78 results for Happiness
We all have a dream – whether it’s something we’ve always wanted to have, do, or be. But what can we do to help us achieve our heart’s desires?
If you’ve not explored them before, then you may not realise just how much vision boards can empower us to visualise what we want in life. We know it works; athletes use visualisation to improve their performance – so, why can’t it work for the rest of us?
Yet according to one study by the University of California, we could be going about things the wrong way. Instead of setting our sights on our end goal, we should focus on how to achieve it. Dreaming big about a career change, country house, or once-in-a-lifetime vacation is all well and good… but if we put all of our time into the fantasy, it’s easy to forget the most important step: turning that dream into a reality.
How to create a vision board
Before you get started, you’ll need:
- a posterboard, corkboard, or frame
- a stack of magazines
Identify what you want
Before you begin, take time to ask: what do I really want? Find a quiet area where you can reflect on different areas of your life, how they affect your wellbeing, and where you can imagine yourself being in the future. Listening to soft, calming music or white noise can help you tune out distractions.
Find inspiration online or in magazines
Once you have a rough idea of what you want, it’s time for the fun part: picking out photos, pictures, words, or even quotes that call to you from your stack of magazines. If you’re struggling and have a working printer, try searching online on sites like Pinterest for inspiration.
Focus on how you want to feel – not what you want to own
Before you start working on your layout, think about your goals and how you will feel when they are complete. Do you hope to feel calmer, more confident, and in control? Perhaps you want to feel more satisfied and fulfilled in what you do?
Consider the steps you would need to take to get there
Once your board is ready, it’s time to start visualising the steps you need to take to succeed. What is holding you back – time, training, space, or even dedication? Once you identify this, you can focus on how you can overcome it, and create a more concrete idea of the steps you can take towards your goal.
Set yourself up for success
Ensure your vision board is somewhere you can clearly see it every day. By keeping your end goals – and the steps you need to take to achieve them – firmly in mind, you can turn your focus to making progress towards those dreams each and every day.
Many of us have areas we’d like to improve on. Whether it’s learning a new skill, progressing in a certain area of our life or simply finding a way to accept ourselves as we are. Check out our Self-Help page for more information.
We’ve in an age where we’ve never been more connected, yet more and more of us are reporting feelings of loneliness and isolation. The world’s largest survey on loneliness revealed 16 to 24-year-old’s are the most likely to feel lonely, with a whopping 40% saying they feel lonely often or very often.
With one in five inner-city children often feeling lonely, as well as those from BAME backgrounds at a greater risk of loneliness, it would seem that more of us are encountering feelings of loneliness at all ages.
Whether you are affected by emotional loneliness (where you miss the company of a particular person, such as a friend or loved one) or social loneliness (lacking friends or close colleagues), it’s important to remember that it’s natural to crave companionship. While some of us may choose to be alone (which can be a positive thing), when it isn’t a conscious decision, we can begin to feel disconnected from others.
Chronic loneliness can lead to ill mental health as well as problems sleeping, increased stress, and even depression. Often a vicious cycle, breaking away from feelings of loneliness can be tough. Working with a health, personal development or relationships coach could help you to feel more confident, start creating new relationships, and overcome barriers that may be holding you back.
1. Talking can provide an external sounding board for how you are feeling
Whether you choose to open up to a coach or a counsellor, talking about your feelings with an impartial, external party can help you to work through deeper issues and uncover other things that may be affecting how you are feeling.
Talking about your thoughts and feelings can be a difficult process, but by opening up, it becomes easier as time goes on. While a coach won’t give you all of the answers you may be looking for, they can help you work towards figuring out just what it is you need, and which areas you may most benefit from working on to help you feel happier, more connected, and more fulfilled.
2. A coach can help you identify what is missing
When we are in a negative headspace, it can be hard to figure out exactly what it is we need. If you are feeling lonely, you may assume that finding a romantic partner is the answer to all of your problems, whereas there may be other roots towards feeling more connected, such as experimenting with new hobbies, reaching out to colleagues, or rekindling old friendships. Opening up with a coach can help you to better identify what may be missing and work towards feeling happier.
3. Remember: being alone and feeling lonely aren’t the same thing
Being physically alone, and feeling emotionally lonely are two different things. Whilst someone may experience both at the same time, it’s important to take a step back and consider: are you feeling lonely, or are you enjoying time by yourself?
