In 2015, I made the generic mistake of writing a list of ambiguous and unrealistic goals that, for many reasons, I did not complete or even begin. Life has a funny way of throwing obstacles in your pathway, forcing you to change your course and find an alternative route.
At the top of my list was moving to Vietnam. With my TEFL qualification in hand, I had my heart set on teaching in local schools, playing my part in the expat community and travelling around South East Asia thereafter. The travelling bug was still infecting my system after Tanzania and the innate desire to leave the UK was itching my feet. Yet, I never accounted for external factors that may affect my decision nor comes to terms with the fact that life still continues even when i’m away. With that said, I hadn’t predicted that our family home would sell and my parents dream of a life in Devon would become a reality. Nor did I expect to fall madly in love.
‘You still could have gone to Vietnam though, right?’ you may be thinking. Well yes, I could have. But I soon realised that I would be moving to Vietnam for all of the wrong reasons. I would be avoiding the current situation I had found myself in: Life after graduation. Moving 6,000 miles across the globe would not solve my problems, it would only put them on hold, as they would be patiently awaiting my return; no job, no money, no place of my own. 2015 taught me that having security is one of my core values and without that I feel lost. Feeling settled and secure financially, physically and emotionally has become a priority from which I can make plans to venture forward.
So What Did 2015 Teach Me?
2015 taught me that I cannot always be in control. Without each event that occurred, easy or difficult decision I made or uncomfortable or remarkable situation I found myself in, I wouldn’t be where I am today. If somebody had said to me on day 1 that 2015 would mean swapping Asia for the UK, having numerous jobs, going on spontaneous trips to Europe, meeting my soul mate, selling the family home and moving back to Brighton, I wouldn’t have believed a word of it. 2015 has taught me to trust what it is my heart and allow the Universe to do it’s thing.
2015 taught me to be kinder to myself and to others. I have learnt to accept that it is okay not to be happy all of the time. It is perfectly normal to have days or weeks when life is crap. When you’re fed up and you want change. When you hit rock bottom and the only way to get back up is to accept that it can only get better from here. And it did. And it always does. 2015 encouraged me to buy gifts or food for the homeless, send packages to local charities, be more compassionate and kind to strangers and to show more love to myself and others.
2015 taught me that I can’t change habits overnight. Another goal on my list was to run a half marathon. A goal I thought in hindsight could be completed without training or hard work. Without dedication or pushing myself. Yes I ran more in 2015, but it never stuck as a habit. Nor will it probably stick in 2016. However, I did look after my body better. I ate more nourishing foods, had months of becoming more spiritually aware, took up yoga (for a short while) and embracing self-loving. 2015 marked the year and a half anniversary of being Vegan, a complete lifestyle change that I would never have predicted 18 months before hand. It has had its minor slip ups and bumps along the way but I am healthier and happier than ever before. I changed my lifestyle because I went against the grain, endured the comments and thoughts of others and continued to be true to who I am. I am proud of myself for that.
2015 taught me to let adventure seek you rather than seek adventure. I had made a list of X,Y& Z places that I wanted to visit in 2015, many of those trips to be made alone and many of which never happened. I had never planned to visit Prague, Budapest and Austria with my best friend, nor see Slipknot play in Belgium. Visiting the Lake District with my life partner and witnessing the Northern Lights would have seemed like an impossible occurrence but it happened. All of these adventures were spontaneous, created from a wild desire to go somewhere new, experience a different culture and let adventure find us. And of course, all of which were trips I didn’t make alone.
So, My Goals For 2016 Are…
Save More // Spend Less
Putting money aside each week into my savings is a good place to start. Currently those savings are for moving out of this flat into a new place for Chris and I. Regardless of what the Universe chucks into the mix, and if those plans change, having savings is always worthwhile.
Nourish More // Abuse Less
Nourishing my body and eating a more wholesome diet really does do wonders. There have been many ups and downs in the past with getting enough vitamins and nutrients but with a conscious effort to change and caring about what I put into my body, I know I will reap the benefits. Making more conscious choices when buying products to keep in line with my lifestyle choices is an effort I want to continue and progress further with.
Watch More For Knowledge // Watch Less For Passing Time
I have a terrible habit of watching pointless television shows merely for passing time. 2015 saw a major cut down in reality TV shows that are materialistic and false and rather I turned to more lighthearted comedy. This year I want to watch more documentaries that are informative, intellectual and add brain cells rather than kill them off.
Focus More On The Inner // Focus Less On The Outer
Mid 2015 saw a huge growth in my spiritual awareness and I became engrossed with living more in the present and focusing on creating my own inner happiness. Although my inner peace hasn’t dwindled too much, my ability to deal with change and focus on the now has suffered over the last six months. As much as my confidence and self belief has grown, taking a more positive attitude, moaning less and concentrating more on bettering myself can only be beneficial to everyone.
More Creativity // Less Procrastination
Focusing on my Art and finding the motivation to set personal deadlines is key to achieving this goal. Spending my free time productively whilst putting less pressure on myself to produce produce produce will hopefully create a healthy balance.
More Exploring // Less Routine
Whether it’s abroad, in the UK or even in my City, exploring more and pushing myself outside of my comfort zone is a focus for the year. I could sit and write a list of numerous places I want to visit in the next 365 days but I know that would be unrealistic. Getting the work/social/travel life balance is important this year and to not take on too many tasks at once.
More Love // Less Hate
Generic or not, steering away from negativity and focusing more on my loved ones and my own pathway will create a much more loving environment. Worrying less about what other people think is easier said than done but changing my mindset and loving more can only make things better.
These goals may seem rather vague and unspecific but within each sector lies many a task. After all, it is inevitable that things will change this year, for better or maybe for worse. But, what I do know is, everything works out just as the Universe intended however hard it may seem at the time. We have to trust in our struggles, accept the bad days enjoy the good and keep on smiling.
‘You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, LET GO and see what happens’