The ‘inner work’ – setting goals for 2021

I often roll my eyes when I hear someone say that they have a ‘New Year’s Resolution’. Perhaps because I often see these small or large goals fail or cause stress or angst to those who have created them. I, too, have tried to set goals and wonder, every year, why I need to wait until the end of a year to show myself willing enough to shake a habit or build a new one.  This year, I was surprised at how much this process unearthed within me, thoughts about what I am feeling and what is truly important to me.

The last six months have been chaotic.  I feel lingering guilt, the frustration of rushing through days and a lack of control. My children are at different ages. The teen wants her independence, the tween loves to have the last word in an argument, the preppy seeks to be heard and is too often told to lower his voice.  Meanwhile, our 18-month-old ‘little tornado’, also known as Sébastien, seems to think that everything is his to be chewed and thrown. My respite, during these school holidays is often a locked bathroom door and a hot shower, which lasts a tad longer than my eco-friendly tween believes, is necessary.

I have granted myself a little time throughout the day to read.  The new Ken Follett ‘The Evening and the Morning’ enticed me to re-read the entire saga of the Kingsbridge series.  Lost in a world of Vikings, the dirt and grim crawled out of its pages and I was able to shut out the rest of the world.

My plant books have also been a go to and have inspired me to extend my green thumb. I find happiness in the small walks around the block with my children after dinner where we take the time to debrief about the day. These small moments of pleasure have helped me learn a considerable amount about myself, about my values, my needs and about the person I want to be.

At one stage during the summer holidays, I sat in my garden and wrote down some ideas to some questions:  What worked out for me this year? What didn’t work? What made me happy? What made me unhappy? What do I want to do more of?  I found that taking the time to write answers to these questions was quite cathartic.

Writing answers to these questions gave me clarity. Writing answers to these questions made me see the gaps I want to fill and it definitely made me see what I value most. The slower pace of the past year allowed me to shine a light on some of my actions, behaviours, thoughts and emotions.  I think it is always possible to become a better individual and it made me realise that I have a substantial way to go to be the person I really want to be deep down.

On high priority on my ‘new’ agenda was booking a small holiday with my family as our December holiday was cut short due to the border closure between Victoria and New South Wales.

Second….my organisation. Between the Kikki K calendar on the laundry wall, the outlook calendar on my phone, my own hardbound diary I was losing my mind.  Trying to remember when and where the six people in my house were going to be the following day was a headache, adding to that my own schoolwork calendar and the one of my husband and close family, my head is a shambles.  I have opted to keep a hardbound diary, refused the digital diary and purchased a small whiteboard with the 7 days of the week to write what and where people are each day…. I feel my heart slowing down…

Third… and I know many of my friends will say this needs to come first, make time for myself.  This is tough and is a work in progress. I cannot write down one goal for this, it really goes day by day.  If I grant myself the following, I am happy:  a chat to a friend, smiles from my children (hard to get from the tween at the moment), an early night (8pm) reading my book in bed, a glass of wine before dinner, an organised and clean house (cringe… I know), thriving plants, and an engaging work environment… I AM SET! The odd hard rubbish find on the side of the road is also a tad exciting.

So in a nutshell, let’s lock in… I would love to be more present, slow down my pace, be calmer, more reflective and deepen my friendships. 

Someone I have admired in the field of psychology is Carl Jung who speaks of the concept of ‘inner work’.  He describes beautifully:

To do our inner work is to become familiar with the world within. It is to continue to grow and develop emotionally, psychologically, interpersonally, spiritually, and creatively. It is to tend to the wounds of the past, which are the inevitable result of living and loving, and to seek healing for them. [In addition] cultivate a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives and our work.


How beautiful! I need to work on the ‘inner’ to be better to those around me.

Santé to a fulfilling and eventful 2021.


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