September is the start of my new year. For as long as I can remember I have worked in academic years.
I was at school, the new year started in September, that was when you started with a new teacher in a new class, new school even.
Then I went to college to do my teacher training. Again new year started in September.
When I started teaching I then had my new class and started a new year in September.
Now I am a Mum, my children start new school years and change class or school in September and of course I work in schools.
This is deeply engrained programming.
I once tried to use a yearly diary.
It was disastrous. My brain just doesn’t work in calendar years. So now I have accepted that my year starts in the Autumn and concludes in the Summer.
I am an academic diary girl and I always will be.
But why am I telling you this?
Well, I have been reflecting. That’s what we do at the start of a new year isn’t it? We set out what we want to achieve, changes we are going to make and where we want to be at the end of the year.
My new year is no different. I have set my targets for the year, I have created my vision board and I am raring to go.
Part of this process is reflection and acknowledging how far I have come too.
Three and a half years ago I conceived my Calmer Classrooms business. At first I visited schools, delivered training and lessons, but I was unclear what the future of the business was.
Two and a half years ago I began creating lesson plans for teachers so that they could lead mindfulness and relaxation sessions and I started building my newsletter.
Eighteen months ago I began creating my whole school mindfulness programme. I would spend days in my office, creating resources, building my whole school resources, planning how I was going to help schools in as many practical ways as possible.
I was always busy but I was busy doing things in my office. I could do my work at 9am on a Monday or 8pm on a Saturday, as long as I got them done. My friends would get in touch and I could always meet for a catch up. I never missed a school run.
A year ago I had just released my whole school wellbeing package and my teacher resource package. I was amazed every time I had a school sign up or a teacher buy my resources. It was so incredibly satisfying to know that something I had created was being used in schools, not just in the UK, but thanks to the power of the internet, schools around the world were using my programmes and teaching my lessons.
Now I am out in schools, colleges, businesses, networking every week. I never have a week in my office alone. I still take time to create resources but I spend much more time helping in a physical way too.
I used to wonder if my ideas for Calmer Classrooms would ever take off. Whether schools would ever be interested.
It turns out they are.
I have to remember to look back at everything I have done to get here. All the lessons I’ve learned. I have to remember to give myself a pat on the back too!
Do you take time to look back at your journey?
Relfection is so important for learning about ourselves and also for seeing our achievements. So often we are so busy living life we forget to appreciate all the amazing things we have done along the way.
As Kierkegaard points out though, life can only be lived in one direction. Getting the balance between reflection and planning is the key when it comes to achieving in the long term.
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards”
Do you take time to plan and reflect?
You might be feeling like you haven’t achieved anything. I guarantee that if you stop and think about where you were and where you are now you will be surprised.
There may be areas of your life that you aren’t satisfied with. That’s ok. That’s where the planning comes in.
Take the time to look back on the last year. Then get really clear on where you want to be in a year’s time and really focus on how you can get there.
Maybe you want to earn more money?
Perhaps spending more time with loved ones is top of your list.
It could be that you want to get more healthy; eat better, do more exercise… Whatever you want to achieve picture yourself achieving it. Create a vision board and put it somewhere you will see it regularly.
Get really clear on exactly what you want.
You aren’t going to move house, you are going to move to the house of your dreams with a woodland at the bottom of the garden on top of a hill. It has 4 bedrooms and a study, room for friends and family to come and stay, it is near your favourite restaurant and you can still get to your children easily. Be REALLY clear. Find a photo of the house (or whatever it is you want) and believe it is coming, believe it’s already yours you are just waiting for the right time to move.
When I looked back on my vision board from last year I was amazed:
- New car – tick
- Holiday to Italy – tick
- More speaking gigs – tick
- More time for self care – tick
- Get more organised – tick
- Send out my newsletters more regularly – tick
In fact there are only two things on there that I haven’t achieved and they were big things which were always intended to be more long term. But they are coming, I know they are, progress is already being made.
Don’t underestimate the power of putting your energy into something and believing it will happen. Our thoughts are energy and just by believing you start the process. Don’t worry about how, just make the decision and start working towards your goals and watch what happens.