At the start of a new year, resolutions are flying around all over the place, decorations are shed, and it's back to reality. For most, that means a much busier lifestyle, with more complications and demands on our time, so it seems quite apt today to be focusing on living a slower, simpler existence, and how setting goals with this in mind can help to ease the transition.
The crux of slow living lies in knowing what you want and what’s important to you. How do we know what we’re slowing down for if we haven’t decided what’s important?
So let’s get started.
First, list the 3 most important things that you want to prioritise in your life. These should be things that you might not feel you have time for, or that have fallen by the wayside as your life has slowly got more and more chaotic. Why 3? It’s both achievable and allows us to push the boundaries of what we really want. Try to limit it to 3, and if you’ve got more ideas you can follow the same process later once you’ve worked through the steps to prioritise them in your life.
You’ve now got a basic grounding, but in order to set goals we need to transform these priorities into something more specific. For example, instead of just writing “family,” change it to “visit my parents at least once a week.” We’re using the idea of SMART targets here – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely.
Obviously you’re not going to be able to fit anything new in during the times you currently have to spend at work, in appointments etc. So you’ll need to figure out when your best day / time of the day is in order to squeeze in your goals. Somethings that can mean getting up a little earlier, or cutting out that extra hour spent browsing social media, but prioritising your important things means living a happier and more fulfilling life.
Here's the important bit...
Once you’ve scheduled them in, try including them one at a time. The problem with resolutions is that we're expected to include all of them immediately, and no one has the time or mind-space for that. You might succeed for the first week, or even the second, but then something will slip and the first thing you’ll lose and forget about is what you’ve most recently implemented. Try one goal at a time (and ideally focus on this one goal for a whole month) and you’ll be developing a ritual rather than just a standing entry in your diary or planner.
There's been a lot written on this blog about slow living, so if you're feeling inspired, here's a few more ideas to get you started on your slow living journey:
Eleanor is obsessed with stories. She writes for a number of online spaces including This is Your Kingdom, edits Creative Countryside, curates #aseasonalyear and teaches at Chalk House. In addition, she is currently studying for an MA in Creative Non-Fiction Writing. You'll find her roving the fields of the Lincolnshire Wolds or planning her next rural adventure.