The month of January goes one of two ways:
- You throw yourself into New Year’s resolutions, planning, etc.
- The holidays and the cold weather have drained you and the thought of resolutions makes you want to crawl into a hole
Typically a new year is a time for you to reflect and create new goals. But why put all this pressure on ourselves to implement these changes up front? Why not create a year of resolutions, aspirations and new fun things you want to experience?
For the last two months, I’ve been listening to Gretchen Rubin‘s podcast Happier that she does weekly with her sister Elizabeth. Among other pearls of wisdom, each episode starts with a try this at home tip: a digestible idea to help you create better habits. A few, liking setting an alarm for bedtime, resonated with me. They’re also super easy and fun to try.
As I planned for the new year, I remember the podcast, these tips and recognized that a list of lofty resolutions wasn’t going to work for me. Actually, it never has.
So instead, I started focusing on a couple of things that hopefully will male me a little happier and a little healthier. So far for the month of January, I’ve implemented:
- Packing breakfast and lunch daily
- Tracking workouts at the gym
- Walking during one call a day at work
- Writing blog posts while at the gym (eliminates the pressure to find another time to write)
Now for some ideas I thought were good but aren’t sticking:
- Getting up 30 minute earlier to do yoga.
- Going to bed at a consistent time
- Taking a lunch break to read
I’m not totally giving up on these ideas but need to look at them differently and assess if now is the right timing. For example, instead of a full yoga class in the morning, maybe it’s ten mindful minutes of stretching. These smaller changes do have a bigger impact and absolutely remove the pressure of trying to do too much.
I can only speak for myself here: pressure doesn’t help me but it might work for you. We all need to meet ourselves where we are. Nobody needs more pressure or stress. Certainly, I’m not perfect, but these smaller changes have helped my mood. overall well-being and happiness.
What are your thoughts on New Years resolutions? Any helpful tips to share on how to implement new rituals or habits?
I wrote this post on top of a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean with OneRepublic’s “I Lived” playing. Sounds like a fairy tale, right? It’s pretty much is and allowed me to pause and reflect.
My writing spot for the day
It’s been a long summer, one where I repeated the phrase: “It could be worse,” nearly 100 times. Everyone moved, work was crazy busy and I found myself moving along without any clear direction. That’s not normal for me – I’ve always had a plan, a goal, a schedule so this way of life didn’t feel right.
If you’re not moving forward, then you’re going backwards right? I’m not sure. But what I learned this year is that over orchestrating my life puts too much pressure on me and probably those around me. Every day should be its own adventure.
I paused over the weekend and reflected on what I want the next year to look like. Normally, I would create a list of things I want to accomplish in the next year and highlight the best moments of the past one. But that’s easy for me. 25 feels like a milestone so it should be more challenging. This year is going to be the year of intention: setting intentions, putting more positive ones out to the universe and being more intentional with my words and my time. To start, my intention for this new year is to believe in the change. My journey in the last year has been shaped by changes that life handed to me not ones I consciously put into motion. I know I can do better when faced with new challenges and unexpected changes. Whatever is meant to happen will shape my path for the better…or at least make for an interesting story!
Will I totally give up my planning nature? Definitely not. Who I am at its core isn’t going to change nor do I want it to. But in the spirit of continuous improvement, I want to focus on getting better from here!
I’m looking forward to celebrating my birthday over the next few days and making 25 the best year yet! I invite you to join me in my year of intention and to share your thoughts below!
For those who don’t know, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. An entire month is dedicated to these debilitating diseases that impact approximately 57.7 million Americans over the age of 18. The first step is truly generating that awareness and starting the conversation.
The problem we face today is the stigma around mental illness. It should be treated like any other disease. Just because the symptoms aren’t always visible doesn’t mean they aren’t real. Anxiety, addiction and others paralyze people in ways that are indescribable. Unless you’ve experienced it, you should not judge.
I apologize if this post sounds like a rant; that’s not my intent. I know too many people who suffer in silence from mental illness. Mental health is just as important as physical health and people should realize that. Without your mind, you’re just a body wandering around. Talking about it will ultimately help save lives.
Over the weekend, a Temple alum and successful professional athlete, died at the age of 25. The cause of death was confirmed as a suicide yesterday. This was someone who had everything going for him. What could have possibly been that bad?! We will never know. If he only would have talked to someone and been vulnerable enough to admit something was wrong, could that have saved his life?
I think about him and others and wonder: If we as a society embraced mental wellness more, would people suffering be more comfortable talking about it? Today, I am inviting you to start that conversation with me – share experiences, offer advice or just listen. The quote to the left is our reminder that you just don’t know what people are experiencing. Approach your day with empathy and a smile – it could change someone’s world.
In my last post, I wrote about the power of storytelling. Stories help convey our values, purpose and brand. But what happens when that oh so powerful story is a lie we repeat to ourselves often?
Much like fairy tales, our personal narratives were constructed at an early age, whether we believe it or not. The people closest to us helped to develop these stories, both positive and negative, that we end up carrying with us through life. So, if you were told you weren’t good enough your entire childhood, chances are you’ve carried that baggage with you through adulthood.
Another thought is that we may have perceived situations as children and translated them into negative stories about ourselves. The mother who was tough on her kids was merely preparing them for life’s challenges versus how a teenager might have perceived this tough love. Either way, the stories we tell ourselves can both help and harm us in the long run.
For me, the stories I create in my head are absolutely dramatizations of reality. I’m still trying to figure out why this is. I’m assuming it has something to do with my personal triggers. Triggers are scenarios that prompt an emotional response. Note: this emotional response can be extremely positive or extremely negative. Triggers, much like personal stories, are deeply rooting in your past experiences.
I tend to obsess about certain situations, then create a false story in my head that in turn solicits an emotional response. See what kind of chain reaction I have going on here? It’s not healthy or sustainable. I’m working on it but am finding it’s really hard for me stop the whirling in my head. The good news is I’m starting to recognize when I’m giving in to this behavior, so that’s step one. Here’s what I’ve been attempting to do when I know I’m obsessing, lying and reacting.
- Recognize that I’m obsessing and creating a false story about a particular situation
- Take a deep breath to calm myself down and pull myself out of the emotional reaction I’m having
- Think about what actually happened versus what I perceived
- Put myself in the other person’s shoes: could something have triggered them that then caused a chain reaction?
- Ask myself: will this matter tomorrow, next month or next year? This one is especially helpful in keeping things in perspective.
I am certainly a work in progress, but have found these steps helpful. What kinds of stories do you tell yourself? Do any illicit an emotional response and how do you manage that? Share with me!