The best new year’s resolution might just be to leave space.

top leftThe ‘Crimbo Limbo’, the day after Boxing Day until you go back to work is a strange period. It is the only time of year I sleep in, owing to the fact that my bedtime creeps further and further back. It is also the only time of year when Christmas cake and Quality Street are acceptable for breakfast. That, and watching three films back to back. Physical lethargy aside however, I have found it to be an excellent time for reflection.

For years now, Lorraine and I have pretty much milked new year to death with assessment of the outgoing year, and hopes for the new one. What was the best thing, the worst thing, the funniest thing? Best film, best book, best meal? What do you want to do, see, create next year? From those conversations, we constructed the 8760 chart (hours in a year) as a place to set down some plans for the next 12 months. We began assembling it about eighteen months ago, so this is the first year we have had one to review, as well as one to write.

In short, some things got done, some things didn’t. To be honest, some things were scribbled on last year that I wasn’t very serious about! This year, I’m approaching it differently. Making plans is a good thing; you are more likely to do something, if you set a goal to get it done. But plans can also get in the way. Let me explain.

I like our chart (but then I would say that, ‘cause we sell them), but plans, and carrying them out, are the expression of what we want out of life. What matters more than the plans, are the values we hold.

Try this now. In 3-5 words, what’s most important to you? Take your time, choose these things carefully; what really matters?

Now look back at 2017. How did those values express themselves in all the activity of the last 8760 hours?

Then look forward to 2018. How would you like to create space for those values in this incoming year? For example, if relationships with other people was on your list, what plans are you making to ensure there is time for those people? This is how I’m going to approach my plans for the new year this year. And with one other consideration.

In planning out the next twelve months, I’m going to keep in mind what’s most important to me. Not everything on my chart is of equal importance, so in all of the planning, I’m going to keep some empty spaces in mind. Not just for right now, but hopefully for the whole year. Space to allow other possibilities to interrupt my plans, that might better serve what I wanted from the year to begin with. This year’s chart might end up with a few boxes crossed out mid-year, and something else scribbled in.

The important thing isn’t the plan; the important things are the values held, when the plan was being made.

Whatever 2017 brought; whatever your plans for 2018, happy new year!

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