Life coach Jo Painter explains, “Loneliness has a scale of spectrum, with each end having extremes from constant loneliness to occasional loneliness. Being alone means literally you are by yourself. Being lonely means you crave social contact and connection with others. You can be in a group of people or with the one you love, and still feel lonely.”
Building and nourishing deeper connections with acquaintances or friends who you don’t feel as close to can be a good way to get started. Taking things slowly can help you to strengthen these connections over time.
Between social media ‘time spent’ popups, articles flooding the news, and the introduction of screentime monitoring applications as standard across many phones, it’s hard to go a day without encountering something or someone that has an opinion on how long we’re spending on our phones.
It’s easy to feel judged for how we use our phones – sometimes, with good reason. One study unveiled millennials check their phones up to 150 times each day. Other generations aren’t close to those numbers, but are still pretty high at an estimated 85 times each day.
If you’re worried about your phone usage, it could be time to consider taking a break. Whether that’s a day away from your phone, or setting aside an hour or two each day that can be phone-free; it’s worth discovering what works best for you. We share some simple ways you can set yourself up for success and claim back the hours lost to scrolling.
Six simple ways to take a break from your phone
1. Consider why you want a break
Before getting started, take the chance to stop and think about what has stopped you from taking a break from your phone in the past. Does it make you feel worried or anxious to be away from your phone? Or do you check it more out of habit?
Jot down everything that comes to mind (a simple spider diagram can be a big help). If going cold-turkey for a whole day without your phone seems too daunting, start by going phone-free for a morning, or a couple of hours in the evening.
2. Pick your time carefully
Consider when you want to try going phone-free. If you’re feeling a little apprehensive, try a non-working day. This can stop you from using the excuse that work may need you (if you’re working from home or are frequently away from your desk for meetings). Letting people know ahead of time if you are planning to be offline for the day can be a simple way to put your mind at rest, encouraging you not to check in with social media and apps frequently ‘just in case’.
3. Make it a group activity
Encourage friends, family, or colleagues to do the same. If you are taking a break from your phone at the same time as a loved one, you can both benefit from a full day of quality time to spend together, connecting without the distractions your phone can provide. Phone-free time can be a great opportunity during work hours to spend time on idea generation (as well as making sure everyone is 100% focused on any meetings at hand).
4. Take it slow
Jumping in head-first can be tempting, but it can also be daunting. If going fully phone-free for a day feels like too much, try setting yourself smaller goals to help ease you into things and build a healthy balance. For example, try setting aside a day where you’ll only use your phone for messages, not social media; or allow yourself to check your phone at set points across the say, instead of having it face-up and in your line of sight at all times.
5. Make a phone-free zone
If using your phone before bed is one of your weaknesses, try moving your phone charger away from your bedroom (or if browsing whilst relaxing on the soft is getting to be a distraction, try leaving your phone charging in the kitchen) so you aren’t tempted. Sure, a lot of us like to use our phones as alarm clocks, but if there’s a benefit to moving your phone away from the bedroom, it’s totally worth the investment in a traditional alarm clock.
6. Track how it goes
If you’re trying out different ways to cut down on your screentime, remember to note down how you are feeling as the set time goes. Jot things down (the old fashioned way – no taking notes on your phone!) to see how the break made you feel. Did anything surprise you? Were you more or less anxious than you expected? Did you feel any more present or connected than you thought you would?
Is taking a break from your phone always the answer?
For some of us, taking a step back, putting down our phones and taking a break can be a positive, empowering experience. With the introduction of screentime features that let us know just how long we spend scrolling through Instagram, browsing Facebook, and losing ourselves on YouTube, it’s hard to deny that we can spend a lot of time online.
However, it’s good to remember: it’s OK to not take a break from your phone. While cutting down on screen time can be good for a lot of us, but it isn’t for everyone (and that’s OK). Although we are pretty good at demonising social media and tech as a whole, it’s worth remembering that they can provide vital connections and significant benefits for different people.
We aren’t all the same; where some of us may be addicted to our phones, others may use them as a lifeline to connect with others, escape, or interact in ways that may otherwise be impossible due to ill mental or physical health.
