We work in cycles and seasons, be it daily or yearly, and often associated with time.
Is it because it’s an easy and consistent unit to measure?
Is it because society dictates this system?
Either way, let’s face it, it works - it works with our routines, our schedules and our behaviours. Nature doesn’t quite have an iPhone or Casio to keep track of time...it’s much smarter than that. It knows when to bloom, when to hibernate, when to rest and when to respond - if only we learnt more from nature or at least looked to nature for (more) inspiration.
If we didn’t keep track of time (the usual way) but instead used internal and external signals as cues to trigger a response, how much better off would we be?
Now I appreciate that there are certain elements of society that we do ‘need’ to adhere too, as we might be in a job that doesn’t have flexible hours, kids that need to get to school, or meetings and events that are bound by ‘usual’ measures of time.
However, looking at the bigger picture, what if we did come off schedule? What if we did break away from the norm?
There’s no wrong or right, it’s more about discovering what's right for you and what works for you right now. We get caught up into societal pressures, with specific milestones at particular ‘times’ but this is certainly changing. The working world is changing, our lifestyles are changing, our planet is changing. So there is certainly room for a more dynamic lifestyle but that can be quite scary.
What would that look like for you?
I love the freedom and flexibility but also love the structure, so ensure that my non-negotiables are in my diary, such as running and Bootcamp, which keep me in check and I also find are a great start to my day. I broke away from the corporate rat-race a long time ago and whilst it was exciting it was f-cking hard too but that's a blog for another time and I’m sure stories that I've shared with you before and, if not, will do in the near future.
In short, I realised that I wanted more from life and from work, I wanted to be inspired, I wanted to inspire and I wanted purpose. There was no manual, no guidebook, no set of rules.
You can read a million books, posts and blogs, but we’re all different so someone else’s story won’t be yours. Yes, they can help you find commonality, lay down some rules, get some strategies in place but it has to come from you.
It depends on your schedule, your past, your desires, your ambition and most importantly how hard you’re prepared to work to make it happen.
I wish I had a bit more support to help me transition across, I wished I found my community or tribe, to keep me on the right path but I guess that’s part of the process, going off-piste. This allows you to understand your boundaries, it’s then about going outside of that comfort zone to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, and to realise that that’s a place of growth and development.
The new year is always a great transition to start something new. We’ve had the time and space to think, we’ve generally been with those closest to us and realise what’s important, not to mention over indulged and ready to get back on track (or find a new track).
It’s the change in our schedule that allows for so much change, different environments and different patterns that evoke different behaviours and this is how Project Change was created.
One of the main reasons I found it so difficult to create change is that everything around me was the same, I had the same schedule, the same routine, the same patterns, the same workspace, the same people, the same route, the same lunch...EVERYTHING was the same!!
So, of course, my behaviour, or more importantly my attitude, was the same. To create change within an environment that’s not changing, takes tremendous willpower and determination, which is why in many cases people hit rock bottom before change actually occurs.
I read all the books and articles that I could and whilst they inspired me they didn’t give me the push that I needed, it was when I got so low that I knew something had to give. So what guidance can I now offer to help others….
If you’re not happy, do something about it: life is too short to be mediocre and it’s only you that can make those changes happen.
Take some time out: give yourself the space and time to think, evaluate and plan. Try to discover what it is you really want to change.
Get outside: we get so much from nature without even realising it. Our senses are heightened through visual, audio and olfactory cues (ones in which we evolved in) so this will automatically reduce your cortisol levels, blood pressure, stress and anxiety.
Go somewhere new: a change in environment allows for different behaviours, different thought process and therefore different actions to occur.
Set a unit of time that works for you: it may be a feeling of contentment or a feeling of ‘i-can’t-take-it-anymore’ (try not to reach that point) but whatever that time unit may be, make sure it’s right for you and not imposed upon you. Do it because it feels right.
Set milestones: as big or small as they may be, set targets and goals so that you can see your progression. Quite often we achieve so much but we don’t acknowledge it. Embrace it and celebrate it.
Keep the end goal in sight: no matter what obstacles you face, it’s this end goal that will keep you going, no matter what.
Ask for help: you’ll be surprised at the number of people that have been in similar situations and happy to share their experience. Don’t be afraid to reach out.
Don’t stick to formalities: which is why I'm only doing 9 points and not 10. These points just felt right, why do I need to make up a tenth to ‘fit-in’. Do what’s right for you.
Change can be really hard and after my journey, I want to ensure that I can help others through that transition. Check out www.projectchangeyou.com if you’re also looking at creating change in your life.
In the meantime, Happy New Year - make it a good one!