The older I get, each year seems to pass by in the blink of an eye. I’m constantly aware of the many things I still want to achieve and quite honestly, I feel like time is running away from me. Hours turn into days, days turn into weeks and the weeks turn into months. The older I get, the more anxious I become about trying to figure out how I can steer myself in the direction of the dreams I still want to reach.
For as long as I can remember I’ve tried to cram as much into my days as possible, convincing myself I can tear myself into a dozen pieces and complete a multitude of tasks and projects, hobbies, goals, dreams, and desires. Flailing around in the darkness with arms outstretched, frantically trying to figure out in which direction I should be heading.
But then last month, Susannah Conway hosted ‘The August Break’, an Instagram challenge with daily prompts for the whole month. What I liked about the challenge was that there were no rules. You could follow along on a daily, or weekly basis, every other day or every weekend. For someone who’s tried multiple photo-a-day challenges, I found this so refreshing. There was no pressure – you could just join in as and when you felt inspired. I joined in for 10 days and it felt good just to jump in and out without feeling guilty. The last prompt of the challenge was simply, ‘August was….’. I say simply, but the fact is it stopped me in my tracks, and as I looked back over the month I realised I’d had a significant shift in attitude. Instead of taking a photo, I decided to write a blog post about what August was to me.
The month I slowed down: Instead of trying to tear myself into a million pieces I took a step back and looked at all of my unfinished projects, my endless to-do lists, and all the unrealistic aspirations I wanted to complete before the end of the year. I looked at what was working and what wasn’t working, then asked myself, in my heart of hearts, what did I really want? The answer was unexpected. I took a content writing course earlier in the year as I felt that was where I was heading, and while writing is still very much on my radar, it’s not something I’m ready to go full steam ahead with right now. When I looked at everything, I realised my printing business was where I wanted my main focus to be. Once I removed the pressure and let everything else fall away, I ended up having my best month of the year so far.
I committed to my meditation practice: I can be quite flaky with meditation. Even though I know I feel better when I practice regularly, sometimes I fight it. But through the month of August, even if it was only 10 minutes a day, I set aside time to just be. To sit, breathe, and really notice what I was feeling. The outcome from doing this meant I actually started to crave that time alone to just sit and let everything else fall away.
I focused on what was working in my business: Running a printing/handmade business, I’m constantly aware of the products I’m offering. Should I be offering something new, and what should it be? And also, what new skills do I need to learn in order to offer that product? Last month I had plans of releasing some wedding stationery, but unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. Rather than beating myself up about it, I decided to look at what was already working for me and market those products even more instead. The result? More sales than I expected.
I chose to embrace positive thinking: I’m not generally a negative person, but there are days when I fall down the rabbit hole and find it difficult to climb out. Last month I finally read ‘The Miracle Morning: The 6 Habits That Will Transform Your Life Before 8am’. It’s been on my Amazon wish list for a while now, so I figured it was time to buy it. To be honest, I was already part way there. I exercise 6 days a week, I write in my journal, I have a meditation practice (perhaps not as regular as it should be) and I read every day. The two things that were missing were affirmations and visualisation. I’ve always been on the fence about affirmations, saying positive statements out loud was a bit too woo-woo for my liking, so I did the next best thing – I wrote them down. I found that by writing down positive statements about things I wanted to achieve or how I wanted my day to go, I became more productive and approached things with more of a positive attitude. And when negative thoughts started to creep in, I tried to replace them with a positive statement.
Stressful: Although I chose to approach August with a positive attitude, it was still a stressful month. We’ve lived in our current house for 12 years (which is approx. 11 years too long for my liking!). We’ve been wanting to move for a while and in August our house went up for sale and sold the same day. Before buying our current house we’d always rented, so had never had to deal with the stresses of actually selling a house, and as our house was also a new build, there was never any chain to deal with. Unfortunately, last week we were informed there was a problem further down the chain and things began to go a little pear shaped as we realised we might not have a buyer anymore and may need to put our house back on the market. But, as things stand at the moment, we may have our buyer back and things could be okay. There have been many times over the past month when all I’ve wanted to do is run away from everything and not look back.
So, that was August. September is already proving to be challenging in many ways, but I’m doing my very best to remain positive. How was your August?