Using our phones, tablets and other devices can have some great benefits, including helping us to:
Smart devices can provide an easier way for people who experience social anxiety, are shy, or may have communication difficulties to find and connect with other people. Phones, social media and online forums can take away the pressure away that can come from face-to-face interactions, whilst providing the opportunity to speak with others who have similar life experiences that we otherwise may not have met.
Foster a sense of community
For those experiencing ill mental health, many report feeling more able to connect with and open up to others online, gaining a sense of comfort and guidance from digital mental health communities.
Online communications can also help many people to reconnect with old friends or colleagues who they may not otherwise interact with, whilst helping them to stay up-to-date with friends and family who live further away or have conflicting schedules.
Online communities can act as a tool and space for greater feelings of personal empowerment. Getting actively involved in online communities can not only help develop a network of friends, but can help individuals to feel more engaged and involved within the hobbies they love.
From discussing ideas that excite them to cultivating interests, shaping their identity, and discovering who they really are, social media and digital communities can help people to build a network of people outside of their immediate geographical community, exposing them to different perspectives, ideas, and views they may not otherwise encounter.
Social media can not only help us to feel more engaged, but can allow us to discover new causes we can become passionate about. From volunteer opportunities and the work different charities are doing, to world news and the latest events; not all creativity and compassion stem from the other side of a screen, but the spark of inspiration and interest can still come from there.
We’re not saying it’s a good idea to stay plugged in 24/7, but the next time you feel like you’re being judged for the time you spend online (or the next time you feel like judging someone else on the tube for not glancing up from their phone), try to remember: each of us has different needs. Who are we to judge what works for us, or for others?
It’s hard to deny: we’re all (well, most of us) a bit overly attached to our phones. Can you remember the last time you went somewhere without yours? I can’t. On average, we each check our phones more than 85 times across the day (with some studies putting that number as high as 150 times across the day for us millennials).
Have you ever stopped to consider why you’re constantly checking your phone? Is it for work, to keep up with friends and family? Maybe it’s just boredom or the fear that you’re missing out on something. The time we spend on our phones can stop us from seeing the bigger picture of what’s going on in the world around us, as we focus our time and energy on the tiny screen that’s always on hand.
While our phones have the ability to help us connect with friends, family, and world news, opening up our point of view from what is immediately around us and giving us access to so much more information, they can also have their limitations. Next time you’re in a cafe or catching a train, have a look around you; how many people are staring down at their phones, rather than appreciating the moment?
Taking a break from our phones (whether that’s an hour away or a day of leaving it behind) can be a great step towards re-connecting and living in the moment.
What are the benefits of taking a phone break?
Improve your work/life balance
Being constantly connected can be stressful. We don’t just use our phones to connect with friends; many of us log in after-hours to check just one last work email, catch up on one more Slack conversation, or make just a couple of final tweaks to something we’ve been working on.
How we use our phones can encourage us to develop an unhealthy work/life balance, where we feel the constant need to be connected and available – something that isn’t healthy for us to expect of ourselves or our colleagues. The more comfortable we feel in taking short breaks away from our phones, the more aware we become when we check them. Setting simple but effective boundaries for your work-use of your phone (and other devices) outside of the office can be a positive first step to reducing time lost on your phone.
Have a more restful night
Studies have shown that our screen use before bed can contribute towards insomnia and restless nights. Numerous studies recommend we avoid bright screens for at least two to three hours before bed.
Moving your phone out of the bedroom and leaving it to charge overnight in another room can help stop the temptation to check Facebook just one more time before bed, or squeeze in another game of candy crush before you fall asleep. Sure, your phone makes a convenient alarm in the morning – but what’s more important: gaining a better night’s sleep by removing temptation from your room, or saving a fiver it would cost to pick up a cheap alarm clock from your local supermarket?
We’ve all felt a tad envious when seeing how well old friends or colleagues are doing when we log onto social media, but research suggests our unhappiness when using our phones could actually have more to it.
Some research has suggested phone addiction may correlate with emotional instability, whilst an overwhelming number of studies have linked social media usage of sites including Instagram and Facebook with low self-esteem. Even the social media giants themselves are looking to tackle our addiction to their sites, with the introduction of time-limiting and time-tracking tools.
Perhaps it’s time we start using our fave social sites in moderation. Uninstalling the apps from your phone can be a simple way to remove temptation whilst still having access to our favourite sites through our desktops.
