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The Self-Discovery Digest

by Elizabeth and Katherine Hirsh
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January 2009 Archives

One Simple Thing

January is nearly over – the post-New Year’s rut has set in and we feel our motivation sag. We start to question whether we deserve better lives, happiness, or a sense of wellbeing. How can we pull out of this self-defeating slide toward complacency and negativity?

Start by doing one simple thing today that makes you feel happy. Buy fresh flowers or a plant, watch a favorite TV show whether it’s highbrow or not, use that nice perfume, lotion, or grooming product that you have been saving for a special occasion. Be a little late, stop for coffee, see how well the world survives without you and how much better you feel for having taken a break. Ask your spouse to take care of the dry cleaning, the dinner, or the kids. Single? Celebrate the fact that you have no one to answer to and head out to the driving range, attend a concert, go to a book signing, or participate in a community event on the spur of the moment. Seems simple, right? But how often do we actually honor what it is we really enjoy? We find all sorts of reasons why we can’t do what we like now, or why it doesn’t really matter, or why whatever we desire is selfish, frivolous, or foolish. How easy it is dismiss our inner longing, our inner voice, ourselves!

Just imagine – if everyone began to honor what it is that brings them joy, we would no doubt have a happier community and world. Do you feel like fighting after you’ve just engaged in something that brings you joy? Do you feel like hurting someone else after you have just nurtured your true self? No. Following your bliss really is a caring act. Do everyone a favor – start savoring what makes life wonderful in some small way today. Do it for yourself. Do it for the benefits to others. Do it for all of us who are struggling to give ourselves permission to do the same. It is truly preventive community medicine!

Self-Discovery Tool Number Five
With new appreciation of the community-wide benefits – what are some simple ways you can activate your heart’s desire?

Welcome to 2009!

The New Year is traditionally a time for self-examination and committing to life changes. Whatever the changes and however desirable they may be, we often discover that it is difficult to sustain them. Here are a few suggestions to help you formulate and maintain your resolutions.

Build on what is already working
Making sweeping changes via cutting edge techniques has a certain appeal, yet it is often more effective to pick out things that you want to retain instead. What do you like about your life? What do you like about what you are doing? By making a list of these things, you may find that you are already doing some terrific things that enhance your life and development – commit to keep doing them. In fact, consider doing some of these things even more often. And this is something to feel good about because these are things you already know how to do!

Map out multiple ways to achieve the same goal
If the first thing you try doesn’t bring the results you are seeking, combine the approach with other methods to see if that jump starts things. Have different alternatives at hand that you can activate immediately. Then, if you get bored with an approach, even if it has been successful, you can shift to another mode and preserve your momentum.

Reward yourself along the way
Don’t delay gratification; don’t wait for the big pay-off. As part of your resolution plan, decide on small milestones at which you can reward yourself for achieving tangible results. Do not underestimate the power of acknowledging and celebrating your accomplishments to keep things fun and moving forward. Rewarding the effort is what makes change possible and successful.

Enlist others
In addition to receiving needed support, making your commitment public can strengthen your sense of accountability. Find a method that suits your style: partner with a family member or friend; take a class; join an online community; consult an advisor; or find a mentor who can offer advice and encouragement. While you’re at it, return the favor and reach out to others who might need some reassurance as they try to achieve their goals. Goodwill to and from others is mutually affirming and promotes everyone’s success.

Self-Discovery Tool Number Four
What is one simple thing you could do today to change your life for the better? Hint: go for fun, low stakes changes rather than attempting a total life makeover – commit to walk a 5K rather than to run a marathon and then if you find you can do more, do more!