Do you believe in New Year’s resolutions? I do not. I personally never seem to be able to keep them. A year is too short and there are so many things I want to do that I never seem to manage to keep track of just a few. And life happens, too. Priorities shift. But more about my alternative to resolutions in another post. Today let’s talk about what did happen during 2015. What was planned, and what was not planned, but improvement nonetheless. And so, in spirit of looking backward before looking forward, here are a few things that I made come true during last year:
- I went from vegetarian to 95% vegan.
I have been mainly vegetarian since I was 15 years old. At home I never eat fish but I may choose fish in a restaurant or tell friends who cook for me to prepare fish just because it makes things easier. On Bali I ended up eating vegan food (mainly raw or Indonesian) for 3 weeks just because that was the main fare – and realized what digestion should feel like when you can’t feel it. It was when I got back home and added dairy to my diet that I noticed the difference. I switched from milk to almond milk, from coffee milk in my tea to soy milk prepared for barista use, and left out yoghurts and the occasional pudding. Cheese is the only thing I refuse to quit – but I eat it perhaps once a month only.
- I tried Gwyneth Paltrow’s detoxes – and found I loved the food.
I don’t believe in the concept of detoxes or cleanses – but I do believe in resetting one’s digestive system, portion size, and eating habits. Paltrow’s detox recipes are expensive on the wallet, at least here in Finland, but I found many new favorites that I incorporated into my cooking, such as kale, nutritious smoothies for breakfast, and creative lunch salads.
- I found a yoga shala abroad.
I love my yoga teacher here in Finland. She is a direct student of Sharath Jois, the lineage holder of ashtanga yoga. Yet sometimes it is good to have a second view – and a reason to travel to an awesome place. Prem Carlisi’s and Radha Duplex’s shala in Ubud, Bali, felt just right. A second view was highly useful to help construct a practice suited for a recently injured knee. And well – Bali is absolutely fabulous. I aim to go back in 2016.
- I aimed to be more assertive as a leader.
My family may laugh, but at work I often get the feedback that I am too nice. In the whirlpool that was last year, juggling two jobs and a drug launch, a budget with risk swings in the millions, and 4 countries to lead, I was pushed against the wall to become more sharp in my leadership and succinct in communicating. I think I managed, without becoming unkind. It was a revelation to receive positive feedback from people about how they in fact liked being challenged.
- I took the next step in my career and in moving abroad again.
I was not supposed to stay in Finland for more than 2 years. It has now been over 4 years. Every time I visited London I would sigh and ask myself why, oh why have I not moved back already? So far I have let things happen at their own pace, but in November 2014 I made it clear to my London colleagues that I wanted a job in their office. Only thing was, London office wants me to stay in the Nordics. So now I report to London and consider them my main team, but I still live in the Nordics. I hope the next step in a year or two will be to move back to the UK. Time will tell but I will keep working on this.
Look back before you look forward. It is so easy to ignore one’s accomplishments and only remember failures, as well as focus on new goals. 2015 is closed. How did you live its 365 days?
(Helsinki, Finland; January 2016)