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  • Nicola Ellen

My New Year Intentions and Daily Rituals

How I'm starting the year with small changes and more intention.



So I have yet to sit down and set my goals for the year but I am slowly easing my way into the new year with small changes and I am trying to move with more intention! I have set non-negotiables for each day and started creating rituals to make my day more enjoyable, because lets be fair, when you work from home, it can be easy to slip into autopilot or be distracted by housework. For most of December, I was bed bound with flu and hadn't created anything for a long time, so I felt like I needed a more nurturing start to 2023.


While I haven't got it all figured out yet, being experimental and more intentional with my time does feel good!


My Word of the Year


I've had a word of the year for a couple of years now; 2021 was Trust and 2022 was Growth. Last year I learned a lot about myself and came to realise that I was all over the place and I didn't really have a lot of focus. I also spent a lot of time resting knee and foot injuries, so I spent a lot of time working from my bed instead of the studio! I missed having things to anchor my days with.


So this year, I am focusing on Consistency. Consistently showing up for my business and my health. Already having it noted down in my diary when to schedule newsletters, blog posts and website checks, making it easier to remember when things need to be done, giving myself accountability to get things done! Painting and exercising everyday or as close as I can to daily!


Consistency


I find creating a routine is difficult. I have 6.5 hours each to work while my daughter is at school. I then have a couple of hours once she's gone to bed. Not all days are equal either, as there are a couple of days where household errands take priority. So trying to do things at the same time each day is tricky! Progress is better than perfection though!


I am currently reading a very enlightening book called Rest by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang. Alex talks about many notable creatives and how they didn't/don't work vaguely on their most important work all day, but instead they dedicated 2-6 hours a day of intense work, in one or two bursts. This is done consistently at the same time every day, whether inspiration is there or not and this is how vast amounts of respected and much loved work has been created for decades.



This month, I set out to do the same. Each day I have dedicated 2 hours to painting canvasses. Though I am still pretty inconsistent in the time I paint each day, I have shown up most days and over a few weeks, I have made a lot of paintings. The act of creating does after all create more ideas. After a few months of creating nothing, this has been a surprisingly freeing way to work. It's a really good way to keep myself accountable and going back to my studio day after day.


Personal Health


Back in December I signed up to a beginners Pilates course in a bid to build up my core and upper body strength. I am notoriously bad for getting stuck into yoga and a few days later giving up. My problem wasn't with yoga, I just couldn't make time for exercise.

Again, I don't have a set time yet at which I get out my mat, but I have been making Pilates a non-negotiable part of my day. Two weeks and a half weeks in and I have only missed a few days. I am feeling better already too! Who knew?! (Everyone other than me probably!)


Creating Daily Rituals


I have unintentionally paired sitting down to paint with my favourite Birdhouse Tea House Chai tea. Making it slowly with loose tea leaves and an added star anise (with a dash of oat milk please!) has become a pre-painting ritual. I look forward to both so much!


I am eager to set up morning and bedtime rituals too, as I am definitely guilty of picking up my phone for a scroll first thing after meditating. I also spend way longer than I ought to sat reading downstairs, when I should be getting an earlier night!!


2023


So while I will be goal setting for the year, this weekend, easing myself in gently with making small changes and working on them consistently has helped set me up right for the year ahead. I feel good and small changes are easy to stick to in the long run. They are becoming habitual now.


For now that is all and I will see you lovely people in a couple of weeks with my next post. In the meantime you can join my newsletter for studio notes or head over to instagram.

xxx


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