Could February Be The New January? With some focus and structure we can have an enjoyable and productive year, simply.
It is 1 February and I have now just started my side-hustle work for the year.
1 February is (still) a new year. It is still a good time to set ourselves new challenges that we may have let slip in January, and still a great time to have a think about where we are headed and set our 2022 intentions.
I ask myself regularly –
What do I wish to have accomplished by Christmas?
It helps focus me when I am getting busy with unnecessary effort.
I have found January to be a month that passes in a blur of guilt; ongoing school summer holidays and numerous missed intentions (in my case).
So this year, I let the guilt go and remained present with my daughters – who have only recently returned to school after their long summer holidays. I released my own self-imposed work standards and remembered my priorities and the intentional choices we made to live the way we do, with flexibility.
So this year I decided to start things in February. Because I want to get into action this year and try some new things. So with these words in mind…
“If You Always Do What You’ve Always Done, You’ll Always Get What You’ve Always Got.”Henry Ford
… I am stepping out differently this year.
I am starting out fresh and fruity in Feb!
February is the month of love and here in SA, our hottest summer month, with searing heat, mosquitoes, much time spent in the ocean, bright long days and strictly short sleeves. It is a short month (so a good one for challenges), and we have already dipped a toe into the year, so it’s a more settled time.
So far – all is going well with my belated start.
New Year New Plans – My word
Every year I choose a word that will be my overarching focus for the next 12 months. It serves as a guide and acts as an anchor. I will make decisions with this word in mind, and I will let the days and months flow around the central theme.
This year my word is “presence” – the state or fact of existing, occurring or being present./, and interestingly, if one searches Google trends, presence is trending, especially since about a decade ago. This is good news- if globally we are interested in being more mindful, grounded and centred.
Presence is my main intention for 2022. A simple idea but a deceptively demanding life aspiration for me, who I am, a busy lass, living in a jam-packed world.
Practically, and as much as possible, I will
- look at my daughters and husband instead of my phone,
- listen to friends and family when they speak to me, and try to hear their words, and
- incorporate more mindfulness into simple actions like eating, getting dressed, making the bed.
In theory, it sounds to me like a luxurious way to live. I look forward to seeing how it goes every day.
What is your word for 2022?
A simple structure
As well as presence being the word of the year, I am aspiring to a year of more action (and less preparation), and I find that structure helps me to act.
New year, new plans – I am envisioning a busy year as we renovate our house, so my aim is to do less and achieve more. This is where simple systems will help.
Simple systems are simply a structure that supports us. I have written before about loosely dividing up my life into categories of Self, Health, Wealth, and Social. We do this to ensure we are achieving a fairly even spread of growth across all areas of our life.
Helpful systems also need to be
- simple enough to use with ease,
- clear enough to help, and
- centred around our priorities, which means we need enough self-knowledge to know our priorities.
I have tried many productivity apps before, but over the years I have simplified the process down to a checklist on my phone notes. It works for me. Here is my list – which you are welcome to copy and edit with your own tasks.
I also created a simple systems guide which you can find here should you want it.
Practically, every day, I aim to
- rise early
- first drink a glass of water, then
- then journal
- setting intentions for the day, and
- choosing my 3 item to-do list
- replace lunchtime bread with a smoothie
- exercise every day – either biokinetics, pilates, running, or stretching, and always a walk with the hounds.
Practically, work-week-wise, I aim to
- create one blog, related to my 3 areas of interest:
- a related email each week, and
- create weekly social media around that.
Practically, monthly, and
- with the aim of doing less in mind, I will be returning to my monthly challenges, which I have always found to help me make progress.
Lessons from Looking Back
I spent 2020 fervently studying online business skills. I stayed up late for zoom classes and signed up for a great many valuable webinars. I prioritised my learning, which was good at that time and in that context.
In 2021 I developed some simple systems, put my new skills into action, learnt more, changed direction, started some new projects, and caught my breath.
New year new plans: this year, 2022, my priorities are different, and I am now okay with that.
This year, now that I have learnt a lot about the digital world,
- I have returned to prioritising simplicity,
- I am increasingly prioritising myself (which includes 10pm bedtime – so no late webinars), and
- I have a newfound energy for prioritising my family, with presence.
As we evolve, our needs and desires shift, and I have learnt that this is acceptable.
We are all allowed to change. In fact, we are supposed to do so.
New Year New Plans – The Acceptably Ever-Evolving Blog
The simple beautiful life blog started out as an ode to Minimalism with its ability to improve quality of life.
It then became a home for my affiliate marketing business, and as I leave that behind (as it didn’t resonate with me), it will evolve along with me.
In my experience of Minimalism, I have found that there is a path that many follow: Clearing clutter seems to lead to simplifying how we choose to spend our time, which leads to increased self-awareness – because we need to know ourselves as we intentionally choose lives that are suited to us.
This is what happened to me and as I follow others’ stories online I see similar trajectories.
What starts out as a decluttering fit, grows into a life-changing series of lessons and decisions around personal growth.
I love the digital space. The more time I spend there, however, the more I wish to use it as a tool, and not let it become a boss.
When I started my online affiliate business, I spent a lot of time trying to squeeze myself into the role of a subtle seller of digital products online – but I discovered that isn’t a fitting persona for me. I went on a fitting personal journey while I studied (I am still very much on the personal journey) – and for this, the studying was entirely worth it.
But the more time I spend online, the more I am coming to believe in
- a more simple, less-hustle life of real connection with other people who are in the same room as me, and
- being more present as each real moment of my life slips bye.
New Year New Plans – this year I am returning to a blog about simplicity and this time around will add in more about self-focus.
Could February Be The New January?
So – what do you think about starting fresh now? The start of February, or March, or April?
What is your word for the year?
What intentions or big goals do you have for 2022?
What have you learnt recently and how will you put these lessons into action so you can make those changes you desire?
New Year New Plans – what are yours?
If you would like some of the simple systems I use to create good habits – here they are.
I would be interested to hear your thoughts.
Thanks for reading.