Read the one about making resolutions for business success? Of course you did, it’s been our most popular blog of the year! Ok, it’s been our only blog of the year to date, but bear with! Two weeks into 2018, there’s a good chance your will’s on the wane, whether the targets you set were business or personal. But there’s still plenty of time to get back on track and find your happy in 2018 – and here’s how!
January 15 is Blue Monday, said to be the gloomiest day of the year as the post-Christmas blues, credit card bills, long winter evenings and failed resolutions collide. Wellbeing expert Lynette Evans, who runs The Listening Helper counselling service across south Wales, believes that the search for happiness is at the root of many resolutions – and that the new year is far from the best time to make them in the first place!
“People naturally just want to be happy, but happiness is an inside job,” says Lynette, who works with clients to make positive changes around issues such as anxiety and depression, coping with bereavement and overcoming phobias. “Whether it’s losing weight, giving up smoking or sticking to an exercise routine, it has to come from within. The good news is that change is achievable – but you have to question why you’re making the resolution to begin with.
“A successful resolution is something that adds to your life, not something that takes from it. If your resolution is about giving something up, flip it on its head and concentrate on what you will gain in your life by sticking to it – it’s far more motivational. It can also help to think in terms of ‘goals’ rather than resolutions; the idea of resolutions can be weighted with too much expectation, whereas goals are achievable.”
Lynette advises her clients to ask themselves whether they really want to achieve a goal or have set it because they think they should or are under pressure from others. “Goals are positive to make but they can sometimes be unrealistic if they come from guilt or low self-esteem,” she says. “We may struggle to complete them if they are not actually adding to our lives or happiness.”
Lynette is a big believer that goals are best set at a time that suits the individual – which, often, is not January! “As Blue Monday suggests, we’re dealing with the post-Christmas blues, empty bank accounts and a lack of sunlight,” she says. “Choose a point in the year that has positive connotations for you and spend January planning how you’re going to tackle your goal when the time arrives.”
Lynette’s tips for goal success include:
- Setting specific goals. Instead of saying: ‘I’ll exercise more’, set a realistic goal, such as walking 3,000 steps a day. When you achieve it, you’ll feel positive and encouraged to do it again the next day. If on one of the days you simply walk 1,000 steps, pat yourself on the back and ask yourself what you’ve learnt in order to do better tomorrow
- Share your goals with close friends and family, as they’ll encourage you when things are tough and celebrate your achievements. But don’t tell everyone you know or make announcements on social media, as this can lead to pressure and, in turn, negative feelings about your goals
- Don’t think big – set yourself some small lifestyle changes. We know that regular exercise can improve mood, reduce the risk of depression and aid weight loss, but don’t sign up for the half-marathon just yet. Begin with a 15-minute daily walk in the fresh air and build up in five-minute increments
As well as working with individual clients, Lynette works with corporate teams to reduce stress and absenteeism and increase wellbeing in the workplace. To find out more visit www.thelisteninghelper.co.uk.