What if I told you these carrots could represent the last 30 days of the calendar year? You might think I'm crazy but stay with me. These carrots were all planted on the same day, had the same water, soil and sunlight and yet the outcome is dramatically different. What do you think the difference was? The difference was space. The small carrots grew too close to one another because I didn't thin out the patch to allow the plants to actually grow. The large carrot had plenty of room and was able to reach full maturity. The smaller ones were competing for space and probably nutrients from the soil.
How can we take what I learned here and apply it to the final thirty days of the year? I like to call it 'expanding the time I already have.' By not crowding my calendar with a bunch of events and being selective about what I do with my time, I'm allowing myself to fully expand into the time I have left in the year. This means that the things I do take on will have greater impact and meaning because I'm not trying to pack in too much. This is also the time of year (in the northern hemisphere) that our desire to rest is greatest. Shorter days, longer nights mean less sunlight and less time outdoors. Our natural instincts kick in and we are drawn to quieter evenings and lingering in bed a bit longer in the morning.
I'm aware that this competes directly with the final push through the holidays and sometimes in our businesses or jobs. It's the last bit of time that we have to meet our goals for the year, all piled on top of holiday gatherings and family traditions. It's a lot. So how do you build space into the time you have? Here are the things that I do.
Maintain daily rituals. For me, this is a walk with my dog listening to audio books. This is a crucial time for me to regain my energy and get my brain working.
Daily meditation. It takes 10 minutes of sitting still and focusing on my breath.
Plenty of water. Our brains need to be hydrated to work effectively and dry winter air competes against us. Not to mention the rest of our bodies need it to!
Plan, plan, plan. This not only focuses our attention throughout the day, but it also gives us a greater sense of control over what's most important. And for an extra hit of dopamine, take a minute to reflect on what you've accomplished and cross it off your list.
Try to feel all of your toes. That helps us focus on the present and get out of a chaotic mindset.
Lastly, when it feels like it's just all getting to be too much, take three deep breaths and remember that by focusing on one thing at a time, we'll make more progress than crowding ourselves like the little carrots above. Feel yourself expanding into the time you have, rather than holding your breath and shrinking down into it.
I hope this blog gives you some insights as we close out this year. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or want to work through a challenge together!