the actual fucking plan. If I get out of my own way for one fucking minute, I’m sure I’ll fly. With so much fiddling, fucking and doodling around for new ideas to do, the theme for this year is obvious –
2018 is The Year of The D
Dive in and don’t listen to Doubt – Dance, make the Dollars, Dick about, fill the Diary and live a Dare or two. Just be more Deliberate, the Difference it will make as you Drive ahead will be Dazzling, and you’ll be Dynamite.
The Year of the D comes with a few rules and reminders, a bit of a guide to follow for the year ahead. Some are new, some I have lived by (or try my best to) for many years, they’re in no particular order and I’m sure I’ll add more as I go.
The Rules of The D
Dive In – Life is for living, laughing and learning, so stop getting in your own way. Say YES to the things that come your way, and chase the things you want that don’t.
Doubt – Doubt is easy, it’s also the knife in your back. So put the fucking knife away and stop listening to it.
Dick about – Have fun, bounce around, day dream and doodle…and do more, it’s been lacking. ( so if you know any boys who might want to share their toys…)
Dance – At home, down the street, in the club, at a class, round the pole or from the ropes, just dance.
Debt – Fuck it off.
Dare – Challenge your habits, stretch the comfort zone and do a few things that are uncomfortable and daring.
Dollars – Make it rain more.
Different – The key to rocking the D is to do it differently, so find new ways, create new habits, try new things, go new places – don’t get stuck in the old ones.
Dazzle – Positive, engaged, present, satisfied, passionate, connected, confident, open, happy and motivted. Dazzle myself with the vibe, because the rest is self talk that just gets in the way.
Delight -We don’t always come first and the times to be selfish are rare, so delight others with kindness – the everyday kind that starts with a smile, and the kind that needs empathy, will listen and help when life’s not ok and it’s needed.
Dynamic – Spontaneity and flexibility are always part of the plan, but they shouldn’t be the plan.
Deliberate – Goals, decisions, changes and habits for the year ahead, and the plan to make them happen.
Disappointment – life, others and you are all imperfect and things rarely go smoothly or to plan. Don’t get distracted by derailments, they’re are all part of the ride, so dust them off and keep driving.
Drive – We always have the power to make our own choices. You’re the only one driving your life, so you’re in control of where you end up.
Dynamite – Good health and wellbeing, both physical and mental, will give you the energy and vibe to be and look dynamite.
Diary – Invest more time and make more plans with people and friends. The social diary should be fuller than the work diary… even if sometimes they’re both the same.
Develop – Old habits, new skills, different experiences, other perspectives. Life can get boring when you’re not growing, learning, changing or challenging – so make the time and take the effort.
Discover – unexplored places, unheard of things, untapped experiences, unfulfilled plans and unlived dreams – across the road, the country and the globe. The Federation didn’t call the ship Discovery so it could fly around in orbit on Thrusters forever. Make it the fuck so bro.
Downtime – It’s ok to stop, do nothing, just breathe, stare at walls, look at kittens, book a float tank, a massage, meditate or read. Be mindful of taking time out, and not using it or filling it with noise.
The Year of The D – it’s a lot to grab hold of, but I’m sure I can take it.
A lot of people set New Year’s resolutions around this time of year, but I think they’re fucking pointless – not just because they’re usually just dreams, “one day” ideas or “should’s” that have no plan and are as quickly forgotten as the New Years Eve hangover, but also because you should feel empowered and able to set not just a new goal, but develop a plan and create new habits to reach it, any day of the year…. and then of course, you need to do it. Themes come with the power of self reflection and purpose, which enables you to to do all the above.. If you choose to.
Sometimes we need help though, because goal setting and habit change can be hard, and these are some of my favourite resources that might be useful.
Vulnerability is a Super Power – Brene Brown TED Talk
Listening to Shame – Brene Brown
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck – Mark Manson
What do you want your first minute every day to be like – Kelly Coffey
The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg
The EQ Edge – Steven Stein, Howard Book