Does this sound familiar?….once I lose 15 pounds, I’ll be happy, or once I get a new job, or a new relationship, I’ll finally be happy? I think it’s human nature to think that there is a goal that we need to reach before we can allow ourselves to be truly happy. The issue with that is if we are constantly growing, there is always a new goal to reach. So that way of thinking is an endless cycle and we’re constantly postponing our happiness. That doesn’t sound like a fun way to live.
In his book The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor suggests that success does not lead to happiness. Rather, happiness leads to success. Think about that for a moment, doesn’t that feel empowering and inspiring? Imagine if you become more focused on seeking happiness, and then see those out-of-reach goals become more easily attainable. I love that formula. That led me to think about how I can personally be more intentional every day about embracing happiness. In his book, Achor outlines several principles that he believes will help us overcome obstacles, reverse bad habits, become more efficient and productive, make the most of opportunities, conquer our most ambitious goals, and fulfill our potential.
I recognized that I have been utilizing several of his strategies like meditation, affirmations, movement, and humor just to name a few. Achor also suggested strategies that I was not as consciously tapping into such as planning something to look forward to, conscious acts of kindness, and exercising a signature strength. The book does a great job of explaining how the strategies impact our brains and ultimately enhance our productivity, creativity, and achievement. The principles in this book reinforce topics that many of our Wholistic Woman Retreats + Academy coaches have shared with our members this year. It’s based on research from the positive psychology field, neuroscience, and Achor, a former Harvard lecturer and researcher who has appeared on one of my favorite shows, Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday series.
On Wednesday evening, July 28, we’ll have a virtual book club meeting to discuss Achor’s book, The Happiness Advantage. I hope to see you there, and hear how it has impacted you!
There is so much to love about this time of year. One of my favorite things to do in December is to reflect on the past year and begin anticipating the months ahead. Goal-setting is my jam, but if I’m honest, I easily lose momentum when it comes to resolutions. In hindsight, I’m grateful I didn’t put pressure on myself back in January 2020. Who could have known what a crazy year we’d all face?
While this certainly wasn’t the year anyone expected and we’ve all had to make adjustments, I can still say I learned a lot. Here’s what stands out as I reflect on 2020 and look ahead to 2021:
What I Will Keep
I’m grateful to say that despite the chaos in the world around us, my personal mental health blossomed this year. I chose to take a few months off of work, slowly re-built my hours, and now work a part-time job that brings me enjoyment and involves little stress. I learned to be gentle with myself, letting go of the pressure to live a life that looks like everyone else’s and instead embrace what works best for my family.
I also took on new hobbies: how to garden, how to cross-stitch, and how to paint with gouache (okay, I’m still learning that one). I became more flexible, a necessary skill to survive this year! And best of all, through a therapy session and much prayer and reflection, I learned to accept and appreciate my spouse instead of focusing on what could be different.
What I Will Leave Behind
I’m grateful for the opportunities to leave some things behind and start fresh in 2021. If you’re like me, you felt the pull of the news and social media more than ever this year. The pressure to be connected at all times has worn me out and threatens to dismantle the inner peace I’ve worked hard to protect.
I also want to leave behind the negativity and temptation to complain that has seemed inescapable. I imagine it will be some time before our lives all go back to “normal” (or whatever our new normal will be). Acknowledging the grief caused by the pandemic is necessary and valuable. We are allowed to mourn the many losses we’ve experienced. But as much as I can, I want to move forward with thankfulness for what I have. That leads me to my goals for 2021!
New Goals for the New Year
In 2021, I want to continue prioritizing health, self-growth, and gratitude. I want to hike with my daughter (I just purchased hiking boots for both of us), do another stitching project (also purchased), and go on a writing retreat, among many other things. I am trying something new and starting my goals this month so that I will hopefully have already created new habits before the New Year hits.
What good from this year will you carry with you into 2021? What will you leave behind? We’d love to know!