I have thought more about why so many of us seem to struggle with our New Year’s Resolutions. Resolutions typically highlight all the ways we feel we aren’t measuring up, areas that need improvement and how we often don’t feel “good enough.” That is not exactly the way I want to start this new year!
I am going to start this new year with a new list – a list of things that are good enough in my life – the things I am truly grateful for. Of course there are always going to be some areas in my life that need some attention, but if that is all I focus on, I not only set myself up for disappointment and failure, I lose sight of all the good there is!!
So join me in starting off this new year with a new list that highlights all that is good – relationships in your life, work that is satisfying, great friends.
The enemy of good is often better … don’t miss out on all the good around you because you are so focused on being better.
Let’s be happy this new year and flourish together!!
I don’t think I have ever made a New Year’s resolution that I actually stuck with. For me, resolutions have always led to feelings of guilt and shame. Recently, I looked at some current research that says 25% of us break our resolutions in the first WEEK and 75% have given up within 3 months! It seems that resolutions don’t really work for most of us!
Below are some reasons I think we can’t seem to be successful and some suggestions for making better resolutions!
- We don’t set reasonable goals. Do we really think we are going to go to the gym at 5am 6 days a week when we haven’t gotten up that early or gone to the gym since last January?!?! Let’s start with reasonable goals we can stick to most of the time! For me, I am committed to consistently drinking more water, and STOP putting food in my mouth when I am full! (Am I going to lose a bunch of weight doing this or become the next marathon winner? Probably not, but it is something I can reasonably do and I know I will feel good about it!)
- When we trip or stumble we think of it as completely “blowing it” and quit or worse, further sabotage ourselves! Have you ever eaten a cookie, felt badly about it and then proceed to eat the whole bag? Instead, let’s give ourselves some leeway. We ALL have bad days, make mistakes, or stumble. Let’s instead use “Persistence, not Perfection” as our new motto! Let’s count our good moments and any progress that we do make!
- Willpower won’t cut it! We can only “push through” for so long and then our will to push on fades! We won’t need willpower if our goals are reasonable, if we provide ourselves with grace when we stumble and count our successes!
So join me on our Facebook page as we re-think our resolutions! Decide what matters to you and how you plan to reasonably see it through! I hope you will share it with us! Remember, no resolution is too small!
Choose happiness … it is something I hear a lot. And I really wish it were that easy – just make a choice to be happy and you will be. Believe me I have tried! And it didn’t work.
Although not as simple as wishing it to be true, I do believe that I am in control of my own happiness. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a magic formula to flip the switch on. What I have found is that I can control my experience of happiness, deliberately doing the things that I know contribute to my happiness.
- Feeling and expressing gratitude.
- Being kind.
- Taking time to unplug everyday.
- Rebooting my mind by meditating daily.
- Finding the good things and celebrating them – all of them – big or small!
Practicing these habits of happiness don’t happen automatically – that’s why they are called habits. And I have learned a couple of things about habits: 1) developing a habit just “takes as long as it takes” to really stick (don’t give up) and 2) habits are formed easier in my life when I am connected to people that are working to form the same habits (find a community of support)!
So let’s start this New Year together; deliberately choosing to practice the habits of happiness; let’s encourage each other, and be kind to ourselves along the journey! Join our Meet up group and Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/happymatters/) to be a part of the Happiness Revolution!
I’m not a total scrooge this year, but I will be honest and tell you that I am not overwhelmed with the holiday spirit either. There could be many reasons…my kids are grown, we seldom experience a white Christmas, etc.. But I don’t think that’s it. I have come to realize I feel sad. I am also realizing that’s ok.
So many things seem to contribute to my sadness this year: different living arrangements, and the inability to “do what we always do.” There seems to be a loss of so many things, including unmet expectations. In the midst of the sad, there really is so much happy. But how can this be?
Sad is a part of happy and plays such an important role! I have decided to feel the sad; to mourn the losses, and then let it go! By doing this, I am actually making room for more of the happy …. And there is plenty of that. Getting stuck in the sad or ignoring it keeps me from seeing all there is to be grateful for, all the good I have.
It can be easy for me to withdrawal when I start feeling the sadness but connecting with another person is so important. Are you sad this season? If so, find that one person who can listen, cry, celebrate and be with you in the moment!
I may not be full of holiday cheer this year … You may not be either! And that’s ok. Let’s feel what we feel, look at what we can be grateful for, and enjoy the moments we do have!
I have found that meditation is as important to my happiness (flourishing) as gratitude! Science even backs me up on this one! As I started by journey to experience more … of everything … I was skeptical of what research reported meditation would do. But I was willing to try. In my journey I have learned that meditation is not at all what I thought it was. I don’t sit crossed leg on the floor burning incense! I sit anywhere and anyhow I want. I breathe and focus, and it works!
Because the most important part of meditation is learning compassion towards ourselves. My mind is going to wander – that is a given. To be critical of myself for my mind losing focus would be like yelling at a toddler for coloring on the wall. They are crayons … they are meant to be used to add color.
When a child colors on the wall, we re-direct them to color in the coloring book. It’s the same with meditation. We redirect our minds back to breathing. We don’t judge ourselves; we show compassion and understanding!
Seems like gratitude and meditation have a lot in common … both ensure we will build compassion and understanding in our lives.
Have a peaceful day!
People often ask me how to achieve a work life balance. What they really mean is how do they leave work at work and not bring it home. My response is this question… “how do you leave being a mom, dad or spouse at home when you come to work?” The answer is that YOU CAN’T! Striving to balance work and life leads to disappointment and frustration – like spending your life looking for the unicorn or the pot at the end of the rainbow.
The reality is – we are people – at work, at home, with friends. And no matter where we are, we want the same things: to feel valued, to feel connected, to experience happiness. (Remember our expanded definition of happiness – human flourishing?)
I am realizing there are so many little things I can do – no matter where I am – to enrich my life, and the lives of those around me.
The powerful punch of gratitude.
- It is amazing how you begin to view the world when you actively look for things to be grateful for. TRY IT! At the end of each day, commit to writing 3 very specific things that you are grateful for. As you develop this habit, your brain actually begins looking for the positive in situations!
Mindfulness – Pay attention on purpose!
- I can be so much more engaged in my work if I am actually paying attention to what I am doing in this moment. The same is true of enjoying my family. I can’t change what just happened and I can’t control what is going to happen, but I CAN be 100% present right now, right here – wherever here is!!
It can be difficult to leave work at the door – I know I can’t do it! Just like I can’t forget I am a mom while I am working. Maybe balance really isn’t what we should be striving for. Maybe we should start focusing on being in the moment – no matter where that moment takes place and no matter what it requires of us.
I never really like unicorns – they are pretty creepy – so I am going to stop chasing them and put my efforts into things that really matter!!