No, but it is a blog about change and how we can make some of the changes we would like to make in a way that might have a longer lasting impact than those boring new year resolutions that have generally been forgotten about by this stage in the new year.
While its natural that that we see the new year as an opportunity for ‘out with the old and in with the new’, (especially after the year that 2020 was), its unlikely that we can just make that change happen with a flick of the calendar so I would like to offer an alternative gentler approach to change.
The happiness factor
As humans, we want to be happy and everything that we strive for in terms of change stems from that desire to be happy so what I am suggesting is that you start to focus on those things that you do day in and day out – often mindlessly – and see if they still work for you, do they bring you happiness or are they some of the things you would like to change? If they do, then do more of them – if they don’t, do less! That may sound a bit simplistic but I’m sure we can all relate to that feeling of just going with the flow of what the day throws at us without stopping to think about whether we are enjoying it or not and then we get to the end of the day and find ourselves exhausted and stressed and maybe a bit cross with ourselves that we let the day get away from us …. again. We hear a lot these days about how the ‘happiness chemicals’, (dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins) are so important to our wellbeing so we want to do everything we can to keep them flowing.
Day to day
Pay attention to the people you have in your life, do you like to be around them, if you do, then plan to see more of them, if you don’t then find ways to limit your contact with them. In this ‘new normal’ keeping in contact might mean more Zoom calls, more phone contact but do what works for you, find who it is that lifts your spirits and gives you that important boost of oxytocin.
Are you happy in your work, if not, is there one small change that you could make that would help, that would make you feel more at ease, more in control? No one else even needs to be aware of it but knowing you have done it will send a little boost of dopamine that will lift your mood.
Are there habits you would like to change? Your diet – could you cut out just one – one takeaway, one biscuit, one cup of coffee, one glass of wine? More exercise? Plan to walk for just 5 minutes, see what happens.
Where is your happy place, where do feel most calm and relaxed? – plan to go there more often. Maybe that’s the place to take some exercise and get your hit of serotonin and endorphins.
Where do you feel uncomfortable, stressed? Can you avoid it, if not can you make changes to when you go, who you go with, how you get there?
So, let’s think about being mindful, paying attention to our actions each day, planting those tiny seeds of change that will really make a difference as they take root and grow. It’s about tuning into how you feel each day, am I happy today, am I stressed, am I enjoying this, is it good for me?
Then slowly and with small steps begin to add more of what makes you happy and reduce some of the things that take away from those feelings of happiness, contentment and calm. Slowly and surely, you will see change. But remember, above all – be kind to yourself.
If you focus on results, you will never change.
If you focus on change, you will get results’.
Jack Dixon – Welsh Rugby Union Player