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Break, rest and review – make some resolutions for the new year

Break, rest and review - make some resolutions for the new year

Here we are… it’s 2019 and already the month of January has passed. We have been on a break for about two weeks over the festive season. I spent some time in Kangaroo Valley, Tapitallee near Nowra as well as a visit to Mollymook. When I was away, I reviewed how hard we had all been working throughout 2018. The break meant time to catch up with friends, eat, drink, read, listen to music and have unrelated-to-work conversation. For me, breaks are good and an important time to review, reignite the batteries and prepare for new challenges.
Kangaroo Valley the serenity of the bushland
Nowra – a bit more busy but still away from the big smoke
Mollymook is more built up than I remember, but the beaches are heaven on a stick

The things in common with these three areas is their proximity to Sydney, but they’re all far enough away to feel change. Within 3 to 4 hours you are in a different world. I admire people with holiday houses but for me they represent what I left behind. My husband and I are unashamedly urban but breaks away at such idyllic places are good medicine. The drive down gives us the chance to talk or listen to music or podcasts. By the time we reach our destination we are in holiday mode and ready to unpack, settle in and relax and have a few nibbles of cheese, olives, sliced meat and a glass of wine.

At each place we stayed we met up with friends, ranging from scientists and chemists to IT experts and graphic designers. The thing we all had in common was a taste for conversation, good food and reading and all of us perchance owned and ran our own businesses which meant we had other things in common. All our business lives were very busy, so it took being away to truly relax.

In December and January, I usually reflect on the past year and make new year resolutions with the best of intentions. I keep a diary so seeing what I did and did not do is easy. Making resolutions each year is the simple part – following through is another thing.

My resolutions are usually made in the abstract. Sometimes I write them down, and when I do, at the end of the year, I can look at them again and see which ones I carried to fruition, which I did not and why. I write some of them here and will review them the same time next year.

Here are some of them for thought:-
·         Learn something new
·         Eat better
·         Read more books
·         Listen to more podcasts
·         Be more grateful to the people who support me
·         Procrastinate less
·         Go for more walks
·         Go to the gym regularly
·         Be more confident
·         More mindfulness meditation
·         Increase my emotional intelligence
·         Learn a new skill
·         Be kinder to myself
·         Travel more
·         Volunteer for a worthy cause
·         Improve my business

I believe the trick to turning one’s resolutions into action is to also think about one’s habits which often prevent us from doing what we told ourselves to do and what we would love to do. Sometimes it is our habits that affect the way we behave, and sometimes it is other people’s habits. For example, you may want to go for a swim once a week and you tell your partner and they say to you such things as “don’t you think it’s too hot or too cold, or maybe let’s go later”.  They may also say “why don’t you rest and maybe go tomorrow”, or suggest a task they would like you to do. My experience is that these suggestions may be well-meaning, but don’t be distracted from your choice.

My starting point without wanting to be selfish is ignore that and do what you want to do.  By doing so you are exercising your choice, not your partner’s choice.  There are times I have accepted my partner’s suggestions as an excuse to stop me from doing something I would really like to do. The problem with this is, if you don’t do what you set out to do, you may start to unfairly become resentful of your partner. Other reasons we put aside what we really would like to do is to not want to upset your partner because we feel guilty if we do so. Then, as I mentioned, there are times that I drum up my own excuse and later regret it and still feel guilty, angry and disappointed with myself.

There is an old book I have read about guilt that I found a good guide on how to say no without feeling guilty. It’s title is “When I Say No, I Feel Guilty” by Manuel J Smith and though it was published a long time ago, it remains relevant today. The lessons in the book can be applied to your relationship friends, family, co-workers and boss and may help you fulfil one of your resolutions.

Another good read is the New York Times’ Best seller “The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do and how to change” by Charles Duhigg. The Times summary reads “perfect for anyone trying to start the new year off right, this instant classic explores how we can change our lives by changing our habits.”

I suppose in summary what I am trying to say is after holidays, I relax so much more and when a new year comes along, I try to do what I resolved to do. I also try to work out how I can transpose that feeling of holiday relaxation to my everyday life and be less reactive to challenges that come when one is back at work or returned to the usual routine. Carrying out some or all of my resolutions helps defeat habits. Without dealing with the latter, how do we achieve the former?

So, if you live or work in a strata, maybe reflect on your behaviour last year and make some new years resolutions such as:

·        Remember you are part of a community no matter how small or big
·        Be more respectful of others
·        Read more
·        Learn more
·        Attend meetings
·        Put your position across politely
·        Avoid personal attacks
·        Take an interest in the common property
·        Keep abreast of what your local council is up to
·        Think before writing angry emails or leaving voice messages
·        Avoid fiefdoms
·        Remember your strata manager is there to help

Happy New Year!
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