[Ad – previous collaboration. This post features a product which I reviewed earlier in the year]
At the start of the year, I wrote a goals post outlining what I wanted to achieve. Inspired by Sophie Cliff, I decided to focus on feeling rather than doing so, rather than comparing myself to everyone else and thinking I had to hit certain milestones, I shared that I wanted to feel:
I’ve been using my bullet journal to check in at the end of each month and note my progress. As is to be expected, I haven’t been consistent with each area every month. By taking this time to reflect, I’ve been able to reprioritise and focus on what’s important to me. Here’s a look back at each area in turn.
Feel more creative
January: I’m enjoying adding a bit more to my bullet journal but still haven’t used my new Calligraphy Journal – prioritise next month.
February: Still yet to use Calligraphy Journal but have booked on to two workshops which I’m really looking forward to.
March: The workshops definitely helped with this, as did my confidence-boosting phone call with Tom from Go Stationery. Had a go at Calligraphy Journal and failed miserably – me or the pens? Loved doing my Spring bucket list.
April: Loved reviewing new products for National Stationery Week.
May: I’ve really enjoyed getting into brush lettering with my Spectrum Noir pens and want to continue this.
June: Managed to have a brainstorming day at work – only the second time this has happened in a year!
Feel more challenged
January: I’ve taken on a couple of briefs at work which require more thought.
February: My patience has been tested a lot lately! Challenges also include securing Stationery Week sponsorship and potty training Jenson.
March: Loved working on the Pause campaign in day job.
April: Time management is a challenge, particularly regarding reduced hours at work.
May: Definitely challenged in the day job. Have challenged myself to grow my blog and signed up to Grow & Glow – should be fun.
June: Have been doing extra training – Understanding Autism and Mental Health Awareness, along with Grow & Glow.
Feel more productive
January: I managed to stay on top of my workload in the day job but would like to be able to schedule blog posts further in advance and be more on top of my admin.
February: Blog stats are slipping and I’m doing less Twitter chats in favour of sleep. Need to tackle energy levels so I can be more productive.
March: For a minute there I was sleeping well and managing to blog at night but that seems to have gone downhill. Also struggling with revised work hours. Hate delegating/dumping work on others.
April: I met all of my deadlines but feel a bit over-worked.
May: The small bits of time I should have for myself keep getting taken up by other things but I’ve managed to catch up on blog posts and keep everyone happy – for the most part.
June: Now that Jenson is falling asleep in his own bed, I’m able to spend more time in the office in the evening and get stuff done.
Feel more rested
January: I’ve certainly not been short of sleep this month (average nine hours a night) but don’t really feel any better for it. Waiting on blood test results.
February: I should feel rested considering how much I sleep – only three nights where I had less than eight hours sleep and 11 where I had ten or more. What’s wrong?!
March: I’ve been sleeping more again but don’t necessarily feel any better for it – always flagging by the time I put Jenson to bed. Not had much me time – no bath and podcast night yet this year.
April: Slept eight hours plus more often than not but don’t feel particularly rested.
May: Took a week away from the blog while I was poorly and finally had my spa day. Still don’t feel particularly rested – mostly because I feel guilty for not doing something fun with Jenson when I’m not at work and he’s not at nursery.
June: Average sleep has gone from nine hours last month to seven and a half this month. After two or three months caffeine free, I’ve gone back to a couple of cups a day. Coupled with Jenson sleeping/office time, I’m getting more done at night, staying up later and not feeling too bad for it (apart from the initial getting out of bed bit).
Feel more organised
January: Bullet journal has helped loads, as well as implementing the system in my day job diary. Could do with reorganising home office and desk.
February: Definitely organised – but not tidy.
March: Managing to keep on top of life admin and blog is well organised.
April: Bullet journal has been essential for Stationery Week and Stationery Show prep.
May: I certainly always have a plan but the house is a state – must (give up my time to) fix this before inspection
June: Planning ahead is hard. I plan to get shit done while Jenson is in nursery and it all goes a bit tits up when he’s off sick.
Woe is me, right? Wrong! Now that I can recognise trends, I can do something about it. I’ve used my Forward Thinking journal (initially reviewed during National Stationery Week) to look at my current state of wellbeing, happiness and fulfilment and see what I can do to improve this.
This journal isn’t just an absolute stunner, it’s genuinely useful and insightful. It draws on research and suggests mindful activities to help you live the life you want to lead. it’s not your typical wishy-washy template journal – it’s written by Peter Coxon, a consultant psychologist, who focuses on personal and leadership development – exactly what I need.
Did you know that ‘40% of our happiness can be relatively easily influenced by our intentional activities, how we think and how we behave’? The first third of the journal is truly fascinating. ‘After completing some generic positioning questionnaires, there are 52 weekly mindfulness activities to encourage you to be Forward Thinking, to engage your intentional activities and to raise your happiness set point’.
Initial questions encourage you to reflect on the positives from the last 12 months, such as what sparked your interest, what gave you joy, and what gave you real satisfaction. Then reflective questions look at six key areas of your life: relationships, health, fitness & wellbeing, job satisfaction, personal activities, finances, and community.
The Oxford happiness questionnaire is really interesting. It turns out that ‘most people’s happiness tends not to change significantly through their lives. Major life changing events tend to have short term impacts, yet within two years or so most people return to their ‘set point’. The good news is that we can work on ourselves to cultivate attitudes and behaviours that promote our own happiness and wellbeing and improve our set point’.
My set point is 3. Your score is individual and can’t be compared to others; there’s no right or wrong score but it can move throughout your life by up to two points either side. ‘By working on our outlook and developing some self discipline in our thinking and our behaviour, this score can be increased and maintained at that higher position’.
I like that, when it comes to finding happiness activities that fit, Coxon recognises that some of these may make people feel uncomfortable or pressured, and some may come easier. I’ll be using my bullet journal throughout the next six months to focus on gratitude, savouring the little things, being kinder to myself and working on my goals.
The second third of the journal features weekly mindfulness activities, before encouraging you to reflect on the last six months and see if your ‘set point’ has changed. You can also see if your feelings about those six key areas have changed. Here’s where I’m at now:
There’s also a short section to look at what you could do to improve in those areas. Of course, tackling all three in the space of six months or a year is hard (just look at my goals tracker for the last six months), so Coxon prompts you to pick three areas to focus on.
My priorities for the rest of the year are:
- get outside every day
- have fun with Jenson
- eat better/be more active
- work on personal and professional development
- continue to journal daily, focusing on the positives
While my initial goals are still important to me, I think refocusing them will prove helpful and I like that they contribute more to my own wellbeing, happiness and fulfilment.
How are you going with your 2019 goals? Have you been reflecting and reprioritising?