The new year is here, and I’m sure you’re wishing for a great one. Whatever your hopes for this year, turn them into reality with some deep, meaningful and honest work. There’s no denying it, for a good life and a happier self, you need to exert some (rewarding) effort. But I promise you, it will create such wonderful results, that you’ll wonder why you didn’t buckle down and do it sooner. Make this your year to face whatever you’ve been avoiding, turn over a new leaf and embrace a more powerful, capable and happier you!
Here are some lists that go straight into the wholesome and happy-making work for whatever your goals.
- Find gratitude for the small things. Concentrate on what’s wonderful in your life right now, even if it’s just something you take for granted – the fact that you can read, or have a bed to return to at night, or that you have internet access and can discover new things every day at the click of a button. Don’t underestimate the power of small moments of gratitude – but also realize it takes some effort to remember to do it. I guarantee, in whatever mood you’re in, feeling grateful adds some light to the dark.
- To feel generally more content, instead of the quick fleeting emotion of happiness, then some work is required. Basically, feeling discomfort will build a stronger you, and that brings a real richness to your life. This is what happiness at a deeper, more fulfilling level, feels like. What kinds of discomfort? Hunger, boredom, stress, anxiety – sitting there and feeling them, rather than pushing them away builds up an amazing well of strength. Start small. Wait, pause, look, wonder – whenever a difficult thing arises. And then you can move away. Little pauses will build until you become a resilient person, more capable of accepting happiness.
- Define your goals in actual terms. Not vague notions “I want to eat less sugar” “I want to exercise more”. Find the smallest possible thing you can do. “Eat one small bar of dark chocolate a week as my sweet treat / no more than a slice of bread a day and eat more spinach and kale in salads / to do yoga every other day, and run on the weekend” Or break it down to fastest achievable part of the goal. Buy a yoga mat, sign up for a class. Do 10 mins of yoga only. Starting something gets the ball rolling.
- Be comfortable with discomfort. This is a mega challenge. But you can most definitely learn it. This is one of my personal goals for this year. Because whatever goal you want to realize, being uncomfortable is part of it. Whether it’s eating more greens and less sugar, exercising more, writing more, pushing yourself to do something that scares you, like public speaking – you are going to feel bored, frustrated, worried, anxious, angry and uncomfortable. So how can you learn? Meditation is one fantastic way. It comprises many moments of being, well, being mildly bored and having to concentrate. But waw, does it work that sticking-at-it muscle. Other ways of working this muscle, is to set timers. Or find the natural wait/pause button within you. You want another piece of cake? Fine – just wait five minutes, and it’s yours. Want to stop writing, or doing research? Ok – push a bit more into the frustration. Write two more sentences, scribble down five more notes. And then you’re free to go. Want to play pc games a bit longer but should be leaving? Turn off the volume and the monitor, stand up and just focus on anything else and feel all the frustration course through your body. Feel the fear that’s there of not wanting to move out the door, and then one step, two step, three steps towards putting on your shoes. Find the initial reward in those moments when you move into pain. Feel pride that you are brave enough to feel that. That you are growing and becoming stronger.
- Love yourself first, accept everything about yourself. Think about what would make a wonderful partner so that you know it when you see it. Realize that there are equally good things about being single as there are about being in a relationship. Move away from the grass is greener thinking. There are definite joys to being single, once you embrace those, the pressure lifts.
- Find things that bring you joy. Hobbies, groups, anything that isn’t related to finding a partner. Fill your life. Become more you so that your own company becomes more fulfilling.
- Start talking to people. Go out on your own. When you are out and about, you meet people. That’s how it starts.
- Once you’ve built the foundation of finding ease being you, on your own, then talking to other people becomes a fun thing to do, without all the anxious buzz going off in your mind.
- Be you from the start. Don’t play games. Don’t hide your true self. If you hate bowling, but love the theater, then don’t hide it away. Place more importance on having someone like a friend, who can appreciate you for all your attributes. This builds up to finding a true partner in life.
- Think in terms of positivity, adding health (not losing weight), adding muscle, eating MORE good stuff (not less junk). Add add add. Add more to your life, and it will fill it more that taking away will.
- Refined carbs and sugar go down as good wholesome carbs go up. (Basically more veg).
- Five minutes here and there is movement. Fidget. Small is beautiful. But having a sweat on in a dance aerobics class is pretty awesome too.
- Do the work on you, rather than working on your diet. If there is discomfort in being you, then you will want to self-soothe in any way possible. Spending money, smoking, drinking, drugs, TV, sweets. If you are not facing up to the fact that there could be something possibly awry in your dealing with who you are, then you will self soothe. You might think, I’m fine / I can stop whenever I want / I am addicted, it’s not my fault – then I’m afraid to say, you are deluding yourself. Could you truly be okay on a desert island, just you, no self-soothers around? That thought scares me, because I know I’m a comfort seeker. If it worries you too, then it’s okay – we all want comfort, but true comfort comes from knowing that you are enough, you are capable, you are absolutely fine as you are. Do that work. Find out that it’s true in whatever way necessary. Read, therapy, dance, nature connection, meditation, talk. Once you see that you are actually perfectly fine as you are, then that internal, impulsive need to do unhealthy things will truly minimize. So much so that it won’t impact your life.
I hope these lists point you in the direction that you want to go in, and give you some ideas to research further. Browse this blog! There are lots of articles related to the above content here, and I add more every month. Have a wonderful start to the year!