The year is ending and everything seems to be drawing to a close. It’s that time of the year once again. It’s time to start looking toward the future, setting goals, and planning out what 2016 is going to be for each one of us.
New Year is almost synonymous with the resolutions that come with it, in which we all make promises to do an act of self-improvement, beginning from New Year’s Day and hoping to continue them through the remaining 364 days to follow! The concept, regardless of creed, is to reflect upon self-improvement annually.
Indeed, my own New Year’s resolution has been to stop measuring my days by what I have achieved in a day/week/month and instead, enjoy living life in those everyday experiences. This does not mean that my ‘to-do’ list goes flying out of the window. Instead, I intend to draw other important things back into my life, as it used to be in the past, before work, marriage and motherhood took over and I had begun to measure out my life by the number of ticks in my to-do lists!
The groundwork for this change already took place this year, as I made some key changes to my life with the idea to sustain these over a period of time.
In 2015, my blog appeared, which opened up a whole new world for me, at a time when I had faced a number of physical setbacks and was grappling with the after-effects of a surgery that left me in pain for months. Fortunately, things improved and I was able to appreciate the joys of having a regular, normal working day. But the School of Hard Knocks had taught me that this life is all I have and I must live it to the fullest.
With this in mind, I intend to make 2016 a little special for myself. This means more of sketching and reading, definitely joining a pottery class, going for treks again (yes, we used to avid trekkers, once upon a time!) taking more impromptu short weekend trips, spending more time as a family (which includes getting J to keep aside his gadgets and work, every once in a while, to join us), watching films, sharing experiences and discussing books with J as we used to do not so long back, enjoying the moments as they come by and stop being anxious about all those things which are beyond my control.This year I am also very keen to volunteer by joining a charity organization and I am already speaking to a few of them to see how we can work together.
And, even as I make these plans, I am aware that people make umpteen resolutions around this time every year that are related to health, happiness, physical fitness, financial wellbeing, improved relationships, social networking, travels and the likes. What is the end goal that any resolution hopes to achieve?
Everybody wants to be happy.
Whether it’s eating better, making new friends, saving money, travelling more often, or anything else, the driver behind any resolution is personal growth and increased happiness in life.
Interestingly, the Gross National Happiness (GNH) commissioned by the King of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuk identified nine variables that are largely responsible for a person’s happiness: psychological well-being, health, education, culture, good governance, community, ecological diversity, living standards, and use of time.
But, as we have asked ourselves countless times before, if the road to happiness has been revealed, then why does it still seem so hard to attain? Why do so many of us keep making the same resolutions year after year without reaching the end goal we’re looking for?
The truth of the matter is – Change is difficult and as we get swept away by the sheer enthusiasm to turn our life around a full 360 degrees, we fail to keep our goals small, manageable and achievable. A little change but one that is consistently followed through, has the potential to last over a longer period of time and the most critical factor, therefore, is in sustaining those changes and making them a part of our life. If we do so, success is guaranteed and happiness follows.
One very interesting book that deals with this issue at length, is The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin, one of New York Times’s best-selling authors, who set out on a year-long quest for improved happiness. Her study identified 12 unique variables (in this case, her unique personal happiness indicators), similar to those discovered in the GNH study, that would provide her with a happier life and she dedicated one month to work on each of these variables.
Amongst many other things (which will be the subject of another post in the near future!) the study revealed that focussing on small ‘wins‘ such as cleaning one’s closet or organising paperwork or even de-cluttering the house produced a large cumulative effect over time that would make her life feel lighter and happier, leading to greater happiness! Her book has been a raging success and the Happiness Project became synonymous with a movement that saw numerous Happiness project groups spring up all across the world. Perhaps, because this quest for happiness is very relevant to the times we live in, where money can buy us almost everything we could wish for, except happiness – that most elusive thing in the world!
My takeaway from Rubin’s book is this: I will need to prioritise my wish list and pick only a few of them, break these down into small achievable goals that are also time-bound (using my bullet journal these days has hugely helped me do this!) and allocate a chunk of time to focus on each of these goals to be able to keep to my resolutions. It sounds like a challenge to me and one that I am also looking forward to, in the coming year. Something tells me it will be worth the effort!
What is critical to the success of our resolutions is thus, to identify our personal happiness indicators and then start taking small steps towards improving those areas. What works for me will not necessarily work for you. We need time and effort to make this work. This will help create our own individual roadmap for happiness!
I have just shared mine. What are your plans for the coming year? Any resolutions for 2016? Are you good at sticking by them? It would be wonderful to hear your experiences as I’m sure we can all relate to it one way or the other.
I leave you with a famous quote by Neil Gaiman:
I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.
The Write Tribe website might be down for a short while as Corinne makes some changes to it, hence the #MondayMusings post will not be hosted on Write Tribe for a couple of weeks.
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