We’re just getting out of the Christmas haze as I write this. It won’t be long before the whole “New Year, New You” hype around fitness, and life in general, begins. Take a deep breath, this is not going to be one of those blogs about how to change your life and become the awesomest human being there ever was in 2017.
I certainly do not consider myself to be a perfect human nor do I claim to “have it all figured out”. In my work as a pole dance instructor, business owner, performing artist and business success coach I sure have read a lot and thought a lot (sometimes too much), and I wanted to share some takeaways from the past 12 months with you all. While this blog might contain stuff that you already know, but may have forgotten, and it will probably not change your life, there is an awesome reading list at the bottom of some books that may just do that…
At the risk of descending into a rant, I want to share that one of the things that has really dragged me down this year is seeing a lot of blame and hostility towards 2016. Every time I use social media I’m hit with at least one video / post / image to the effect of “F*** 2016” (many of these posted loooong before the end of 2016 was even in sight).
While these posts may lure you into thinking that they’re helping you to either release some stress or have a laugh about the not-so-great things that are happening in the world, all they are doing is encouraging you to practice a fixed mindset and spread more negativity. What you are really saying when you post or share these “F*** 2016” messages is “I too am blaming ‘the universe’ or some other mystical or external force for all the things that suck in my life / the world. I give up on making an effort to make the world a better place”. I know that sounds harsh, (don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that you do not have a right to be angry or upset about the things that do suck!). What I am saying is that we can all make a decision to be either reactive or proactive about our every day level of happiness, and making the world that YOU live in a little bit better. Sharing these kinds of posts and articles does not make the world a better place, it just adds to the noise of mediocrity and negativity that is rife on social media.
For many of us we can’t simply ‘choose’ to be happy, as if it’s as easy flicking a switch and suddenly the whole world is fixed with bubbles, rainbows and pure joy. Whilst I am no mental health expert, I have found that ‘practicing’ happiness through small daily actions has helped massively…
Small Daily Actions
This is something you can start at ANY time, not just the start of a New Year!
Instead of vowing to change everything about yourself this coming year, try this exercise instead. Ask yourself, what 3-5 simple things you could do everyday to improve your levels of happiness or your life? Make a brain dump and get it all down on paper! I suggest breaking this down into categories as applicable, for example: personal development, relationships, career, health/fitness, finances, etc. These could include things like:
- Meditate 25 mins per day (did you know that 20-25 mins of meditation daily can massively improve your emotional health?)
- Read 10 pages of a good book daily (more about this below)
- Foam roll every day for 10 minutes
- Keep a daily journal of 3 things to be grateful / thankful for
- Listen to 1 podcast per week that will help to improve knowledge / upskill in regards to your career
- Limit social media browsing to 30 mins per day
The key here is making the actions specific, measurable attainable and realistic; if you’ve heard of ‘smart’ goals then you’ll notice that I’ve more or less used this on the examples above. Now comes the implementation or making things ‘time bound’.
Next, block off 30 minutes a day on your calendar to make space in your life for the above actions. I’d like you to focus on ONE thing at a time. With this list of ways to improve your life, pick just one item per day and focus on making this a habit. Generaly speaking, forming a habit takes up to 30 days; there’s no hard and fast rule on this. You’ll know it’s a habit when it feels easy or you don’t need to remind yourself to do it each day.
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t always manage to practice one of your daily actions each and every day! Small steps are important and will have a massive cumulative effect over the course of the coming year, aim to be as consistent as possible and you will feel the difference!
As a bonus step, why not enrol the help of a friend, family member or partner in helping you stay accountable to your daily actions? Having someone support you will make staying on track a lot easier.
Read More Books
This has been a biggie for me. I’ve always been an avid reader, of usually sci-fi and fiction books. Since I’ve included more ‘grown up’ books into my daily reading, I’ve been able to improve my mindset, attitude and world view; I now see reading time as personal development time rather than an excuse to ‘mentally check out’. Of course I still enjoy a good fictional book and reading for the enjoyment of it; it’s all about getting the balance between learning something new and fun!
Here’s a list of some of my favourite books that I recommend you start off with! If you’re not into reading, you can also get them on audiobook 😉
- ‘The Slight Edge’ Jeff Olsen
- ‘Mindset’ Carol Dweck
- ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ Stephen R. Covey
- ‘The One Thing’ Gary Keller
- ‘Persuadable’ Al Pittampalli
There’s a bunch of other great books not on this list that I’ve read this year, more so about business and leadership. If you’re interested for more of my reading recommendations (or if you have some amazing personal development books that have helped you shift gears and you think should be on the list above), just shoot me a message on Facebook!
Have I changed your life yet?
Probably not. As I said above, I’m not claiming that reading the above books or following a small daily action to improve your life will make you into the most awesomest person who ever walked the face of planet earth, but then again, if all you chose to do is take a small step to improve a little every day and make your own part of the world a better place to live in, then that in itself is the awesomest thing that you can do.
May 2017 be your best year yet!