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How New Years goals can be the end of you


This is my typical snow ball of goals and anxiety:

This year I will run the marathon, go fully vegan, I will save to buy those tickets to South Africa or Australia, I will bring all my blogs back to life because everyone tells me they are good and have potential, I will talk to strangers on the street for photos and get better at street photography, I will eat healthier, I will bring my cats from Portugal, I will book 40 weddings, I will get fit, I will read 100 books, I will be more present online, I will pay my credit card, I will learn SEO and reach the number 1 page on Goggle search for Destination Photographers, I will do yoga every morning, I will watch all my favourite TV shows, I will prepare my first photography workshop, I want to have a styled shoot ready every month.

Then, I will drop dead.
Ok, not drop dead, but definitely have a nervous breakdown.
Just reading the above mass of words brings me the chills. Aaahh, the anxiety is killing me.
Ok, it's already day 24 and I haven't even started any of the goals. I'm going to fail. I am a failure.
Anxiety...
Anxiety...
Go away Anxiety.
I think I'll just go to bed and stay there.
Is this the phone ringing? Who dares call me at this hour? And from an unknown number?
AAaaaaaaahhhh!!!!!!!

Stop. Breathe and reboot.

To some of you, the above text might sound just weird. But I am pretty sure that to many, like me, it is just how life goes by New Years.
I have always seen myself as an achiever. I look at things, I aim and I go. And I've always been proud of that... But the fact is, that last year, 2016 - 2017, I made the mistake of setting too many goals for my own good, specially having just moved by myself to a new country.
In my head, it was kinda like I needed to prove something to everyone who was watching me from afar.
I was this girl, who had a great life, and suddenly left it all to go and try some more in England. In my head, I had to do well so that I could prove others wrong.
Yes I could maintain my same lifestyle, excel at everything I already had and even beat last year like a champ. And it is possible, of course, but I didn't measure my mental health in any possible way, and the truth is, it took me on a downwards spiral and burnout like I had never had before.
My problem, and I know I talk about this many and many times, was that I forgot to respect myself, my body, my mind.
Social pressure affected me greatly (or what my mind thought was social pressure and in fact was me pressuring myself), and the consequences were to run away from everything I loved the most.
My blog was one of them.

About realising what's wrong...

There were amazing things happening last year too. But because I set my goals the wrong way, I didn't even allow myself to celebrate them.

For example:

I set the goal of reading 100 books in a year.
That means going through at least 8 a month, when I still have to be amazing at my job, market myself, be on social media 'selling what I do', learn about SEO, going to meetings, shoots, editing, talking to vendors, blogging, being a wife, a daughter, a friend.
And this is just the easy months.
During June, July, August, September and October besides all stated above, I am photographing weddings every weekend, travelling like crazy, shooting and editing during the week.
I ended up reading 42 books last year, and I was disappointed at myself.
I had failed. Do you get the point?
I had set my goals in a way that brought me anxiety instead of pleasure and happiness, and by doing so, I contributed to making myself sad when I should have celebrated that I read 42 books in a year.
I had never done that before! It's effing amazing!

... and doing the best to correct it

This year was the first time in many that I didn't cry when the clock hit midnight.

Ever since I became self-employed/decided to change my life I have always, always, always cried a little during the countdown.
And always for the same reasons: 'what a year I have had', 'I can't believe I survived it', 'Looking back, if anyone had told me that I would achieve so much, I wouldn't have believed it.'
And it all sounds amazing from an achiever's perspective, but it also means relief that it is over.
A new year meant the end of the pressure I had put myself through for the last 12 months. The end of the anxiety. But then, there I was, doing the same harm to myself again.

So this year was different.
And I had no idea how good it would feel, to just countdown to midnight, fill my mouth with green grapes, laugh uncontrollably because I couldn't speak, blowing up a confetti bottle, and we playing Cards Against Humanity until 3 am.

This year I decided on a different strategy, and that is what I want to share with you today:

Allowing all the feels
I will not set an alarm to snap out of whatever I am feeling.
If I am sad and need closure, I will allow myself to mourn. Yes, we all prefer to be happy, but greater lessons actually come from being blue. Maturity comes from learning from your mistakes and from many times being sad.
So all the feels are welcome, and I will give them time to teach me whatever it is they have in store for me.

Respecting my boundaries
If something doesn't feel good, I will listen to my instincts and act accordingly.
Last year I had a hard time understanding why I always felt bad after having my best friends visiting me from Portugal.
Then I understood.
Having them telling me they 'didn't recognise me', or 'that I should be doing this or that', or 'how much they knew I was able to achieve If I put my mind to it' was actually making me feel even worst. How do you feel when someone tells you 'Just put a smile on your face and move on, you have so much potential'?. I, for one, want to scream at them.
To be able to move on means you have to have the energy. And being depressed actually is the lack of it.
The best thing I did to myself was ask my friends to not visit me until the year ended. They understood I needed the time, and it did wonders for me.

Delegate, delegate, delegate
I don't need to be the best at everything. I don't need to know everything to achieve my goals. And actually, everything feels better when shared.
For example: I hate doing SEO. So why would I do that to myself, then? I have now found the glitter mother of SEO dragons that I want by my side and help me shine. This will be the year I'll grow my SEO without having to go through the stress of reading all about it.

Doing what I love without any pressure
This year I want to play Quidditch for how good it makes me feel.
I will read books without having a goal number.
I will drive my cats to London instead of flying, because they'll be with me all the time, and I will not give them or myself that stress of being apart in an airport.
I will post blog posts when I truly have something worth sharing.
I will only take on weddings in which me and my couples have a good chemistry. There will not be a goal number either.
I will allow myself breaks whenever, even during wedding season for travelling, dating my husband and procrastinating like a champ.

If I respect myself, I know I am bound to achieve great things anyways. 
Of course I'll always allow myself to have dreams, and I know in my core that I am still and will always be an achiever. But being more conscious of what my body and mind can handle instead of having a goal TO DO list is definitely the righter thing to do.

Have a great daaaay!

*** Photo by Cheias de Graça***

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