What makes you HAPPY? For 2017, I have chosen this word as my “word of the year” (last year’s was FOCUS if you’re interested). I intend for it to help me let go of the trivial things that can bring me down, appreciate all the great things I have in my life, and consider whether the choices I’m making will ultimately make me happy.
A couple of years ago, I used the BELIEVE journal to track my fitness goals for the year which I loved. I missed having a journal in 2016, so this year I have picked up the Happiness Planner to help me focus on my overall goals for 2017.
It’s a beautiful planner with rose gold detailing and accessories, and I really like the quotes inside – some might find them cheesy, but I love things that make us think a little more about our decisions.
“Positive thinking is not something you can magically adopt overnight. It’s something you need to practice over and over until your mind is trained and it becomes natural to focus on the positive and feel grateful for life’s simplest joys. You can’t control everything that happens around you – neither should you run away from problems in life. What you can control is your attitude, your mindset, and your focus. You can choose to look at the positive, instead of the negative. You can choose to grow from setbacks, instead of feeling sad for yourself. You can choose to move on from the past and leave the bad things and negative people in life behind, instead of being stuck in the same place.” Mo Seetubtim
Let It Go
Too many times during 2016 I found my mood and my day ruined by something tiny – I am definitely the kind of person to let molehills become mountains, and tend to overanalyse and let my imagination get the better of me! Whether that’s worrying about the big decisions of the future, or stressing over trivial things in my day to day life.
Public transport is a prime example. I struggle to stand up for long periods of time in one place, something to do with poor circulation and slightly lower blood pressure means that I tend to get light-headed and nauseous. Coupled with crowded trains and motion sickness, it has meant I’ve had to get off early on several trips to avoid being sick, and have nearly burst into tears on occasion when I’ve been particularly stressed and have got onto a train to realise there are no seats (pretty common). With the Southern Rail issues in the last few months and the limited flexibility in my working hours, my commute has become something that I dread and it can mean I arrive at work harassed, irritable, and generally not a nice person to be around! I then address my work and my colleagues with this negative mood, and let it rub off on my relationships. It can even mean I don’t feel like I have the energy to go to the fitness class I had booked for that evening, and therefore completes a full downward spiral, all because of one small thing.
My aim is to focus on the positive, the things that have made me happy that morning – whether it’s waking up next to my boyfriend or it being a beautiful sunny day – and strive to MAKE HAPPINESS for myself as well. Sending a message to a friend to arrange drinks later in the week, starting the day with a smile instead of a frown, getting up a little earlier to treat myself to a proper breakfast or do some yoga 🙂
It might not solve the problem of #SouthernFail but it will mean that I’m approaching the day with a more positive mindset!
Choosing Yes or No
Another side to choosing the word HAPPY was to make myself think more about the decisions I’m making, and whether saying yes or no to something – or even choosing to do nothing about a situation that I’m not comfortable with – was really going to lead to happiness further down the line.
This could be saying “yes” to an event because I felt like I needed to show my face, when I’d rather go to my kettlebells class or watch a film with my boyfriend. I don’t want to feel guilty about choosing the option that will make me happier! Or deciding to sleep in at the weekend, instead of getting up to go for a run – one might make me feel better in the short term, but is it leading to happiness when I am then undertrained for that 10k I really wanted to race?
Of course, sometimes you just need your beauty sleep(!), and we occasionally all have to do things that don’t make us happy because we’re obliged to through work or other commitments. However, I hope that by considering my choices a little more carefully, it will mean that I take the initiative, be more proactive and try to cultivate my own happiness instead of expecting it to just happen. If I want something to change, I need to change it!
Thinking of Others
The final point on my list is to try and help other people be happy. It seems selfish to constantly be thinking what will make ME happy, without considering those important in my life as well. It can be small, like saying “thank you” more often, or completing a task that I know will make someone’s life a little easier. Plus, making other people smile is guaranteed to make me happier too, so it’s a win-win!
What is your word for 2017? What makes you happy?