Why we’re torn about the New Year and what we’re going to do about it

You know those scenes in apocalyptic disaster movies, where everyone scrambles through obstacles and scrapes through to the final scene and finds that, miraculously, they’re still standing — covered in mud and bruises and tears and perusing the world from a mountain top, with everything they knew and understood left in flames behind them?

That’s us, this New Year’s Eve.

Behind us and around us is the chaos of grief. It’s still burning. The ground underfoot is scorched. The landscape is charred. Buildings are down that can never be repaired or rebuilt, no matter how precious they once were.

This is not a New Year that we feel like ‘celebrating’, unless it’s to commend ourselves on the miracle of wading through the last few months in one piece. Looking into 2017, there’s no magic solution to the emotional pain. No instant fix.

What we do have though, are the two things we need to move forward. Courage and hope.

When we enter a new year, we like to imagine all the things it promises. Opportunities, deepened relationships, personal and professional experiences … and when a year has taken things from us, like 2016 has done to us, there’s a temptation to shut down a little. There’s a temptation not to hope. Hope requires risk of disappointment and heartbreak. It requires intense desire and the chance that things will be destroyed and ruined. Isn’t it safer not to go there? Safer to stay small, quiet and as comfortable as possible, where there’s little risk of things going wrong?

We don’t think so. If we’ve learnt one thing in 2016 it’s that life is precarious. It’s short. It can be snuffed out without warning. That’s not a reason to tread more carefully. It’s a reason to do the opposite.

A composer friend was advised recently to ‘scale things down’ in her work. She immediately resolved to do the opposite. To scale things up. To aim for epic, ‘blockbuster’ heights. That’s something we want to do too, from our vantage point here where it feels like our time is limited and we have little to lose …

2017 is a canvas stretching before us, and while we can’t predict the inevitable obstacles, the failures and the losses, we still get to throw paint on that canvas and create something new.

Sometimes the colours are more striking when the background is black. Sometimes the more we’ve lost, the more precious our opportunities seem.

We didn’t plan for our new book, I Don’t Have Time: 15-minute ways to shape a life you love to mean quite as much to us as it does now. When you come as up-close to death as we’ve both come in the last 18 months, time takes on new meaning.

We poured ourselves into this book, and we’re about to pour ourselves into writing its sequel, the working title for which is The 15 Minutes That Changed My Life: Everybody has a story. That book is due to our publisher in June, and we’re determined to make it the kind of book you need if you’re where we are right now: standing here, shell-shocked, knowing it’s possible to rise from the ashes and needing that added inspiration.

WHO’S IN for shaping lives we love, starting where we are and with what we have, in 2017?

Signed author copies of I Don’t Have Time: 15-minute ways to shape a life you love are available now, and will be posted next week. All the details are here.

“I just finished the book tonight and I’m left with an overwhelming feeling of positivity. It’s such great timing to have read this at the cusp of a new year when I’m looking to make some changes in my life. The thing that stands out most to me though – my purple feather – is that I am enough, just as I am. This message popped up at me so often that I have to believe it. I loved the personal stories, the case studies, and the focus on different aspects of life. I’m going to keep coming back to the 15 minute exercises as a way of tracking my progress through the next year. Watch this space!”

With all our best wishes

Emma & Audrey x

About The Author

Emma Grey & Audrey Thomas

Audrey Thomas and Emma Grey are productivity experts, authors of 'I Don't Have Time' and its forthcoming sequel 'I Can't Be Bothered', and co-founders of the popular online program, My 15 Minutes. They help busy women reclaim their time and energy around the real-life challenges of modern life.

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