Be more present
How much of our lives do we spend looking through our phone screens? How much do we really miss out on in our rush to record exactly what’s going on around us, or to get the perfect selfie? We’ve all done it; while on holiday with my other half, we spent more time trying to get the perfect shot than we did appreciating the natural beauty of what was around us. It wasn’t until our phones ran out of battery that we really started to take in the natural beauty around us.
When was the last time you went out to a meal with friends without someone snapping a quick pic for Instagram? If we’re reducing the milestones (big and small) around us to social media posts, are we really experiencing the moment at all?
Try and set yourself the challenge of doing just one thing without taking your phone with you; going for a coffee, having lunch with a friend, taking a walk in the park. No Instagram selfies, no checking-in via Facebook, no double-checking your steps via the app or browsing to see if the newest episode of your fave podcast is out. Just appreciate the moment with no techy distractions.
Improve your relationships
Texting at the dinner table, checking messages mid-conversation, or leaving your phone face-up during emails; we feel so compelled to check our phones, we don’t always realise we’re doing it.
The introduction of screen-tracking apps like the iOS update in 2018 now make it easier to see how much time we are spending on our phones, but are we changing our behaviour for the better? Or just feeling guilty as we continue to hmm in the right places in the conversation, flicking through our feeds ‘just in case’?
According to one study, nearly 70% of women feel that their partner’s smartphone, computer, or TV interferes with their relationship. 35% report partners pulling out their phone mid-conversation to check notifications, with 33% saying their significant other can’t make it through a meal without checking their phone. Most concerningly, one in four of us have actively texted someone else whilst having a face-to-face conversation with our partner.
Try setting aside some tech-free, quality time. Whether that’s setting a no-phones policy in meetings, leaving phones on charge over dinner, or banning tech for a couple of hours together before bedtime. Setting small but significant boundaries can make a big difference over time.
Increase your focus
If you find your phone is particularly distracting in the office, try suggesting a ban during meetings. No phones in pockets or on the desk – no exceptions. It sounds a little childish at first, but you may be surprised at how well it can work.
Our phones are always by our sides; even in silent mode, we can see the tell-tale flash as our screens pile up with new notifications, or the distinct buzz at it vibrates in silent mode. Out of sight, out of mind can work to our advantage. Once you get used to having set blocks of phone-free time, you can begin to feel less pressured to split your focus and allow yourself to get into the zone.
The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) have launched ‘Scroll Free September’, a month-long campaign to help us negotiate a happier relationship with our phone and social media.
While the initiative is aimed at everyone, it’s especially looking to target young people after their 2017 #StatusOfMind report revealed some worrying statistics. Some key findings from the report include:
- 91% of those aged 16-24 use the Internet for social networking.
- Rates of anxiety and depression in young people have risen 70% in the last 25 years.
- Cyberbullying is a growing problem, with seven in 10 young people experiencing it.
Their research also revealed that young people who are ‘heavy users’ of social media (spending more than two hours a day on social networking sites) are more likely to report poor mental health. Issues of sleep, poor body image and FOMO (fear of missing out) linked to social media usage were also highlighted in the report.
Despite these statistics, there were positives to be found too.
“Social media has prompted a revolution in peer-to-peer interaction and sharing” says the report. It went on to explain how social media can be a tool for self-expression, helping young people put forward their ‘best self’.
We know from personal experience, just how positive social media can be for well-being, when used in a healthy way.
And this is the key thing. The aim of Scroll Free September is not to make us give up social media for good, instead it hopes to encourage a little reflection. It offers us all a chance to consider which aspects of social media we miss, and which we could really do without.
If you’re not ready to go cold turkey, the campaign offers up other options to try:
Social butterfly – Take a break from social media at all social events.
Night owl – Take a break from social media every evening, after 6PM.
Busy bee – Take a break from personal social media accounts when in school or work.
Sleeping dog – Give up social media in the bedroom and improve your sleep.
It seems like even social media companies themselves are recognising the damaging effect too much screen time is having on us. Facebook and Instagram are currently rolling out updates to help users manage their time better on the app, with push notifications and monitoring tools.
Social media can have so many positive effects, including connection, support and self-expression. But it’s important for us to acknowledge the negatives that often come alongside excessive usage.
