I don’t know how you felt but this January I struggled to get back into my groove. That whole feeling of New Year, new start seemed to pass me by unlike prior years when I have relished the thought about what goals I want to set myself, new experiences I’m going to try. I’m not sure if it had something to do with the fact that we were all back to work on the 2nd unlike the last few years when it’s been the 4th or whether it was because I actually took a decent amount of time off, all 9 days and actually really chilled! Whatever it was I found myself on New Year’s days starting to fall into the negative spiral. I knew that drastic action was needed and I booked a coaching session with myself!
When I started to think about why I was feeling negative it centred around two things. Firstly I was focusing on all the things I felt were missing from my life and secondly I was falling into the trap of making comparisons with friends, families and colleagues. Now the rational side of me knows that a lot of these things I felt were missing are within my reach or really aren’t important. And that when I was making comparisons with others I am only considering one aspect of their life but it didn’t stop me feeling crap. It was time to stage my own intervention! I needed to take control of my negative mindset.
On January 1st, nursing my New Year’s Eve hangover I sat down with my shiny new notebook and made the commitment to STOP being a negative Nellie! I needed to focus on what I did have not what I didn’t, that meant taking time to acknowledge the positive things and the success that I had achieved during the past twelve months. To consider the wonderful people I have around me and how they had helped me in 2017. If you focus on what you don’t have rather than what you do have you will always be left feeling unfilled and a failure.
I found my mood starting to lift and as a result, I decide to carry out an experiment for the month of January. Each day in my shiny new notebook I would list three things I was grateful. Now, these could be big or small simple things like clean sheets and homemade peanut cookies! They could be personal or career-related. The only criteria was that it had to be something I appreciated. I also wanted to understand how this made me feel so I could monitor the impact it was having on me and whether it was adding value.
As we moved through January each night I would reflect on the day and sometimes I would find an abundance of things to be grateful for other days it would be harder but I always came up with my three. By January 3rd, my mindset was in improving and by the end of the first week of January I had noticed I was sleeping better, getting back into a routine would have helped but also I believe that by completing this exercise each night before I went to bed it helped remove anxious thoughts that had previously kept me awake. As I moved into the second week I started to become more confident that I would achieve my personal and career goals. There were times when I would find myself slipping back into a negative mood and so I would intentionally shift my focus and start to think about what would be on my list later that day. I also would frequently look back at my list and I found that these two things would help get me back on track.
So did it help? It's a resounding YES! This is a simple exercise that takes less than 5 minutes to do, you can think about it while driving, cooking dinner or in the shower! To make a real difference though you need to stick with it. As for me, well I am carrying on and I’m adding two additional pieces to it but more on that to follow!
If you are facing a challenge and need help moving forward then a personal coach could be exactly what you need. To find out more about coaching and how it can help you visit www.positivedimensions.co.uk