January is the month of new beginnings. A time when we take a break, catch our breath, spend time with the people we love and reflect on the last 12 months. It's a time when we make plans on what we want to do differently and what we want to do better in the coming year. And a time when we start making those plans happen.
I've made a number of professional and personal resolutions for 2015, but probably the most important one is to spend more time with my husband, my family and my friends.
I know it's an age old resolution, which usually falls in a heap once the pressures of work, school, caring responsibilities and sporting commitments mount up. But I am determined this year to carve out some space to be with the people I love, physically, and not just catch up on their lives fleetingly over the phone or through text, email or Facebook.
At a recent women's leadership conference I was asked how I achieve work-life balance. And I was honest in saying, quite frankly, I don't.
After recharging my batteries over summer, I've decided on a renewed focus this year in an attempt to achieve greater balance in my life.
For me it means managing a rewarding and demanding workload, while also sharing a meal with Chris, pottering around the garden, getting some soul food from our national institutions and galleries, walking around the lake and testing out new recipes on Sunday afternoons.
I know from my many conversations, mobile offices, doorknocks, business walkarounds and community forums that last year was a tough one for Canberrans. And the tragedies in Sydney, Cairns and Peshawar meant you headed into your Christmas and holidays reeling.
So in 2015, I encourage you to spend more time just hanging out with those you love. And taking the time to stop and smell the roses... although my personal favourites are Asian lilies.