Positively 2017: 6 ways to make the year ahead your best yet!
These feel uncertain times, don't they? Politically, economically and socially, the world seems in a state of massive flux. So what can we do as an individual to ensure that, despite it all, 2017 is going to be a great year for us and our loved ones? Surprisingly, it might be easier than you think! Here are six things for you to think about that could help you transform your life:
1. Be authentic!
The first step towards a happier you is to stop looking around at others and thinking you should be more like them. And it's equally important to stop worrying about what anyone else might be thinking about you (which in any case is probably a lot less than you imagine). The person you should be more like is you! A good life begins with understanding your own values, the personality traits and character strengths that make you the unique individual that you are, even if this makes you feel vulnerable at first. As the famous professor of Social Philosophy, Brene Brown, has said: "Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go who we think we're supposed to be and embracing who we are".
2. Get connected
The essential nature of the human condition is connection. We are hardwired to need and thrive from our connection to others. For some of us family is most important, for others it's friendship, and for others again it's our colleagues at work or our customers and the people we serve. Think about what connections are most important for you and give your highest priority to nurturing those connections. At the end of their lives, people rarely most regret things they have done. Instead, they most regret the things they didn't do: the connections they didn't look after well enough, the love they turned away from or the friendships they let go. Don't let that happen to you - make that call today!
3. Set positive goals!
A new year is often a time for resolutions - setting goals and making plans for the year ahead that are going to help make it a great success. But all too often those resolutions fall by the wayside. Why is that? One of the most common failings is to focus on negative goals that are draining and miserable, usually involving giving things up or stopping doing something that we otherwise enjoy. In contrast, goals that work are almost always positive: becoming fitter or healthier, being more friendly and outgoing, or achieving a target in your studies or at work. Reaching that target might involve stopping doing something, but that shouldn't be the main focus. And when the target is positive, you are much less tempted to give up and say it's hopeless, just because you slip up once or twice along the way.
4. Take time for visualisation
Another reason why goals and resolutions fail is because we often spend too much of our time thinking about how hard the goal is and not enough time reminding ourselves why we set that target in the first place. A great way to keep yourself on track is to regularely visualise how much better your life will be when you achieve your goal; for example how good you are going to feel about yourself when you complete that project, master that new skill, or drop that dress size! Visualisation has another benefit too: It primes your sub-conscious mind to look out for opportunities that will help you meet your goal: opportunities that you might otherwise miss.
5. Feel gratitude (and say "thank you" more often!)
It is a truism that happy people often think about the good things they already have in their lives whilst unhappy people focus on the things they don't have. Have you ever seen a video clip of someone who has had their sight or hearing restored for the first time? If we wanted to, we could all be more like them and wake up every morning feeling grateful for our five senses, the people who love us and the nice house we live in with all that incredible technology. Instead, it can be all too easy to wake up thinking about the person who is annoying us or a challenge that we are currently facing. But unless we change our perspective how can we be sure that we'll feel good about anything new, if we are not already grateful for the many blessings we already have.
6. Be bold!
Finally, you know that thing you've always wanted to do? Well here's something you already know deep down: 2017 will never be your best year yet unless it includes that!
How coaching can help
Coaching is a forward looking process that involves helping you draw up an action plan that can literally transform your life if you follow through on your own choices and decisions. Coaching is also a great way to find out more about yourself, to identify your true values so that you can be as authentic as possible, and then set some ambitious but achievable goals that will help you truly make 2017 your best year yet!