Dreaming BIG but starting small – a different approach to new year resolutions

So 2013 is nearly over and to be honest, I’ll be glad to see the back of it.  It has been a particularly full and turbulent year for our family to the point that I can’t figure out how we’ve fitted it all in.  We’ve seen births and deaths, marriages and separations, changes and frustrations.  And then to top it all off, I smashed the screen of my beloved ipod touch last week 😦

Don’t get me wrong, there have been some amazing moments and accomplishments (for example, Mischa is now up to 207 skips and aiming for a thousand, and I am currently enjoying my friend’s INCREDIBLE homemade truffles).  Usually these kind of things help to keep me afloat, as does the ability to see the reason in everything.  But I have to confess that in 2013 it’s felt like we’ve been kicked in the teeth time after time without time to recover.  However, even though we’ve only had it a month or so, I have found myself coming back to the manifesto we created in November and using it as something to tie my tiny red kite to as it gets buffeted in the winds.  It’s helped me feel better.  Like we’re heading down a new path.

And this is why I love new year.  Not Hogmanay as such.  I won’t be heading up town to the street party to be surrounded by drunks and have no idea of how I’ll get home.  No way hosay, those days are over thankfully.  I like the chance the new year brings to pause for a bit and think about the year ahead.  I’m not going in for resolutions this year though.  January is not a good month to make big changes that I tell myself will be good for me overall but I know I’ll give up on a couple of weeks in.  In my present mental state, I don’t want to pile on that guilt thanks.

So instead, I am going to make one small change for the better every month.  That way I can try it out to see if it has the desired effect and hopefully, knowing it’s only for a month will help keep me motivated.  Basically, I’m pinching the idea from Leo Babauta of Zen Habits who is in the middle of a Year of Living Without  and Matt Cutt’s TED talk.   I am also going to set myself three BIG goals for 2014.  I have no idea what they are yet but I feel excited just thinking about the possibilities!

Expectation quote - Michael J Fox

So small changes while dreaming big.  And to help in that, perhaps the biggest challenge of all.  I’m going to try to let go of stupid, unhelpful expectations – of myself, of others and of life (see Selina Barker’s post on this).  I have no idea if 2014 is going to be any better than 2013.  The vast majority of things that happened were so far out of anyone’s control they couldn’t be anticipated, never mind planned for.  But a lot of the frustrations and disappointments were because I was holding up some kind of expectation of how things should be.  That’s tiring and I need my energy for more important stuff in the coming year.  

All the very best in 2014 for you and yours!

Enjoying the small things in life

As part of our manifesto, we chose to enjoy the small things in life.  I thought I’d share one example of this when Jude and I spent a nice hour earlier this week drawing together. Usually I help the kids set up their drawing things at the kitchen table so I can get on with the dishes or cleaning or some other boring task. But I was in a strange mood and needed to do something to lighten it.  The kids had become obsessed with cracking nuts – a task their granny had just taught them. It’s probably a combination of the noise and mess it makes.  I don’t think they’ve ate any of them but I’ve been stepping on pieces of broken shell all week. Not nice with bare feet :0

As a way of taking his mind off cracking every single nut in the bowl, I started drawing round the empty shells to make animals like tortoises and crabs.  He joined in and after a while we got really creative, fishing for nuts… (extra points for correct guesses of what they are :))
Fishing for nuts (2)

After that there was no stopping us.  I think we came into our finest hour creating evil fruit in the fruit bowl…
Evil fruit (2)

The photo doesn’t do it justice.  We drew faces on some of the nuts too.  I tell you, if you have any trouble getting your kids to eat fruit, get some edible dye and draw faces on them.

We’ve only got one left.  There’s been a satsuma massacre in our kitchen.