Taking some time away from the screen can help us build a better relationship with our phones, reconnect with the ‘real world’ and encourage us to be more mindful of our time online.
The term ‘success’ is a loaded one. Whether it’s tied to our careers or our personal lives, the idea of being successful comes with a lot of pressure. There is an underlying assumption that success needs to look a certain way.
This could involve having a certain amount of money, a certain lifestyle, a certain job position or even a certain relationship status. Combine this with our tendency to compete and compare, and it’s no surprise a lot of us feel like we’re ‘failing’ in certain areas of our life.
We want to unpick this myth and show you how you can be your own measure of success. Let’s start with a quick look at the dictionary definition of success:
‘The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.’
Sounds pretty simple right? Nothing in there about money, wealth, career or relationships. Simply an accomplishment of an aim or purpose. Now we’ve got that ironed out, let’s look at a few ways you can create your own measure of success.
Define what success means to you
Now you know the dictionary definition, it’s time to make your own definition. Sit down with a pen and paper and journal your thoughts on the idea of success. Consider your core values and what your purpose is. If you find this a struggle, you may benefit from working with a coach who can offer support on this.
Once you’ve written down your purpose and core values, write up what it means for you to be successful in this. Does it mean having flexible working? More time with your family? Enough money to be comfortable? Helping others? Making a difference? Write all of it down and then try to capture it in one sentence.
Cut out the comparison
These days, it is incredibly easy to compare ourselves to others. With people sharing so much on social media, it’s only natural to hold up your life alongside theirs. But, this doesn’t do anyone any good.
We’re all on our own journeys, they’ll all look different and go in different directions. We’re all moving at different paces too.
Instead of competing and comparing, try to encourage a sense of community.
Next time you see someone you admire and feel that pang of comparison, try supporting or even befriending them instead.
Celebrate every win
Sometimes we get so preoccupied with the end goal, it’s easy to miss the small wins along the way. Once you have your definition of success nailed down, celebrate every step that gets you there.
Make a big deal about it, show it off, treat yourself if possible. This will help to increase confidence and keep your self-doubt quiet.
Learn from your losses
Success is never a picture of perfection. There are countless tales from successful public figures about their failures and losses. These feel awful when they happen but, the truth is, they’re opportunities to learn.
Try to get curious when something doesn’t go to plan. Is there a different approach you could take next time? Was timing an issue? What have you learnt from this?
Pull back for perspective
Regardless of what you decide success means to you, it’s important not to become consumed by it. If you’re struggling with feelings of frustration or failure, take some time to pull back and gain a little perspective.
Spend time with people you love, do something just for the fun of doing it, have a self-care day. Get out of your own head for a little while, maybe take a social media break and come back to your goals feeling refreshed and invigorated.
If you’re finding all of this difficult and think you would benefit from a little guidance, a life coach could be the perfect support for you. They can help you define what success means to you break down your goal to create an action plan that feels doable and exciting.
“There is nothing in nature that blooms all year long, so don’t expect yourself to do so either”. This is a favourite quote of ours here at Life Coach Directory. It serves as a reminder that we need seasons of rest in order to bloom.
This idea of different seasons in our life and embracing the idea of flux (flow and change) is an important one, not only for our personal lives, but for our careers.
There is somewhat of a trend online, and especially in the entrepreneur space, that in order to be successful, we must hustle. We must work hard, all day, every day. And this simply isn’t true.
Yes, there will be periods of time in life where you’ll feel like you’re firing on all cylinders. You’ll be energised and excited about a project and will want to work hard on it. Recognising when this season is drawing to a close however and embracing a change of pace is essential if you want to avoid burnout.
Notice when your energy levels start flagging. Notice when the creative ideas seem to have stalled. Are you feeling run down or seem to be coming down with coughs and colds a lot? Are you tired, struggling to sleep or suffering with stress-related aches and pains? These are all signs that your body and mind is in need of a rest.
If you notice these signs early enough, you can start working with these energy levels.
Take a look at your schedule (both personal and work-related) and see what you can push back or let go. Review how much self-care time you’re getting each week, and increase it. Think about what helps you feel rested and rejuvenated – whether that’s yoga, going for walks, reading or simply resting. Make more space for this.
These seasons are great time for researching and planning too. Get inspired and make notes. Doing this kind of work when your energy levels are low means that when you feel them rising again, you can put your plans into action.
