Let's All Do More of These 4 Things For a Brighter, Happier Year
New Year's Resolution season is well and truly over, which is just as well because any time of year is a great time to reflect on who we want to be. Recently, I've been thinking a lot about things I want to do more of—not in an achievement sense but in a "showing up as a whole-hearted human" way. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one aiming to be more conscious about these things, so today I want to share four of the things I've come up with that will benefit us (and the people around us):
Let's all do more of these 4 things for a brighter, happier year
1. Caring about what the right people think of us
One of the most common desires I hear as a coach is a version of “I wish I could stop caring so much about what other people think.” I get it: trying to keep everyone happy is exhausting and unhappy-making. But it’s also one of those ingrained drives. We’re social animals, we thrive with connection, so of course we care what people think. That’s not to mention the fact that other people’s perspectives can be very helpful in certain situations.So the answer isn’t just not to care. Instead, it’s about focusing on what the right people think. These are the people we trust, respect, and want to build relationships with. This includes ourselves. The nosy old stranger in Starbucks or that ex-friend who has let you down more times than you care to remember? Not worth it. This is easier said than done, but I know I could start enjoying a brighter, happier year from tomorrow and save myself a lot of energy with this one.
2. Speaking up when we want to (and need to)
Speaking up includes everything from arguing for what we know to be true, to sending food back at a restaurant if they get the order wrong.I know my temptation is to stay quiet in these situations and the story I tell myself is “I don’t want to make a fuss.” But making a request—or politely asking someone to stick to their original agreement—isn’t the same as making a fuss. Even then, sometimes making a fuss is warranted. No one is going to speak up for us, so let’s make sure we’re doing it for ourselves.[Tweet "No one is going to speak up for us, so let's make sure we're doing it for ourselves."]
3. Questioning things we read and share online
The internet is full of misguided wisdom, most of it well-meaning, some of it not. Most times I log on to social media, I see black and white growthspiration statements like “You only fail when you give up!” and similar.I’m all for creating a set principles for living, but we want to make sure our principles are right. Most of these statements exist on a spectrum, not in black and white terms. Sometimes "giving up" is actually a good thing. There's no point in guilting ourselves into staying on the wrong course.Part of becoming who we are is about knowing when these principles apply, and when they potentially do more harm than good. The same goes for quotes and statements that, at some level, encourage us to stifle or dismiss our true feelings in the interest of being “grateful”, “positive”, or “kind.” We can be grateful for what we have, and still want to change some things. We can be positive and still acknowledge that our current situation is challenging us. We can be kind and say no. Emotions usually present as “X and Y,” not “X or Y.”Finally, I also think it’s important to think about the source of what we’re sharing. After reading this, I no longer share quotes by David “Avocado” Wolfe. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes, but let’s think twice before we give free advertising to people who lack integrity and ethics.
4. Responding, rather than reacting
I wrote about this in this post, and it’s worth re-mentioning here. We cause ourselves so much unnecessary stress by assuming we know the definitive truth about other people’s intentions, thoughts and feelings, and then acting on those assumptions.So let’s stop jumping to conclusions and reacting when we only have half the story. Let's take responsibility for our feelings and behaviour. Let's start assuming the best, taking a deep breath, and turning our reactions into responses.None of these things are overnight quick fixes. They are all things that take time, conscious thought and commitment. But the more we practice them, the brighter our worlds will be.What else are you going to start doing for a brighter, happier year? Leave a comment and share your thoughts. Image: Danielle MacInnes