I wanted to share with you a great habit that I was taught to carry out at the turn of the year, and which has served me well .. which is reflecting on what happened in the past year and how I handled it.
I love the quiet time in between Christmas and New Year and I made a commitment to myself a while ago to take this time for myself, for quiet enjoyment of the season, the weather, and taking a look back over the past twelve months.
Life has a habit of throwing the unexpected in our way (thanks 2020!), however well we plot and plan our lives, and often I’ll be surprised at the things that happened that I could never have predicted the year before. Sometimes these are wonderful and sometimes less so: in examining how I responded I find clues to who I am and how I’m showing up in my life and others’
So maybe you’d like to join me. Carve out a little space for yourself in the next few days to ask these questions:
What happened in this past year that I could never have predicted?
How did I respond? Was that helpful to me and those around me?
Who was important to me in the past year?
What one thing would I have liked to be different?
What would I like to do differently in this coming year?
I’d love to hear your thoughts .. do you have any other questions you’ve found useful?
After a while together it’s easy to assume the people we know also know everything about you, but stop a minute and think about that ..in reality you go out and learn new stuff every day, you’re constantly changing and growing and there’s no way others can keep up with all those new bits of you ..
So share something that others don’t know about you today .. we’ve all been forced to change in lots of ways in 2020 .. maybe you took up running this year, or learned to crochet Star Wars characters ..
Sometimes it’s tempting to take the good things for granted and only focus on the things people do wrong .. we can have long conversations with our friends and family about the difficulties they’re having.
How about taking some time to high five someone you know for something they do or have been doing really well .. this year maybe more than any other we could all do with a reminder of the efforts we’ve been putting in.
Nothing is more meaningful than when we take the time to find the right image to go with a message, so today think about finding a great gif or photo to show someone you care about how you feel. You could even draw, craft or paint something.
Words mean a lot to some people and less to others.
If words are important to someone you know why not write them a note to let them know how you feel .. or if you have writer’s block pop into a card shop and find the perfect message.
I’ve decided to take a little more time over my Xmas cards this year, to make my words a bit more personal and to the extra time to think about and appreciate how my relationships have sustained me over the past year.
The number one thing that shifts things for people I work with is when they start communicating differently with those around them. Sometimes that’s finding ways to say something difficult in a sightly different way, and often it’s about recognising and taking ownership of our part in an interaction.
Research shows that 5 positive interactions to every 1 more difficult interaction serve to strengthen relationships and make disagreements easier to manage.
So get into good habits .. Tell those around you what they did to make you happy today, whether that’s a ‘good work today’ to staff or a ‘thanks for that yummy meal’ to a family member or waiter.
Maybe you text your friends, colleagues and family all the time, but how many of those messages are about your relationship. Using all the opportunities to communicate our appreciation is vital in order to stay connected in the face of the challenges that we face each day.
Text someone to let them know you appreciate the relationship, even if it’s just from the shed or the office next door!
It’s lovely to hear something nice about ourselves .. and how much nicer when it’s coming from someone we love. Find a reason to compliment someone in your life today, whether it’s how they look, what they do or how they do it.
Sharing gratitude is so important in our relationships and it’s such a shame that it so often gets lost in the busyness of our everyday lives. Stop and think how you might feel if someone thanked you for something you do every day at work for example .. now .. does it feel good?
Your challenge is to give someone in your life the gift of gratitude today .. Thank them for something they do for you today, or simply for being who they are.
Notice the difference that one small action makes, and consider making gratitude a bigger part of your relationships.