5 Actions That Could Make Your Life Better in the New Year: Stop Delaying and Start Living the Life You Want Now!
Rev. Dr. Kitty Boitnott, NBCT, RScP
Heart-Centered Career Transition and Job Search Coach | Life Strategies and Stress Management Coach
We welcomed in 2019 last week, and I hope your New Year has gotten off to a great start.
This time of year is the time when many people set new intentions, make new resolutions, or chart new goals for the new year. It is also a great time to reflect on what we want to drop and consider what we want to start doing more of moving forward.
Unfortunately, sometimes making changes in our lives--even the ones we want to make--can seem like we're undertaking an uphill battle.
When we undertake something new or challenging, it can feel like we're going against the grain. It can feel hard, and we may be tempted to give up if we don't see progress right away. Especially in this day and age, we are into instant gratification. We want things to happen quickly and easily without a lot of effort on our part. The trouble is that most things that we want in our lives require a fair bit of effort and a time commitment--at least to some degree.
You may be tempted to give up if things seem to be working more against your success than for your success.
What if the real problem is that you are biting off more than you can chew all at once? Maybe scaling back your aspirations a bit would help you feel more successful in the short term.
Remember, the adage, "Rome wasn't built in a day?" You can't--and should not try to--lose 30 pounds in 30 days. It takes time. And changing habits can be hard, no matter how committed you feel you are.
When I quit smoking almost 32 years ago, I didn't trust myself for a full year before I considered myself a successful "non-smoker."
Change--especially significant changes like that--can take time.
The good news is that there are many relatively small things that you can do to improve your life.
You can change your outlook, improve your health, and make your life better overall with relatively minor changes.
This post lists five possibilities of changes you might want to consider. Granted, some of them take a commitment of effort and time, but I invite you to try out a few of these and see if that uphill battle doesn’t get a little easier.
Join A Social Group
This social group could be a club, a sports team, or a group of friends that goes out for drinks once a month. The important thing is making and having friends.
If you are new in town, you may need to put yourself out there a bit in your effort. I am a fan of Toastmasters for finding a social group with a purpose. I guarantee there is a Toastmasters Club near you, so check them out.
I also like Meetup.com for finding groups of people who have similar interests and can provide opportunities for forming new friends. Check it out.
Having a social network improves our self-esteem.
It gives you a group of people who can help you deal with things like stress or grief. Having an active social group even improves the immune system!
All these things also have secondary benefits. There are many benefits to having a social network. For example, people who are part of an active community are more likely to maintain a healthy weight. Keeping a healthy weight translates to living a longer, healthier life in general.
Find a Spiritual Faith
Experts have long understood that engaging in a religious faith helps people in many ways. It gives us a sense of purpose. It makes us feel like we’re part of something larger than ourselves. It encourages us to be understanding, forgiving and generous. It makes our lives better, and it makes us better people.
Some may argue for their particular denomination over another. But in the end, most religions share basic tenets. Which faith you choose to follow is less important than if you select something in which you can believe.
If you feel skeptical about traditional religion, seek out a non-denominational congregation. I am a particular fan of Science of Mind since I am a Licensed Science of Mind Minister. But I am an official member of one of two local Unity congregations in my area. The two denominations are very similar in their core tenets and principles of belief.
All churches fundamentally teach the importance of Love being at the core of everything. Keeping that core principle in mind can help improve your life and your outlook overall.
Learn A New Language
Learning a new language--or brushing up on a language you learned in your youth--like Spanish, French, German, or even Chinese can be practical for business purposes depending on what you do. But given the growing diversity of the country, you may be able to use a new language while walking around the corner! I have neighbors for whom English is a second language, and I wish I had retained more of the five years of Spanish that I took. But alas, I remember little.
Learning any new language comes with many benefits. It keeps you sharp, and the brain stays engaged with new learning. It can help you to learn and remember other things in addition to the language. And it can help you to see things from new perspectives.
Where do you go to learn a new language? Some universities may let you audit their foreign language classes. Community centers may have a foreign language class that is open to the public.
You may be able to find books on learning new languages at bookstores or thrift shops near you. Or you might download any number of free or inexpensive apps that are available. You can learn another language on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer.
If you hate your job and your company, you can read this as “quit your job and start over,” but you don’t have to. If you worked hard to get where you are and you like the work that you do, consider a lateral job change in your own company.
See if you can work in a different department for a bit, even if it’s filling a position while someone is on vacation. Or you might fill in while management is looking for someone to fill an open spot permanently.
Changing jobs provides a nice change of pace. It helps you to understand your abilities and versatility. And it helps you to understand what the world looks like from someone else’s office.
Go [Back] To College
You don't have to go for a 4-year degree. Go for professional development opportunities.
College is a unique experience. You will get to meet new people there. Perhaps more importantly, you will meet people who are dedicated to life-long learning. Meeting them and talking with them will encourage you to look at new ideas in new ways.
Even if you’ve already been to college, you might find that the experience is different when you are an adult. Just auditing a class may have a tremendous benefit for you.
I warned you.
Some of the things listed here might require a fairly big commitment. Other items on the list, though, are things that you could do relatively easily and it wouldn't take a long period of time. Moreover, none of these suggestions will cause you to incur a financial burden while exploring them.
If you are looking to change things up a bit in your life, give this list some thought. Hopefully, you’ll notice yourself feeling better about yourself, and you will feel less like you are in a rut.
Until next time.
If you have decided that this is the year you want to change your job, let me help. Sign up for a 20-minute complimentary Discovery Session to talk about how you might make the change you want. Click here to make the appointment: http://kittyboitnott.coachesconsole.com/calendar.
And if you have decided that this is the year to get a handle on your stress once and for all, take a look at my "Stress Management for Teachers Program." It is a 7-part program designed to help you manage your stress and the rest of the school year with greater ease.