As a product designer who designs and makes colourful gifts and accessories with the intention of selling them to make money, you may think it odd to hear me say that I have come to the conclusion that the key to making life more colourful may not actually be more things…
So what caused me to come to this decision?
Well this thought has been gaining momentum over the last year but came into even more clarity during January as I continually tried (and failed) to set my business goals for 2019. Eventually it occurred to me that before I could concentrate on the business I needed to focus on resetting my personal ideals and intentions.
As I undertook this period of self-reflection I came to realise that throughout 2018 I’d felt discombobulated and distant, I’d been much more prone to anxiety and depression and found it difficult to make plans or complete projects. Despite some of the lovely things that happened during 2018 my overriding memories of the year were mostly of feeling maungy.
Now I like a good moan as much as the next person, but once I’ve got things out of my system I usually tend to be a strategic, self motivated, solution focused thinker. So I decided to use these strengths to analyse what I wanted to change and why…
I figured, if I could work out why 2018 had been such a difficult year, then maybe I could work out how to make 2019 more positive!
It was not an easy process, nor was it quick! But taking time to review both the positive and the negative aspects of 2018 gave me so much more clarity and led me to write a personal manifesto. It sets out in no uncertain terms what I want from the year ahead.
And in an effort to give myself some external accountability for taking action I have decided to share it here:
“I want to feel that the efforts I make are leading to some kind of achievement. I want to be able to track my progress. I want to commit to tiny acts of self-care that show my comfort matters. I want to shift my perspective so that I make more positive choices that I can rejoice in, rather than passively allowing situations to evolve that give me the opportunity to be negative”
It really does feel odd, and definitely a little uncomfortable sharing something so deeply personal with you - but I feel that by publicly sharing I am taking that first step towards making those positive choices I just mentioned. I also feel emboldened and empowered that throughout January so many of the creative people who I follow on social media have also shared similar experiences. On a platform such as Instagram (that is often perceived as shallow and concerned with surface appearances) I find it reassuring that a core community of creatives are prepared to be unflinchingly open and honest about the challenges they have faced, as well as their hopes for the future.
Here’s just a few quotes and resolutions that really resonated with me while I was going through this review process:
“Make sure your biggest celebration is for yourself this year” @melodieshandmade
“I said yes to only the stuff & people I was truly excited about & had time for” @lisacongdon
“Dear self, it’s alright if this year is off to a weird start, there is still so much time” @positivelypresent
“Just be the best version of YOU, no more putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves…” @colouryourlifeclub
“Put into practice things I want to change, do discover, learn, try etc as soon as I feel like doing them or when they feel right” @adventuresandteaparties
And earlier this week I came across an awesome post that totally explained how I felt for most of January:
"If 2019 was a Netflix show, we'd just be getting to the end of episode 1. So don't worry if you're not totally into it yet, there's plenty of time for it to grow on you." @leslieannemadeit
This period of introspection has been so important and incredibly useful - but at some point the ideas need to become action. My notebook full of good intentions needs to be converted into measurable goals.
I reckon it's about time to start writing the script for episode 2!
I still don’t have a business plan, or hundreds of ideas for how LIFE is better in COLOUR is going to progress - but on a personal level I definitely have a new sense of purpose and a feeling of positivity. Of course I remain totally focused on my original mission of making life more colourful, but for now at least that means less time on producing products and more time learning how to be a happy human being!
I hope you’re intrigued enough to continue to hang out with me while I work my way through this next episode. I can't really tell you what to expect - but I can guarantee that whatever it is, it's gonna be colourful!