I’ve been reminded that there is a natural order to this world that has a silver lining: A beginning and an end to all things. 2014 has ended and 2015 has begun. Seasons, months, weeks, days, birthdays and ‘end-days’ all have a natural beginning and end. We tend to celebrate the beginnings more than the ends. We are accepting of the end because it heralds the promise of a new hope filled beginning. That which has ended cannot be changed but that which begins is up to you. (That my friends is the silver lining – a little bit of power that’s all yours).
The promise of a new hope filled beginning is the opportunity we have to create our lives and shape them into what we want them to be. To have another go at doing things differently, or doing more of what worked well. This is the gift of life. Each new day brings with it opportunities to try again, improve, change, grow, love. Take the opportunity of crafting and creating your life each new day, you don’t have to wait for a new year.
So with this brand new day, freshly arrived and ready to be shaped and moulded, ask yourself:
• What worked well yesterday? Do more of that today.
• What did you do yesterday that you would like to do differently? Try that today.
Today, I am going to eat healthy foods. What are you going to do?
When life is hectic and stressful, it’s important to be reminded about the ‘good stuff’. Here’s 10 reasons to be happy and filled with gratitude:
- You are alive and breathing.
- You are safe.
- You didn’t sleep outside last night.
- You chose what to eat for breakfast.
- You chose what to wear this morning.
- You have an amazing brain that works without you knowing.
- You know someone who loves you.
- You have access to clean drinking water and medical care.
- You have access to the Internet.
- You can read.
Some might say you are extremely privileged and wealthy. Remember to notice what you do have, it’s so easy to take it for granted.
What would you add to this list?
What do you sometimes forget to be grateful for?
Life is like a visit to the bakery. You have a pretty good idea what it is you’re going to buy as you walk in the door and then you’re faced with all these delicious smells and delectable treats. You stand there taking it all in, trying to remember that you only came for a loaf of bread and not the cream doughnuts or custard tarts. “No, we’re just getting the bread”, you say to yourself in a firm voice. Then you realize that choosing bread is not so easy either. What kind of bread would you like? Seeds or no seeds, gluten free, high in fibre, white, sour dough, rye or wholemeal? The choices are endless. Somehow, we make a decision and live with it. We may even decide to get some doughnuts too. We don’t stand in the bakery for hours on end contemplating every aspect of the bread we choose to buy. We don’t worry about what the consequences of choosing that bread will be five years from now. We accept we’ve made the best decision we could at the time and we also realize that we can always try something different if this loaf of bread turns out to be a bad choice. We can even go to a different bakery next time.
Life is like that too. We can only make the best choice in the moment, not the perfect choice. It can be hard when we’re faced with so many options and it’s hard to tell which one will be best.
- Is this the right career for me?
- Should I commit to this relationship?
- Do I want to buy a house?
- What if this diet doesn’t work?
- Where should I go on holiday?
- What if this business fails?
- Should I take a chance and follow my dreams?
Choices, choices, choices. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. We become so paranoid about making a mistake but the reality is that as long as we are alive we get to choose again.
That doesn’t mean that we don’t have disappointments, losses, pain or hardship. We suffer at times but life doesn’t end there. We get to visit the bakery of life over and over again. We get to change our minds, do things the same way or do them differently. Not making a choice is the only choice that keeps us stuck.
Have you ever wondered what a “Bucket List” actually is? Unfortunately, “Bucket List” tends to echo with the dark but subtle thought of one day “kicking the bucket!” You might want to call it a Pursuits List or Life List instead. It just be semantics, but I prefer to stick to the positive view of a bucket list. Mostly because I am familiar with research in the area of positive psychology, which has gone a long way towards trying to uncover what it is that makes us happy and fulfilled:
- Finding Meaning – discover your strengths and use them to achieve meaningful goals.
- Do activities that you love – activities that allow you to be fully immersed, in a state of flow. Activities like dancing, singing in a choir, sports, creating, baking, writing or art. (Being actively involved in what we love is what Happiness of Pursuits is all about).
- Do good deeds for others – we feel energised and warm when we do kind things for others. Go on, help someone else and experience the “helper’s high.”
- Nurture Relationships – connection with friends and loved ones is an important ingredient in the chemistry of joy and happiness.
Ultimately, a Pursuits List is a list of personal goals that you set for yourself. These goals are part of the process of moving yourself from where and who you are to where and who you want to be.
Use your mind and Pursuits List to achieve more contentment and joy in your life. What we focus on and how we choose to see events impacts on our happiness. Research tells us that if we use our Pursuits List to include the items above, we are likely to be a lot happier in life.
What do you think?
Can you believe that we won’t be miserable if we don’t get what we want? Apparently we have a “psychological immune system” that protects us. Watch this TED talk by Dr Dan Gilbert and be amazed! 🙂
Sunday nights are always interesting for me. That lovely weekend reprieve is coming to an end and it’s back to reality on Monday. There’s the longing for the weekend to last just a bit longer and the niggling anticipation of what the week will bring: work deadlines, exercise demands and dietary corrections following those delicious weekend indulgences.
Sunday also seems to be when RC, my internal Resident Critic, tends to get a wee bit anxious. RC starts pointing out all the things I should of and haven’t done. The irony of it is that nothing has really changed since Friday but RC’s negativity can make things look pretty bleak and daunting for the week to come.
RC likes things to be predictable and change threatens predictability. If things stay just the way they are, then we are in a comfort zone and RC can tell exactly how things are going to pan out. Change it up a bit and RC gets frazzled! Anxious because he’s no longer able to see what’s coming and how things will be. Let’s be honest, RC just doesn’t like change – even just the change from weekend to week.
Here’s the dilemma: RC is here to stay. The only time I’m going to get rid of RC is when my time on this planet comes to an end, and even then I don’t know whether RC will be coming with me!
We all know we have a Resident internal Critic in our heads and so often we are told that we:
- shouldn’t listen to RC,
- ignore RC,
- dismiss RC,
- tell RC to shut up,
- be adamant that you’re in control,
- wage war on RC.
Only problem is that the more I do that, the louder and more insistent RC becomes! It’s like he really NEEDS to be HEARD. So maybe that’s exactly what I should be doing. Maybe if I stop and listen he will feel heard. (That doesn’t mean I have to believe everything that RC says). After all, do you believe everything anyone ever tells you? Probably not. You hear them out and then you do a little research, think about what they’ve said and you decide what you think about the matter. So what if I do the same with RC?
So here is my strategy for managing my internal Resident Critic and Monday Blues:
- Listen to what RC is saying – even write it down, but remember it’s only the opinion of my internal critic.
- Ask myself, “What does the evidence tell me? What are the facts?”
- Take action that is helpful, fits the facts, who I want to be and what I want to achieve.
- Keep it real. Surround myself with tangible things that are beautiful, cheerful and make me feel good! Like a special photo, flowers, music, perfume, or wearing my favourite colour.