Category Archives: How To

The Stoic’s Guide to 2017

Starting a New Year is filled with anticipatory anxiety. Who will die this year?  Will I lose the weight this year? Will I find the perfect lover? Will I clear out the junk drawer?

So many expectations and yet so many surprises come and smash us in the face year after year and we’re in shock. This wasn’t on the “To-Do list,” we moan. Of course, it wasn’t on any list, no one writes down:

  • Bury Dad
  • Find lump
  • Attempt suicide
  • Have car crash
  • Get robbed.

I find standard goal setting is futile in an uncertain world. My 2016 was better because I had no idea what my year would look like, instead, I just worked hard on myself and stayed open to opportunities,  and I certainly didn’t have any presumptions about what the year was supposed to bring me.  I am not #blessed, as some like to write on Instagram. As though they were chosen above all other to have such bliss enter their life. I am not blessed. And for the record neither are you.

I have experienced two years of drama, and every time another blow came, I just shook it off and kept going. Not because I am so amazing but because I didn’t have a choice.

So, if I have learned anything from my two years of cataclysm and calamity, it is simply that you cannot predict an outcome, you can only control your role in the process and nothing more.

This week, I spoke to a friend whose child is undergoing serious and potentially life ending treatment for cancer.

“Stoicism wins the day. You can control your part of the process in your son’s life but nothing more. Stay centered and process driven. 🏹🏆”

Now here is my list on how to set goals like a Stoic and be a process driven machine.

  1. Write down what you want to do.
  2. Assess the current state of your situation.
  3. Where are your weaknesses?
  4. Where do you need to improve?
  5. What can you do to turn the weaknesses into strengths?
  6. How will your life have to change?
  7. What will you do when people question or even mock you?
  8. And finally, how will achieving this goal push you towards being the person you want to be?

Let’s look at this in relation to  a real goal.

Perhaps your goal is to have a book published.

If you are setting stoic goals, the goal would be not to be published but instead, the noble goal of bringing you closer to your fated self.  To write something that you are proud of,  that you hope will help people or bring enjoyment to others.

To write something that is the result of you pushing yourself to become a better writer with each draft, to assess your writing, and your process and see where it can improve.

Take a writing course, read more, make more time to do both of these, so perhaps you have to give up watching television two nights of the week. Will your loved ones support you in this? Will they step up to help you reach the goals of becoming a focused, principled, learned writer?

Get it?

And will this bring you to the initial, naive goal of being published? Who knows? If the Fates allow, but that’s not the point, is it? The point is- make the goal noble, make the process stringent, and change your life to support this. The rest is up to destiny, and after the clusterfuck of 2016 we have learned that life turns on a dime and the best we can do is just make progress however we can, with harm to none and the hope that we will be closer to our true selves by the end of 2017.

Peace to you and may 2017 bring you to your best self.

 

Kate

x

 

 

 

 

Bullet Journals and Changing Your Mindset

So many new things in my world that I haven’t had time to blog. I usually hate people who say that, as though they’re boasting about being busy and important, but I am not lying when I say I haven’t had time to scratch my bum, so I have started this new logging process called Bullet Journaling.

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It is an amazing system, but it does tend to make you see how much you have to get done, as one task leads to another, and then you have a to-do list for life that feels productive if you get it all done, but overwhelming if you’re a bit tired.

For the past five years, I have been in flux in many areas of my life. Now I can plan again. As I said to a friend over the weekend, it feels like the wheel of fortune has turned in my favour again. God knows I’ve been on the bottom, and at times, hanging off the bottom.

So back to the bullet journal. If you Google it you will see 1000 ways to keep this journal but I like to keep it simple. I see it as  a place to log all your thoughts of what you need/want to do. It can be something you want to do tomorrow, or a goal for the next year, or in five years.

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When you’re in a bad place, and you’re just surviving, there are no plans,  other than just getting through the week, or even the day at some times, so trying to remember how to dream and make goals is a foreign concept.

Permission to dream is a luxury. Sometimes life is such a clusterfuck of bad luck, bad decisions, illness and external disaster that you can’t breathe for the bad juju, but when things turn around you can start to change your mindset again.

And this is why I’m writing it all down so I don’t forget the good stuff. It can feel like life is slipping past you when you’re struggling mentally or physically, as though you’re in the gutter waving at the parade of good things, and not being asked to join in the celebrations.

So in the Bullet Journal you list everything you have to do for the month. The week, the day and then break it down into lists again.

Your journal is really like a blueprint of your brain. If you have 1000 ideas in a single day, then this is your place for putting them down.

Book ideas. Books to read. Songs to download. Films to watch. Places to visit. Things to look up. The lists are endless. This is your life, so start dreaming and go for it!

 

*These are not my journals. These images are from Pinterest.