Every New Year we are bombarded by articles on our social media feeds, on the TV, in print media, telling us to make a fresh start, create new goals, be happier, lose weight, change what we do etc. etc…. For some people this reboot works well and gives focus; but let’s face it, most of us don’t get past the first week.
For those of you who do want to set new goals or create change, check out the great Habit Quiz by Gretchen Rubin to see how you form habits which may help you get to your goal.
For those of you who have no truck with that kind of thing, instead of setting goals or challenges I invite you to adopt a new mindset for 2017 instead.
Many of us live our lives blaming other people for what happens to us.
- The alarm didn’t go off, so I slept in
- The traffic was rubbish so I was late for work
- My boss really annoyed me so I’m in a bad mood, which is why I shouted at you.
Always someone else’s fault. But the reality is, the world isn’t out to get us. Everything that happens is a result of something that we have done: we didn’t set the alarm (it’s inanimate for god’s sake!), we left late and got caught in rush hour and we shouted because we were being selfish and didn’t think.
Sure, events happen; we can’t change them and sometimes they are rubbish, but we can change how we react to them.
The author Jack Canfield came up with the formula:
EVENTS + REACTION = OUTCOME
He said: “The basic idea is that every outcome you experience in life (whether it’s success or failure, wealth or poverty, wellness or illness, intimacy or estrangement, joy or frustration) is the result of how you have responded to an earlier event in your life. Likewise, if you want to change the results you get in the future, you must change how you respond to events in your life.”
I apply this formula often, for myself and my clients, and even my friends. One friend was having a dreadful time at work with their line manager. Every time we spoke they were angry at their line manager for having a go at them and they constantly rowed; this went on for months. Eventually I explained this concept to my friend. My advice was dismissed and the moaning kept happening. Then gradually I stopped hearing about the line manager. So, I asked how things were, to be told – “oh, I did what you said, I stopped reacting, and after a couple of weeks they became a lot calmer, stopped shouting and we get on fine now. She’s quite nice really”. They “got on” for another 2 years!
Thinking positively and choosing how we respond can really impact how we see the world and how we feel about our lives. It can positively impact our relationships, it can make us happier, less grumpy and help us gain perspective on what we can control, influence and indeed change.
So, this year I invite you to respond rather than react to events, to see things from the other person’s point of view and to focus on things that have gone well rather than gone badly. Look at what is going on around you, think about what could happen if you decided to respond differently rather than how you would normally react, and this year choose what you will do, and take responsibility for events.
This year can be whatever you want it to be, if you choose to make it happen!