After setting new years goals at the beginning of the year, February is the perfect time to check in.
Perhaps, your goal was to learn to prepare some new dishes so you bought a few recipe books. However, after a few weeks you’ve found that you’d prefer to do it in a group setting. The solution could be to join an online cooking class instead.
Or maybe you joined the gym but have now found you prefer exercise in the form of walking, running, cycling and online yoga classes instead.
After 31 days it might not be that your goals have changed completely but instead that you’ve found a different way and maybe/perhaps a better one.
Happy New Year!
It’s gotten to a point where many people shun new years resolutions (goals, plans, intentions etc.). They assume they won’t last so don’t see the point in bothering.
A common example of a new years resolution is to lose weight.
After indulging in an abundance of rich and unhealthy food over the festive period a large amount of people rush to the gym in January hoping to losing weight. However, I think the reason this tends to fail time and time again is because it actually works a little better when the focus is on the action instead of the outcome.
What if your new years resolution was to create a weekly exercise routine that you enjoy and then stick to it?
As much as it is important to have a clear goal, if you’re more focused on the end result than what is required to achieve it, you’ll probably end up giving up.
We often unknowingly run from doing the work that is required because we’re more focused on thinking about what we want than carrying out the actions to get us there.
Focusing on the action tends to result in habit building. Once these habits are ingrained into your routine they eventually become part of your everyday life which makes reaching the goal much easier.
Think about all the things that are currently bothering you, contribute to you feeling stuck or just causing a problem in your life. Write them down one by one.
Now go through each of them and think about what needs to change in order to overcome the problem. Then, write it down.
If you’re not sure, give yourself options. It could be 2 possible solutions or it could be 10.
The purpose of the exercise is to remind you that although you may feel stuck, all of your problems have solutions.
When you make a commitment to showing up consistently, it can be incredibly challenging on the days when you don’t feel like it.
When you feel low or you feel blue, when you want to take a break and escape from responsibilities just for a little while, it can be difficult not to hide away.
On the days when you feel good, vibrant and full of energy, showing up requires little of you. It’s easy and it’s something you’re in the mood to do.
But I think sometimes we fall into relying too much on how we feel to determine what we do. Of course I wouldn’t advocate for doing things that will make you miserable. However, sometimes the good feeling comes after you begin, like with exercise.
If you rely on feeling good to do it, you’d probably never get it done. And so the best thing you can do is focus on things like being consistent and committed instead
If only it was as easy as 1, 2, 3!
Something for you to refer back to when you need it.
Write down how you feel. Write until you have nothing left to write. Write without trying to be perfect, let it be messy and make no sense. The important part is getting it all out and down on paper. Sometimes our feelings of being overwhelmed are caused by a build up of feelings or words unspoken. Even though writing them out won’t directly change the situation often all you really need is to let it out.
Exercise and get your body moving. It could be skipping, a HIIT workout, dancing or whatever works for you. Exercise releases endorphins that make you feel good but the movement also allows you to dispel the heavy energy of a low mood. If you don’t feel like doing a proper workout, have a solo dance party instead.
Listen to music that will boost your mood. I’ve previously written about having a pick me up playlist, it’s so easy to create and it actually works. Once you get into associating certain songs with boosting your mood you’ll get to a point where just a few seconds of the intro will be enough to make you start to feel better.
Many people find it difficult to commit to exercising. One of the reasons for this is being focused on wanting to look a particular way which may not happen for 6 months.
If you show up for each session with your end goal in mind, you might find yourself getting frustrated or impatient because you know you still have a long way to go.
On the other hand, you could instead focus on the endorphins, the way exercising makes you feel. If every time you feel a little resistance to begin a workout you remind yourself of how good you’ll feel once it’s done, that might be all the motivation you need.
Right now might be the right time to start exercising your creative muscles.
Write, paint, draw, photograph, film, style etc
Make time for the thing that you’re interested in whatever it may be. Use the time you have to practice and experiment, try something that will challenge you.
When you’re just starting out creatively you’ll often find yourself drawn to following what has worked in the past or simply mimicking something you’ve seen.
But the best work will always come from within. However, you have to work your creative muscle to find it.
I’m learning that a big part of that is being vulnerable.
Let’s delve into a topic that matters. But first cue the music *plays satisfaction by the rolling stones*.
If someone asked the question of what would make you happier in your current job, what would you say?
If the answer is more money, think again, think about the job itself.
Some possible answers could be:
To be less stressed
Work less hours
To feel more connected to the people you work with
To work on more interesting projects
To learn a software or a new skill
To have a manager that’s helpful
To feel heard
To be recognised for the work you do
To feel valued
Some of these could probably apply to life in general and I’m guessing the same could be said for whatever is on your list too.
A lot of us settle when it comes to what we do for a living then get surprised that we’re unsatisfied.
If you decided to work in healthcare because you were taught it was a good stable job and you got scared into believing that an ‘unstable’ job would be too risky, sure you might grow to like what you do but you also might not.
If you make choices based on the belief that you can’t get the things you actually want, well then you’re probably not going to get them.
Now let’s get back the list and against each point write down what you can do to make them happen. And what you will do if there’s any pushback.
After a month or so you’ll probably notice some changes in how you feel about your job.
If not you can always get a new one.
You don’t have to grin and bear it.
I recently discovered a new podcast and listening to it brings me joy.
I find myself often relating to the conversations they have or smiling/laughing.
It’s so useful to fill your life with little things that bring you joy that you have easy access to.
Something extravagant like a week in the Maldives isn’t accessible to you on a regular basis.
You have to think small-scale.
A useful exercise is either throughout or at the end of the day write down all the things you did that brought you joy, then make a vow to do those things more.
It could be meditation, morning gratitude, getting a coffee in the kitchen with your work pal, listening to a particular song or podcast, reading a book, putting on a face mask, saying good morning to strangers on your way to the bus stop or train station or even going for a walk.
As humans we have a tendency to over complicate things but often it’s as simple as, whatever makes you feel good, do more of it.
A simple but useful exercise
Get a piece of paper and split it in 2 (or create a word document or excel spreadsheet). On one side write all your problems, the big, small and in-between.
Then the other side come up with a solution to each one.
In my experience, I’ve found that this lowers the feeling of overwhelm because once your problem has a solution it’s no longer such a big deal.
The problem could be that you’ve been feeling really tired lately. The solution to that could be getting more sleep by going to bed earlier or eating more nourishing food so that you have more energy throughout the day.
Or perhaps you don’t have enough time to work on your side projects. The solution could be to commit to setting 1hr aside every day. And to cut out or reduce other things that are taking up your time that aren’t important like Netflix.
Once you’re done you’ll have an action plan in front of you and if those problems are really bothering you’ll do something about it.