Looking ahead to 2021 doesn’t mean you have to set goals and have a 12-month plan. Thinking about how you want to feel and be as well as what you want to do can give you clarity and a steer on the direction you want to take.
In this episode we look at:
Pressing Pause Podcast episode 76 What would You from December 2021 say?
Welcome to Pressing Pause. I’m Gabrielle Treanor, a coach and writer, and I’m here to share with you ideas, inspiration and actions to empower you to overcome your overwhelm so you can feel calm, confident and in control.
Hello and welcome to episode 76.
In the previous episode we looked at reflecting on the past year, what you can learn from it and what you want to leave behind. Reflecting gives you an opportunity to remember what you accomplished, the big and little wins, how you faced adversity, what you have to be thankful for and to remind yourself of the moments of happiness too. It’s a valuable exercise so if you haven’t heard that episode yet and you’d like to take a little time to reflect on 2020 do have a listen to episode 75.
As I record this 2021 will begin in a couple of weeks’ time. While nothing really changes in the reality of how we live our lives when the calendar flips over to the 1st January, psychologically we can see it differently. You may be super keen to be in a new year and looking forward to the next 12 months. Or you may be viewing the coming year with trepidation, wary of what could lie ahead. Or you might be wanting to make plans, even if they may need to change, so that you feel you’re taking back some control in your life.
However you’re feeling about the coming year it can help to think about how you’d like to feel and be, as well as what you want to do. The time between Christmas and new year can provide a space for you to consider your potential next steps, something we can find hard to do when we’re in the thick of work and life and enthral to our to do lists. Because of this space, and the start of a new calendar year, some people like to set goals and make a plan and if that’s what you want to do then great!
But you don’t have to have a 12-month plan, you don’t have to set SMART goals and know how you’re going to achieve them. Looking ahead doesn’t mean having it all figured out, it just means that you could have more of a steer, be a little more intentional in the coming months if you take some time to think ahead.
You may have decided you’re definitely quitting your job and making your sideline business your full time work. Or perhaps you have a feeling that your current occupation isn’t what you truly want to be doing and that’s something you’d like to explore more.
Maybe this year with its restrictions and more time at home has shone a light on what hasn’t been working for you, on ways of thinking and acting that have created overwhelm and stress, on how you relate to family and friends, on the way others treat you, on how you treat yourself. Perhaps you’ve realised that how life has been and what you’ve been putting up with or settling for, is no longer acceptable to you and you’re unwilling to carry on doing what’s expected of you, being the person others want you to be, keeping yourself small, hiding your opinions and feelings, putting your needs, your wants, your dreams aside as you put everyone else first.
There may be a little knot of tension at the thought of life returning to normal because not everything about normal life was all that great and you’re not sure you want things to go back to being just as they were. It could be that you feel a flutter of excitement because you’ve had a glimpse of how you could do things differently, how life could go at a different pace or take a new direction. You might want to make radical changes or subtle adjustments or something in between.
Perhaps all you know is that you want something to shift, to feel other than you have been. You don’t know what that is, you don’t want to do anything drastic, you just have this inkling that isn’t going away.
We can have these feelings and thoughts at any time and giving consideration to what you want to do or feel and future plans can be done at any time of the year. Spring and Autumn are two points in the calendar when it can feel really good to take stock and lay out a new path.
As I know so many are ready to leave 2020 behind and focus on 2021, and because the start of a new calendar year does have a new start feeling about it, I thought I’d share some journaling prompts to help you look ahead to the coming months. Just like in the last episode I’m sharing 15 questions and, as I said last time, it’s entirely up to you if you choose to work through some or all of them. There’s zero pressure here, it’s whatever feels of use and benefit to you. And it’s up to you when you do this, it doesn’t have to be by the 1st of January, you do it when you want to.
You can address the questions from the point of view of your work, or your personal life, or by applying them to your life as a whole. So that you can refer back to your answers you might want to choose a notebook to write in or save your thoughts as a digital document.
Give yourself some space to do this, it’s in support of you and your future so you don’t want to be clock watching or feel you have to rush through it. Settle yourself into a cosy spot where you can be undisturbed for a while, or make a ritual out of it by lighting a candle or by meditating first.
As well as reading out the questions here you can also find them in the episode transcript in the show notes or by getting this week’s newsletter where I’ll include them too. If you aren’t already signed up to receive my emails you can do so at gabrielletreanor.com/joinme. If you worked through the reflection questions from episode 75 it might help to read over your answers again before addressing these.
Okay, here are 15 journalling questions for looking ahead to the coming year:
As I said, this is not about setting goals and targets and having a nailed down plan for the year. This is about helping you to get a little clarity on how you want to feel and be as well as what you’d like to do so that you can be more intentional, so that you can move a little closer to living in a way that feels good and true for you.
Working through these questions might throw up more questions and that’s okay. You don’t have to have all the answers, none of us do. Think about what or who could help you to address what’s coming up for you and how you can be supported in exploring them further.
Something that 2020 has shown us very clearly is that life is full of uncertainty and we can never be sure when we’re going to be thrown a curveball, or 12 of them. If you’ve been having ‘life is too short’ realisations taking time to think on these questions, and those from episode 75, will help you to get clearer on what you want to leave behind from this year, and what changes you want to make in the coming months so that you’re living your life with less overwhelm and more calm and joy.
Looking ahead and thinking about how you want to feel and what you want to change is often what prompts someone to ask me about one to one coaching. So if this has got you thinking and you’d like to talk with me about how I could support you in 2021, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can find out more about coaching at gabrielletreanor.com/coaching.
And, as I said, the questions I shared in this episode are available in the transcript and in this week’s email newsletter which you can sign up to at gabrielletreanor.com/joinme. You’ll also get my free guide to overcoming overwhelm and you can unsubscribe from the emails any time you like.
This is the last episode of Pressing Pause for 2020 and I want to thank you so much for being here and listening to me chat. I really do hope you find these episodes helpful and I love to hear your thoughts on them so do please message me or find me on Instagram.
So, I’m sending you a huge virtual hug, I wish you a happy, healthy and safe Christmas, and I’ll be back with more episodes in 2021.
Take care until next time, lovely people.
Throughout this website and my work when I refer to women I include people identifying as women.
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You can also talk to the people at Mind on 0300 123 3393 or SANE on 0300 304 7000 or Samaritans on 116 123.
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