I am one of those people who just loves the end of the year. It is as if I started the year looking forward to the year ending. There is something unique about end of the year. It signifies to me:
- Conclusion of another milestone. Like in a race, we run or compete for the prize, to cross the finish line. End of the year is like that. It is the finishing line for the year. At the conclusion of the race, there is a time of reflection, resolution and reward.
- Point of Reference: It provides me with a point of reference in terms of goals, achievements and perspectives. This year, I started a couple of new endeavours. Firstly, I started a coaching practice and secondly this blog. I have always wanted to do them but never did until this year. Therefore, my points of reference are the level of achievements on those two fronts for me to build upon in the coming year.
- Anchor point for gratitude. A great time to reflect and to be thankful and grateful for the year. To remember and reflect areas of life that are grateful points. These points should provide an anchor point for the new year. To appreciate the many blessings, big and small will help in ensuring that I don’t take anything for granted. It helps to raise the level of awareness for the people around you.
- There is no bad year just a developmental year. I am constantly reminded that in any situation and circumstances, it is the hard and tough times that shapes and molds us the most. It is the sharpening of the saw that hurts the most. However, it produces the growth in our character, attitudes and knowledge that can only come from those moments. There are many times when I have come out the other end of tough times, and when I look back, I would think, that wasn’t so bad, I survived. That’s what experience and perspectives provides. A change in my approach and attitude towards challenges.
- Celebration. The celebration at the end of the year is always the best. Whether it’s the festivities of Christmas or just the time of the year to celebrate the fact that the year is over. Celebration is an important part of our lives. Go and celebrate and enjoy the time with family and friends.
Enjoy the end of the year.
PS – I am a firm believer of setting goals for your life. The goals don’t have to be audacious, just goals that would challenge you. Without setting goals, the end of the year could be rather aimless. How would you know what you have achieved if you did not set a goal? What is your point of reference if there was not any to begin with? It is never too late. There are 7 more days before the end of the year, set some now and get moving. It will make you end the year feeling that you have accomplished something.
One of the many attributes that will help you live a happy life is the art of being grateful. Grateful is about being thankful and appreciative of someone or something. To be grateful requires a mindful conscious act for most of us. It is being tuned in to people and circumstances that you can be thankful for. Most people don’t even think twice about an act of kindness that was shown or an assistance that was rendered. Most people certainly won’t remember what kind deed was done not because they are ungrateful but because we don’t stop and reflect.
5 Ways to start your journey to being a grateful person:
- Start with writing it down: The process of writing it down requires you to take time to reflect and focus on areas to be grateful for. Write it down, every thing, no matter small or simple. For example, good health, able to walk and run, able to have a job that you enjoy, able to help someone etc. Don’t overlook the trivial matters. Good health is something to be grateful for. If you don’t have good health, quality of life generally suffers. So start with what you have taken for granted. The goal is that over time and with practice, the process will become just another natural extension of your character.
- Take time to show your appreciation: When someone helps you out in some area, take the time to show your appreciation. Show that you are grateful for an act of service or kindness. I am sure that the person will appreciate it. A simple thank you will suffice and ensure that you look at the person while saying it vs. distractingly saying it. Mean it.
- How can you pay forward?: Being a grateful person isn’t just about feeling grateful for all the good things that you have received, but it is truly about, how can you share that with others? Who can you pay forward to? Random act of kindness. We receive blessings so that we can share that blessings with others. Blessings are not meant to be kept, stored and tucked away.
- Don’t take anyone or anything for granted: It is so easy to take those closest to us for granted. We just don’t “see” them anyone or even consider their situation. To be grateful, requires that we don’t take our eyes off the people we love just because we are now seeing everyone around us. Treasure those closest first and the rest will fall into place.
- Release comparison: One of the negative effects of comparing with others, is the birth of envy and death to gratefulness. The Jones’s effect leads to discontent, jealousy, slander and never ending obsession for more. The key to releasing comparison is to be comfortable and contented with who you are, what you have and not have. To do that, you need to be grateful. I have come to learn to that having enough is the best balance. For example, you can only wear one watch at a time, drive one car at a time, eat only as much as what your stomach can take in, drink just enough wine before it does damage etc. To try and have more does not add to your level of peace or contentment. In fact in today stressful world, to have the right balance of stress is important. Enough stress to drive you to perform better but not too much that will give you hypertension.
Being grateful is a conscious thought process until it becomes your character. As it is a conscious thought process, every one is able to start learning and eventually become a grateful person.
- Would you describe yourself as a grateful person?
- What are you grateful for?
- How have I shared my life with others?
- If your family or friends were to describe you, what would they say?
There is a certain level of peace and contentment when we meet a person who demonstrates gratefulness. Who doesn’t want to live a happy life filled with peace and contentment? What is stopping you today?
We all need a cheer squad to help us push forward. In tough circumstances having a cheer squad is important. To know that you have people supporting and encouraging you gives you the added courage to take risk, to make a change as well as to continue on a path that you have chosen. Depending on others to help you on is great and to know how you can be your own cheerleader is even better. When you are your own cheerleader, you know how to pick yourself up, know what deeply motivates and drives you and most importantly you are not easily distracted by others.
As good as the people around you may be, there will be times when they might disagree with you, disagree with your approach or not fully understand why you are doing what you are doing. Hence in order to stay the course that you have decided on, you need to be your own cheerleader.
I have discovered that there are 5 ways that you can do that:
- Source of Motivation: What motivates you? What are you passionate about? What are the drivers for this course of action? List them down. Be simple and clear. Make the list visible. Put it up on your fridge or by your mirror. Remind yourself.
- Past Lessons or experiences gained: Recall what were the past lessons and experiences that you had gone through. What did you learn? How did you overcome? What did you gain from going through the previous tough times? Reflecting on what happened in the past and how you succeed will help you to gain the confidence and courage that you need when you are faced with tough challenges.
- Be positive or Don’t beat yourself up: When the situation is tough, don’t beat yourself up. Don’t pull down who you are but challenge your actions. Actions and decisions can be changed, modified and problems can be solved. Know who you are and what you are good at. Ask yourself, what are my strengths? List them down. List down positive quotes and motivation quotes that resonates with you. Listen to music that inspires you. Reminding yourself of your strengths will give you the encouragement that you can do it. You have the skills, abilities and talents to achieve your goal. There are times when the actions that we have taken needs to be corrected or ideas need to be innovated. Make the adjustments. Don’t hold on to process or steps as there are many ways to achieve the same outcome. Don’t confuse the outcome with the methods. Just make sure that you are not doubting who you are in the process.
- Reward yourself: It is always fun when you achieve a certain milestone. Learn to reward yourself for it. The milestone can be whatever you deem right. The reward should be equivalent to the task. The idea of rewarding yourself is so that you can celebrate the achievement. Acknowledge that you have made it this far. To know just how much or little more you have to do to accomplish your goal.
- Celebrate: Don’t be shy to celebrate an accomplishment. That’s what a cheer squad does, it celebrates accomplishments. Celebrate and share the moment with others. It not only feels great, it will also motivate those around you.
I believe that each of us need to be our own cheerleader as that’s the only “person” that is with you all the time. The responsibility is in your hands. Cheer squad is great to help support you but they can’t do what you need to do. Your actions are in your hands.