Ring out the old

Well, here we are. It is the start of the new year, and farewell to the old. I have to say, although it is only symbolic, I am rather relieved to say goodbye to 2018. It has certainly been an interesting year. The latter half particularly brought many challenges my way. There have been emotional, physical, personal, professional challenges abound.

Oooh…shiny!

The discovery, or confirmation, in the summer, that I have ADHD seemed, at first to be a blessing. At last, I had a name for the many frustrating and unfathomable ‘quirks’ to my personality. I could see why I had so spectacularly self-sabotaged for so long. I wasn’t a bad, or useless person. My brain was wired differently than I had previously thought. This was a liberation!

Until it wasn’t. In a brilliant example of the saying ‘energy flows where attention goes’, in no time, the ADHD seemed to be spiraling out of control. I was finding it harder and harder to focus. The idea of sticking to a plan for more than 10 minutes got more and more challenging. I felt overwhelmed and lost. Instead of the knowledge that I had ADHD becoming a valuable tool, it seemed to be shaping my identity more and more negatively.

A theme for the year?

Towards the end of 2018, I saw lots of people on my Facebook feed talking about choosing a ‘word for the year’ for 2019. I tried to think of one but struggled to pick just one. I decided that it was a silly idea for me to even try, that I was setting myself up to fail yet again, when I read a blog post from my favourite blogger, David Cain, the beautiful writer behind ‘Raptitude’. In this post, David talks about how he made 2018 a ‘depth year’, and how that changed his life, and the lives of many of his readers who also adopted the idea. I had seen a post about it previously, but the idea had previously filled me with horror.

Now it seemed like the answer to my problems.

What do you really want?

There are lots of things I would like to do in life, but there are some things that I know I will bitterly regret not doing if I get to my deathbed without having done them. The trouble with shiny object thinking is that you end up trying to do ALL THE THINGS, and in doing do, failing to really achieve anything.

Focus matters!

If energy really does go where the attention goes, maybe if I spend my energy this year thinking about depth rather than ADHD, then perhaps depth is what I will get. Focusing on ADHD certainly has done me no favours in the long term. It helped me forgive myself for my past failures, but it is enabling me to create a whole lot more. Steven Pressfield, in his wonderful ‘The War of Art’, dismisses ADHD has a manifestation of resistance. While I know my brain has operated in this manner for as long as I can remember, I think that seeing it like this rather than ‘just how I am’ might serve me well. I know, for example, that when I get overwhelmed or unmotivated in my business, my brain comes up with a NEW idea to work on, instead of applying myself to the one I was already working on. This means that I never work through the fears and resistance that my work is throwing up, I simply brush it to one side and find something to distract myself.

A life of depth

Since reading David Cain’s beautiful post (3 times and counting!) I have reflected on the idea of going deep into my life, and I like what is coming up for me. I can see how this can help me create the life I want to live, instead of living in the whirlwind of overwhelm I often create for myself.

I can apply this idea of depth to all aspects of my life, my work, my Yoga practice, my health, relationships, study, leisure, my writing. Adding depth to everything I do will ensure that I am getting and giving 100% to everything I do, and am fully present in the moment of everything I am doing.

I cannot do everything, but I can do some things very well.

Just a year

In his book ‘A Life Worth Breathing’, Max Strom challenges the reader to think about what you would do if you knew you only had one year to live.

Whenever I think of this, there are a few things that come up.

  • Deepen my yoga practice and never miss a single day of practice
  • Write a book to teach people to breathe better
  • spend my working days teaching people to breathe better
  • Go to Liverpool to do the Beatles tourist stuff I still haven’t done
  • Leave a clutter free home for my kids to sort out
  • Provide security for Marcus
  • Complete a long distance trek
  • Learn to play at least one Beatles song on my purple violin
  • Have a holiday with my 3 boys
  • have meaningful and deep relationships with the people in my life

There are lots of other things I would like to do, but these would be my absolute priorities. A Year is a long time if you do something every day to work towards what you want to achieve in that year, as this amazing video from my mentors Kevin and Sarah Arrow shows

What will you go deep with in 2019?

What are your goals and plans for the year ahead? Where do you want to be this time next year? What can you go deep with to achieve your dreams?

Making a decision, having a plan and committing to doing the work seem easy in theory, but aren’t always easy in practice. But that’s the point. If something is worth having then it is worth commiting to, and it is worth sticking with even when things get hard. I know that if I stick to the plan I currently have, then by this time next year, things will work better in my life, I will be more resilient, healthier, happier, more secure and will have had some amazing experiences. I will have written and published my second book, and will be making a real difference in the world, helping people like you to become happier and healthier through better breathing. My house will be a more pleasant place to be, and my mind will be calmer and less cluttered as well.

Having the depth theme can bring me back to my focus when I wander off the beaten track and fall into distraction and the unnecessary. A few days ago I was feeling fairly low and unmotivated. Now I am excited at the prospect of living a life of depth and purpose!

Share your goals

Let’s keep one another accountable! Share your goals in the comments below, and we can keep each other on track with our plans. Accountability and encouragement can make such a big difference to success!

Happy new year to you, and go make 2019 everything you want it to be – you are totally deserving of it!

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Esther Nagle
Teacher, writer, speaker at Balance and Breathe
Esther is a former alcoholic, smoker and all round stressed out mess. She found the path to health, happiness, freedom and joy through Yoga. She is a passionate advocate for the power of Yoga, and time in Nature, in bringing balance to life, and giving you control over your health, happiness and wellbeing.

Esther is a powerful public speaker, writer and author. Her first book, Bent Back into Shape, Beating Addiction Through Yoga, has gained many 5 star reviews and has helped many people along their recovery journey.

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