If possible, take a break at this time. Book a holiday or simply take a few days off to really switch off and gain a little perspective. Remind yourself what brings you joy and what fulfils you.
Resting in these more quiet times is an investment. It allows you to recharge so that when you need to, you can return full of energy and be more productive. So rather than feeling guilty for not ‘performing’ at work or at home in these times, remember you are simply taking time to invest in yourself (and your future performance).
We would love to know how you navigate busier and quieter seasons in your life – let us know in the comment below or tweet us!
Taking care of ourselves both physically and mentally should be a priority, but for many of us it simply falls off the to-do list. Instead we fill our time working, looking at our phones and complaining about how tired we are…
Thankfully there are tools and apps at our disposal to help us break out of this mindset and embrace self-care. Below are just a few apps that we’re loving.
1. Headspace (iOS and Android, free to download)
If you’ve always wanted to try meditation but haven’t made space in your life for it yet, Headspace is a great place to start. Setting you up with 10, 10-minute meditations for free (you then pay to subscribe for the full service) the app makes it easy for you.
The voice of Headspace, Andy Puddicombe, explains the benefits of mindfulness in an easy to understand way, making it fun and totally achievable.
2. Daylio (iOS and Android, free)
Helping you become more self-aware, Daylio is a mood tracking app. What we love about it is its simplicity. When prompted all you do is pick an icon to represent your mod for the day and then pick icons to represent what activities you’ve done. You can add notes too, but technically you don’t have to write a word.
As well as encouraging you to be more aware of your moods and emotions, you can spot patterns and triggering events giving you the chance to prepare/plan ahead.
3. Moment (iOS, free)
For many of us self-care involves unplugging and putting our phones down a little more. Reconnecting with offline activities like reading, talking with friends and just being in nature can really support our mental health. Moment is an app that tracks how much time you’re spending on your phone and you can even set yourself limits.
When we first downloaded the app we were shocked at just how much we were using our phones, so it’s definitely a great reminder to switch off more regularly.
4. Forest (iOS and Android, £1.99)
Improving productivity may not sound too self-care like, but being more efficient when working allows you to manage your time and make space for self-care. For all of us who get distracted by our phones when working on something, Forest is a great way to keep you focused.
You plant a tree in the app and set a timer for the amount of time you want to steer clear of your phone. If you pick up your phone and exit the Forest app before the time is up, you’ll kill your tree! The more you use the app and the longer you leave your trees, the more they grow and in the end, you’ll have a little productivity forest to be proud of.
As a bonus, Forest has a scheme that plants real trees when you spend virtual coins in the app, so your productivity even helps the planet.
5. Ambient Mixer (iOS and Android, free to download)
Getting enough sleep is a basic act of self-care but one so many of us struggle with. If you find it hard to get to sleep without some sort of background noise, the Ambient Mixer app may be just what you need. As well as providing a huge range of different sounds, the beauty of this app is that you can edit and mix sounds to make something just right for you.
Don’t worry, this isn’t technically an article on New Year’s resolutions. This is more than that.
It’s an article on self-reflection and self-appreciation. It’s about learning about yourself – what you want, where you want to be and who you are.
I’m Ellen and I’m one of the writers here at Life Coach Directory. I’ve been to university, learned a lot and after a number of different jobs, have found a career I’d like to pursue and develop in.
But despite this, it’s only been recently that I’ve actually sat down and thought about where I want to be, what I want to achieve and how much I’ve changed.
A moment of reflection
Reflection isn’t something we do often. We might have to look back at the past few weeks or months during an interview or our yearly review. We think back to our last holiday every now and then. But we rarely take a moment to really think about what we’ve achieved and how we’ve developed over the past year.
Before jumping ahead and thinking about the future. Consider the past. Think about everything that has happened this year, or write it down. Where did you go? What have you done? What are you proud of?
Even if there are some sad memories, think about them. Consider how far you’ve come, and how it helped you develop as a person. You’re still here. You’re stronger than you were before.
What do you want?
How do you feel after your moment of reflection? Proud, I hope.
The next thing is to write down what you want. What you want to achieve, a country you want to visit, a new skill to develop. Nothing is too big or too small. Split your page into sections; work, play and self. Write down what you want to gain career-wise in 2018. Do you want a promotion, to hold more presentations, or do you want to go down a whole new path?
