This is one of the easiest ways to feel better about life.
Instead of gazing into the abyss of nothingness wondering what the future will hold, you can set yourself up with something to look forward to.
It could be a catch up with a friend in a few days time or a holiday a year from now. But it could also be you making time for a hobby you enjoy one evening after work.
I think the reason having something to look forward to can help us feel better is because it gives us some indication of how the future will be. Granted we can’t predict everything but if we can set one or even a few things in stone then suddenly the future isn’t so frightening.
It’s common to fear the unknown and so if you can in some way bring some sense of knowing or stability, it helps make things easier.
The past few months have been something none of us could have ever anticipated. It’s been challenging, sad, stressful and at times overwhelming.
Times like this are perfect for reflection because we’ve all been reminded how short life is and how tomorrow isn’t promised.
Our day to day have all changed in some way. We’ve had to do without things we didn’t even know we relied on and instead had to stay indoors.
I’ve written a few questions below for you to think about. They’re things I’ve been reflecting on as the lockdown rules start to ease up here in England.
What has brought you joy?
How have you been spending your free time?
What do you miss?
What have you been happy without?
What will you change moving forward?
It’s something you’ll have no doubt read or heard countless times but it’s true, some things really do get better with time.
Maybe you’re a teenager (or even an adult) feeling like you don’t belong, you’ve experienced a harsh rejection or you have a physical injury.
In the height of it, you might not be able to see a way out. The possibility for change might seem like nothing more than a fantasy. I think thats because more often than not (when it comes to lasting change anyway), it happens so slowly that we never notice it in the moment.
But then a few months later you’re able to look back on that rejection as a growth point rather than a blow to your self-esteem.
One of the most popular excuses people make is not having enough time.
Yet you’re able to make time for things that you don’t even really consider to be important.
Meanwhile, it’s your life long dream that you’re willing to put on hold or sometimes put off altogether.
There’s no denying that it can be difficult to make time but surely you’d be willing to find a way for the things you truly care about.
Finding a way might mean getting up a little earlier, watching one episode of that show you like instead of three or even making use of your train journeys.
It might seem challenging but with a little thought and a little effort, it’s definitely possible to make the most of the time you have.
When you experience a mood change from sad to happy it’s easy to find yourself looking back.
Perhaps you do so because you remember what it was like to feel sad and you remember that you didn’t think it would pass. But now all of a sudden here you are with a smile on your face, feeling like a whole new you.
Looking back is a reminder that the difficult times don’t last forever even if in the moment we sometimes forget.
So often we cling to the familiarity of what we know. We cling so hard that we’re unable to see any other option as viable.
Even when what we know is no longer working, we resist change because that means we have to learn a new way of doing things and maybe change our perspective.
And so we defend what we know, we say things like ‘that’s just the way things are’ or ‘that’s what I’ve always done’, often full of pride.
But what you’re actually doing is stunting your growth and development, closing yourself off from the opportnuty to explore a different way.
So next time you think something isn’t working, don’t just stick with it, take it as an opportunity to try something new.
Good things take time.
When you start something new you’re likely to be unpolished to begin with, you’re still learning afterall.
But that initial stage is what puts many people off. They get caught up in the idea that they’re not good enough. They play the comparison game, often looking at people with much more practice and experience.
The reality is that it takes time to find your rhythm. After a couple of weeks you can’t expect to be perfectly polished. That’s not even reasonable.
It’s so helpful and a much more enjoyable process, when you put the focus on doing the work instead of the end result.
Would you rather do something average and deliver it on time or to a high standard and late?
Many people get caught up in wanting everything to be perfect. It can get to the point where it’s difficult to hand in the completed work because that means letting go. Now the work is in someone else’s hands and you’re open to their critique or feedback.
On the other hand, submitting something average might seem like the wrong thing to do but that’s not always the case.
Firstly, let me clarify that by average I mean something you haven’t spent an excessive amount of time on. Some thing that is good but if you had a few more days or weeks would be so much better.
The thing is that sometimes progress is better than perfect.
In the case of my original question, you have two options.
You can submit late and to a high standard and then hope overtime you get better at meeting deadlines.
On the other hand, you can commit to always delivering on time and know that with practice your average will get better.
You spend a large amount of your formative years trying to figure yourself out. You’re favourite colour, what you like to eat and the kinds of movies you like to watch.
But it goes much deeper than that. Perhaps it’s what political party you want to support, your career path, whether you want to get married or have kids, who your friends are, your opinion on world issues and the sort of place you want to live.
However, sometimes these things change. Perhaps you wanted to be an Accountant at 19 but years later you now want to be a Visual Merchandiser.
Changing your path might feel difficult because it goes against the person you thought you were, the character of you that you created.
Suddenly other aspects of yourself may no longer seem to fit because one part of you has changed.
This is the point where many choose not to change.
I’ve wanted to be an accountant for long so I may as well stick with it.
It’s going to be so hard to become a Visual Merchandiser so I may as well stick with a more stable option.
The thing is though you’re allowed to change, not only from childhood to adulthood but day to day.
As you gain new experiences, your perspectives will change. Don’t reject your development and hold yourself back.
Looking back on the past couple of months, what have been your highlights?
What has brought you joy?
How have you been spending your time?
For some there’s a chance that they have been blossoming into a more truer version of themselves. Becoming someone who is considerate about how they spend their time.
It’s not that you didn’t give it much thought before, it’s that it’s suddenly become much easier to be choosy.
You’re no longer making the best of small fragments of free time, you’re making the best of your time overall.
As a result (in spite of everything going on in the world), you might feel the happiest you’ve felt in a while.