It is suddenly that time of year when there is a lot of talk about new year resolutions and business plans for the coming year…  Year after year we set ourselves up for failure with grand plans that are doomed from the outset.  We will treat ourselves to a lovely wall planner for our wall and front load it with far too much to be realistic – purely through our enthusiasm – only to fall at the first hurdles and have nothing for the rest of the year.  A recipe for failure all round.

Inadvertently, over the years, I have adopted a different way.  Completely unintentionally and unplanned – it has been a slow, organic process, so I thought I would share it with you just in case it helps calm your year ahead!!!

As you all know, my work and life is very seasonal, where I depend on weather, food, flowers and more that are all in season.  I work and live to that rhythm.

Many years ago, for the simple reason of organising my photography storage on my hard drive, I divided my year into four equal parts that reflected the rhythm of my work – Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter and within those three equal parts for each month within the season.  I realised that I was reflecting the Meteorological Calendar, with Winter starting at the beginning of December, Spring the beginning of March, Summer starts in June and Autumn in September.  

Slowly and quietly, beyond storing my images, the rest of my work started to align with this rhythm.  Just before the beginning of each season I will plan out my (achievable) goals for work and my personal life.  I won’t have large abstract goals but smaller realistic finishing lines… Instead of launch a new large course in 2021, I will break that down into realistic and achievable chunks.  Instead of running a marathon in 2021, I will have aim to do the couch to 5k two or three times a week.  New habits are not sustainable if the goal is too big on day one.

So, this pans out nicely for new year resolutions and business plans or not!  I don’t have to do either with my seasonal rhythm!  Winter begins at the beginning of December as I have already said, so January is mid Winter and my plans are already set and well under way.  Yes I do revisit them at the end/beginning of each month as the season transitions from early into mid and then late season, but generally there is no great deal to this as it is all planned out for gently and attainable things before the season starts.

Targets – what and how…

Going back to my old metaphor the road map, that I mention so often,  my targets are no longer targets, but destinations.  The destination for a season will be getting from A, where I am now to B, where I want to be…  The arc of the aim for the year may run like this…

During the year 20/21 that runs from Spring, 1st March I want to get to XXX – I will divide it up into four seasons and each season of 12 weeks into monthly blocks of four ish blocks that reflect the month.

So there, I have a starting point and a destination for not only the whole year, but also each season and within that, each month.  I can take this down to weeks and even days if that is what I need.

And now the most important part for me is not the A to B but how you are going to navigate that path.  This is where the how comes in… how you are going to get to your destination? – and not just head down with blinkers on to get there as quickly as possible.  This is where the work/life balance comes in.  A more creative way of living… allowing wellbeing to support you as you journey towards B.  Each day mindfully thinking about you!  You are the CEO of your business, so you need to look after you in order that you can look after and produce your best work…

Yes it is important you get to B, but it is of equal importance HOW you actually get there… take care of you along the way and actually enjoy the trip, rather than fret over targets and lists…

Nurture your Creativity

Stop distractions and comparison

Work to the beat of your own drum – your DNA is unique so look towards being your own soul outwardly… this will lead to your own Signature Style with little effort on your part other than self development of both work tools and wellbeing tools

Make room for your daily practice

Block it out in your diary if needed!  Yes do it – again baby steps as a process… start with 10 minutes three times a week rather than a big statement to yourself!

Get outdoors and breathe in mother nature – be inspired by natural beauty 

Even if you are in a city and only have a short time over lunch.  Go to a park, if you are at home with a balcony, can you grow a few herbs and take a cup of something out there?

Explore new things – for no reason, simply be curious

This is allowed you know. as an example, over the Christmas/New Year downtime, I can be found trying something new creatively – anything from playing with natural dyes, exploring painting canvases in different ways for back drops, water colour painting for overlays – you get the idea… I always decide ahead what I am doing and make sure that I have all the kit needed.  This year I am exploring new ways with handmade textures for overlays using mixed media.

Visit flow, with purpose

Make sure that you feed your creative soul… she is a vital part of you! Any creative work has the potential to inspire, motivate, or excite you. Read, write, visit an upmarket book shop for a coffee and a browse, go to a museum with no preset agenda… anything you feel like doing.  Doing this will get your creative juices flowing.

Who knows what could happen next?  Living the life you dream of…

About Julie Davenport

JULIE DAVENPORT is a Fine Art Lifestyle Photographer, a Creative and generous in sharing tips and hints for Photography, Creativity and a Creative Lifestyle. She has one goal – to inspire and empower creatives and aspiring photographers with heart centred education, support and encouragement to guide them to achieve their vision. Known for her signature style painterly touch and love of light and elegant composition, she draws much of her inspiration from Scandinavian painters and the seasonal rhythms of country life in her beloved Cotswold countryside in the UK. After a lifetime spent in photography, her work has now grown into a full time photography and education business - specialising in professional online training and inspiring other creatives, designers, makers and photographers. Through her depth of knowledge of her subject and unwavering passion, she has become THE authority for creative souls looking for heart centred education, support and encouragement to guide them through to achieve their vision.