Next 2018 8


You can make the choice to drive down it.

It’s up to you to decide to stay parked there

or to turn around and drive out.

Cheryl Strayed

NEXT is not a magical word. Yet so often we expect it to work miracles especially around a list of New Year resolutions which can sound something like:

The NEXT diet will work.

The NEXT partner will be fantastic.

The NEXT job will be well paid.

The NEXT time my child annoys me, I’m not going to get upset and angry – I’ll be calm, cool and collected

The NEXT time my friend leaves on a great holiday, I won’t be jealous.


New decisions and resolutions are not forged in a moment or in a few months. To expect otherwise is foolish. Nothing in nature suddenly happens and we are part of this wonderful world which knows what it is doing. Remember that during last year, we were actually preparing for this year, just like nature and the trees around us.   A tree spends the whole year collecting and gathering nutrients to accommodate next year’s growth.

Perhaps it is worth considering one small thing that will take time to grow and mature, but has the potential to hugely influence your NEXT decision, your NEXT opportunity, your NEXT interaction, your NEXT YEAR… your NEXT.

For many, the new year ahead will not be happy and for most of us the year ahead will bring ups and downs, trials, along with joy. Also, the reality is that this year will just be like last year, unless time was spent last year evaluating, adjusting and repairing our life for growth and positive change this year.

So, let us look carefully at our own self as there is no point at all in expecting anyone else to change because you want a better world. It can’t be done. It begins with us. What we do within this year will support our next year.

I feel like I spent the whole of last year learning about expectation. It was a big reoccurring theme for me. Unrealistic expectations about ourselves and others create disappointment and disappointment is very debilitating. I discovered that as I lowered my expectation about others and let people just be, whilst also developing more realistic expectations of both myself and others, I became more calm, creative and loving. Disappointment in myself and others has diminished greatly and it seems to have touched so many areas of my life.

So throw away your big list of New Year’s resolutions because you will never keep them all, and find one small thing you want to develop and by the end of the year it will have grown and matured and filtered into the many areas of your life.

Val Heaton

About Val Heaton

Val is a Wife, Mother, Grand Mother and Great Grandmother. A trained registered nurse who was in leadership in the community and church sector for a large part of her life. She re-registered as Nurse in her late fifties. This year in her seventies she went to university for the first time to study philosophy and ethics. She wanted to keep curious, learning and growing and had to be in an environment where she would hear the reflections from the younger generations.

8 thoughts on “Next 2018

  • Elaine Fraser

    Great post, Val. I loved this idea: A tree spends the whole year collecting and gathering nutrients to accommodate next year’s growth.

    Such great perspective. We bring so much into a new year that’s already been percolating.

    Can’t wait to catch up for that coffee in Kalamunda one day. xx

  • Jodie McCarthy

    Oh my Val, that line about the ‘next time my child annoys me’ … yep that got to me!

    Thank you for pointing me to the slow steady change of nature for inspiration.

  • Sara Polanski

    Oh, Val!
    This is truly beautiful.
    I love this reminder to leave expectations at the door.

    Fewer expectations make our days feel lighter and create space for more adventures full of joy.


  • Gemma

    Val so wise and exactly my train of thought for this year.
    Deliberate, intentional and compassionate ‘being’ all year round!

  • TJ Welsh

    Inspirational message. Thank you, Val.
    Expectations are like unjust demands and you set yourself up for disappointment and sense of failure.
    Be courageous keeps coming to me personally. I’m on the road to discovery, so Val’s words encouraged me. No matter what age, just DO IT, if it is a seed planted within you.

  • Mish Pope

    I love this. When we take ‘full responsibility’ for not only our lives, but how we re-act with-in-them we are power. It was a hard lesson for me, to release the victim and holding onto starting my life when I felt like everything was perfect. But once I did, I felt so empowered.

  • Desrae

    “Taking the time to work on ourselves and not wait for the world and others to change so we can be happy” that is more truer than true, thanks Val for the inspiring message.

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