What does the year ahead have in store for you? / by Neil Alexander

As it turns out, photographically 2015 was not a particularly productive year for me. Too many distractions and demands on my time from elsewhere (read more about that here) but my extended self-imposed break over the Christmas holidays has given me the time to do some soul searching and think about what I want the future to hold and where I aim to be this time next year.

I’m firmly of the opinion that without targets, goals and aims, that we just tend to coast along, like a piece of driftwood bobbing aimlessly around the ocean. Eventually it’ll end up on a beach somewhere, but it could be absolutely anywhere. Personally, I’d rather it be somewhere nice and toasty like the Maldives rather than with all the other excrement washed upon Blackpool shores but without any guidance it could even be somewhere near Pyongyang.
My other issue is time. Being the parent that does the school run, prepares the packed lunches, cooks dinner every night, and supervises homework for two lively primary school aged kids, my working hours are limited to around 4 or 5 hours a day. And when I try to fit too much in, I get overly stressed at my inability to accomplish the tasks that I set myself for that shortened working period. I’m the worst for trying to spread myself too thin and as a result, I never really get to focus on anything properly and feel like I only ever do a half-arsed job on most things.

I’ve spent some time over the last few weeks listening to Susannah Conway and decided to pursue her exercise to pick a word for 2016 to act as my guiding light and keep me focused. 
Whilst resolutions work for me for the first few weeks of a new year in general, more often than not by the time February rolls around, they're a dim and distant memory and my good intentions have often fallen by the wayside. A single word that I can fall back on, I feel will stand me in much better stead and will remind me of all my good intentions at the stroke of a hat.
So after an inexorable period of deliberation, I’ve chosen the word Revitalise for my word for 2016, which according to my dictionary means "to give new life to. to give new vitality or vigor to.”. I’ve created a folder full of desktop wallpapers for my Mac to rotate through, I’m in the process of creating a poster to go on my office wall with it on, and I’ve even had a mug made with the word on. This way, there’s far more chance of my abiding by my New Year’s plans.

Whilst I’m not a great believer in self-help books, I’ve recently stumbled upon Lewis Howes “School of Greatness” podcast and book and it’s really helped me with focusing on how I need to revitalise my life and business. As I write this, I’m on day 13 of “Dry January” - I’ve not had an alcoholic drink or a smoke since New Year and I’m forcing myself to find the time for daily exercise and even learning how to meditate using Andy Puddicombe’s Headspace app.  And I don’t think I’ve ever felt better or more optimistic about the year ahead.

However, in the interests of focus and not spreading myself too thin (which I excel at doing - the old expression “Jack of all trades, master of none” springs to mind), some things are going to have to give. If there’s one thing that takes up vast swathes of my time, it’s this blog. I estimate that on an average week, it probably takes me 3 or 4 hours to get a post out - writing, re-writing, re-writing again, adding images, releasing and then promoting. That’s about a fifth of my working week and for the next 2 to 3 months at least, I’m going to devote that time to revitalising myself. I shan’t be disappearing completely. I am going to aim for a post a month rather than one a week and already I feel relieved and less stressed about it. Quality rather than quantity right?

But in the meantime, you can always catch me on Twitter, Google+ or Instagram.

So what does the year ahead have lined up for you then? There’s a big comments box below for you to pen your thoughts - please make use of it 😃

Until next time.
Neil