The play section is for your social life. Your relationships. Your adventures. If there are things you weren’t able to do this year but wanted to, this is the year to do them. Of course, we all have dream travel destinations, and not many of us will be able to visit them all in one year, but treat yourself to one. Consider your budget and get saving. You won’t regret it.
Finally, the self section. This is where you can record all intentions or challenges you are setting yourself for the coming months. Whether it’s being more confident and self-assured, making healthier choices – for mind and body, or building on self-love and dedicating time to self-care. We don’t spend enough time looking after ourselves, or when we do, we feel guilty.
In 2018, you will not feel guilty for spending time on you.
Do you feel inspired? Deciding what you want isn’t easy – I found it surprising. I wasn’t expecting to read the things I had written down. It’s quite empowering.
I’m keeping this broad and very general. After all, the preparations you may need to make will depend on your 2018 goals and aims. But by preparing, I really mean enjoy yourself. Enjoy the final days of 2017. Relax.
I also like to consider the New Year as a fresh chapter. Not a ‘new start’ as such, but getting yourself ready for the year ahead can make achieving your goals a little bit easier. You start on the right foot per se.
Personally, I like to have a clear out and a big tidy up. As the year comes to a close, I empty my work inbox, tick off all outstanding tasks and write a new to-do list for the first week back. I have a wardrobe-organising day, tidy the house and as a result, I feel relieved and clear-minded. I feel ready to face the new year and really enjoy it.
However you decide to prepare, keep what you have written in mind. Things may get in the way – after all, life is unexpected, but getting back up and adapting to the change is part of the journey. Fold the piece of paper and hide it somewhere, maybe you can look at it six months down the line and see how much you’re able to tick off.
Whether you’re in a role you love or a job you hate, habit and comfort zone can keep you from making the changes you want to make. You need to make a presentation but public speaking terrifies you. You want a raise, but you don’t know how to approach your manager. You’re no longer satisfied in your role, but fear you won’t find anything else.
Sometimes, despite knowing what you need to do, you can’t muster up the courage to do it.
What if you don’t succeed?
Why bother risking failure when you’re so comfortable?
Fear is an important part of life. It keeps us safe when facing threat. But it can also be incredibly limiting. Not everything that scares you deserves caution – sometimes, overcoming this fear is what is needed to change your life for the better.
If you’re holding yourself back, here are some tips to breaking out of habit. You may even learn to embrace a little fear.
Picture yourself without fear
If fear and/or habit wasn’t holding you back, what would you want? Before you do anything, sit down and imagine you weren’t scared. Make a list of the things you would do, what you want and how you would get them.
When it comes to your career or other life choices, we can often put ourselves down and doubt our abilities. Teamed with the safety of habit and fear of the unknown, our goals can get lost. Visualising success / yourself without fear can help you understand what is it you really want.
Take the first step
The first step is often the hardest. But remember that some of the best things happen when you’re uncomfortable, so bite the bullet and just do it. The more you put something off, the less likely you’ll ever do it. What’s the worst that can happen?
Get used to discomfort
The reason we fear change is because it’s uncomfortable. So, the best habit you can develop within yourself is getting familiar with discomfort. Why stick to what you know, if it’s making you miserable? If you know something needs to change, chances are, making that change will be the best thing you can do. To help yourself get used to change and discomfort, make a goal to challenge yourself every day. Pick something that scares you and just do it. After a while, what once scared you will seem very normal – you may even be better for it.
Embrace your alter ego
The best actors are the ones who can completely change who they are for a role. You can do this too. If you need to make a speech to a room full of people, visualise an alter ego who is confident and strong in that situation. You want to ask your manager for a promotion, so imagine an alter ego walking in and nailing that conversation.
During these situations, put on the alter ago. Really inhabit it and let it become you for that moment. Over time, you’ll grow more confident and comfortable and eventually, the alter ego will disappear and it’ll be who you are.
Don’t go it alone
There’s one conversation that you’re constantly having – the one in your own head. When facing a change or overwhelming situation, we tend to think we’re completely alone. The only voice is our own, telling us to think the worst and stick to what we know. But when trying something new or challenging yourself, it’s OK to enlist a trusted friend, colleague or even a professional for support. You can ask them for advice, as well as having someone to support and encourage you.