Updated: Nov 7, 2020
She/her, Welsh (with Caribbean blood), 36, Taurus, lover of Malbec, crumpets, and salty butter. I’m a bit of a warm-weather girl, tired and soggy from the Welsh weather I moved to Spain 9 years ago. I was in Alicante for 5 years whilst working for part of the European Commission and Barcelona for another 3 working in a tech start-up, Typeform. In both places and for the 6 years before that, I was managing projects and communicating business strategy. This was my life until the end of 2018 when I lost the plot with work, burned out, quit my job, and jetted off to Asia to catch my breath and start my own thing. I came back to Europe in mid-2020 when I had the genius idea of juggling my new business with an opportunity to run a small hotel nestled in the vineyards of Catalonia. It had been a dream of mine for quite some time but I rapidly learned that I like being a vineyard hotel guest far more than a host! Since moonlighting as a hotelier I’ve stuck to my ‘real’ job of helping ambitious but overwhelmed people and businesses avoid burnout and nurture mental wellbeing at work.I do this with tailormade coaching and training - you can find out a bit more about it on www.kdp.coach/let's-work-together
What are your thoughts in regard to New Years Resolutions? Have they worked for you? Nonsense. New year, new me is such a load of b#llocks. We are great just as we are, all year. The fact that narrative is often focused on being slim and pushed with totally unrealistic and unhealthy imagery and messaging just days after many of the same outlets encourage indulgence and ‘self-love’ via constant consumption...makes it feel all the more exploitative. I also think that it holds us back. In the summer we wait until September like it’s some magic month for success and then the autumn comes and we look to the new year in the same way. Putting things off, stalling on doing things that we want, need, deserve and that we are more than worthy of until the new year seems to be the sort of self-sabotage that we all fall foul of at least once in our life. I honestly can’t think of one resolution that I have stuck to. I love routine and structure as it helps me control my anxiety and direct my energy in a healthier way but when it comes with all the pressure of starting the new year with radical change it just feels forced.
Why do you think only 8% of people stick with New Year's Resolutions and what could help them stick with their intentions more? I think it’s partly because they feel forced, and after the excess and highs (or for some of us massive lows) of Xmas, the short dark days, the lack of twinkly lights, going back to work, the seemingly endless month whilst we wait for the first paycheck of the year… They just feel a bit too much. We’re already testing our resolve just existing in January, adding another thing to our list isn't a recipe for success.
Resolutions are often things that we aren’t really keen on doing either - it’s like we punish ourselves and we often don’t do it with just one thing. I can think of years where I’ve had about 5 or 6 new years “rules” and they sucked the fun out of life. I also did many of them because I felt like I should, with an all or nothing mentality. I didn't have a really strong reason for doing them nor did I have a proper plan to make them happen. Unsurprisingly I didn't stick to them and think that many other people do that same.
Do you think it’s worth setting intentions/goals/beginnings for 2021 and if so why do you think it’s important?
I totally believe in goals and intentions but see these as pretty different to resolutions. Goals are positive - moving us towards ambitions or desires. Intentions are our plans. But resolutions are just us trying to force ourselves to stop doing things, more often than not. Or to do things that we really aren't keen on, don’t value, and don’t really fit in with any other big goal or plan. (although maybe that’s just my experience. I’m willing to be told differently!) I'm a massive fan of planning and always say that when we write things down they get started and when we say them out loud, they get finished. Although I would ask my clients or anyone that’s thinking of starting something new in 2021 what they are waiting for? Why not just get going, now? The planning, thinking, preparing can start even if the actions don’t. But before they set off, I’d also ask them ‘why’? There always needs to be a really strong reason behind a goal or plan in my opinion. A Simon-Sinek-esque why. If you don’t have an inspiring, deep down reason to save £100 a month/ say “no” to your boss/ stop swearing (this was mine and I have failed miserably several times) then you just won't be motivated to make it happen. I’ll drive some clients mad asking them why, why, why when they set out a goal. Like an inquisitive (and annoying) 4 year old I want them to explain the real purpose for it to me, the benefits it will bring and the consequences if they don’t do it. If we can’t see and feel the end results then it's easy to back down, forget the whole thing and continue wasting money on novelty socks / working weekends / cursing like a sailor. What is your go-to way of setting a vision/goal ahead of time and how do you keep track of your goals and directions for the year? I generally like to sit down and imagine it. Sounds a bit woo to some but I do the same for me as I do with clients. I imagine where I want to be in 12 months' time. Where I am, what I’m doing, how I feel, look, sound. Who is around me, the environment. As much detail as I can.. I ask myself why I want that, what benefits will it bring to mine and other lives, what impact it will have. With that in mind, I write it all down
Then the planning bit. I generally don’t plan out specific goals for the entire year in one go, because….life. And there are many ways to achieve the same things, many we won't even know about, so why set rigid plans so far in advance? Instead, I break it down into focus areas for each quarter. For example, in 2020 I knew:
Q1 Would be nuts and bolts for the business and lots of adventure for me.
Q2 Very much focused on bringing more value to my one to one coaching clients and personal development for me.
Q3 Was all about building out the corporate side of my business and *ahem* running a flippin’ hotel, aka scratching a big itch I’d had for years.
Q4 is pulling all that together and connecting with friends and family back in the UK.
Ahead of each quarter I sit down and think of all the different things I could do for that focus area, keeping in mind where I want to be the end of the year and most importantly how I want to feel. After burning out I am very careful to build my wellbeing into the heart of all my goals. Once I’ve done that brainstorming I prioritise roughly 3 to 6 of them, considering which will have plenty of impact but also that I’ll enjoy. There are loads of different models for prioritising, google is your friend here. My advice is to keep it as simple as possible and listen to your gut. Then I write them down (depending on my mood it could be a doc, spreadsheet, paper planner) and again...work backwards, breaking each down into smaller pieces feels manageable and it's small enough to be understood on it own. I never fill my time completely (or do my very best not to) because things always come up or some days, for my own wellbeing, I need to go at a slower pace. And one last thing, I celebrate ALL the little wins. It could be with a new book, an extra-long bath, breaking open a bottle of bubble or sharing the wins with mates and getting an emoji high 5s. It reminds me of how much I have achieved and helps me keep going. Geeky confession: I just ordered a load of star stickers and plan to cover my planner/work in them :)
What three tips could you give us ahead of the New Year that could help with setting our intentions for a better wellbeing/ lifestyle?
1. Fuck 2. New years 3. Resolutions Joking. That’s a lie. I’m not.
As I already wrote a novel for the last part I think I would say:
1) Think about what you really want to achieve and WHY it’s important to you. Tap into how it will feel, look, sounds, smell…whatever works for you. Get it as clear as you possibly can.
2) Then think about what you could do to make that happen. Work backwards, break it into manageable pieces and write it down. Bonus, share it with someone who could help you. Help could be in the form of encouragement, accountability and celebration or rolling their sleeves up alongside you to make it happen.
3) Make sure that any Intentions or goals are going to be GOOD FOR YOU. That is, don’t bury yourself under them, don’t put them ahead of your physical or mental wellbeing and please, for the love of buttery crumpets please don’t use them as some backhanded way of punishing yourself.