“The difference between a contented person and a discontented person is that a contented person focuses on how far they have come, while a discontented person focuses on how far they have to go.”
As the middle of the year comes closer, it is a useful time to stop and reflect on how the year has been so far.
As you look back, it can be common to judge yourself for not having done or been enough. For example; I didn’t spend enough time with my kids, or at the gym, or at work. I wasn’t organised enough or disciplined enough.
We can be so very hard on ourselves because we succumb to the outdated belief that a “good kick in the butt” will get you moving in the right direction. Trust me, if butt kicking worked, we’d all be thin, healthy, and rich.
The reality is that self-criticism doesn’t motivate us to create a successful future. Motivation is more likely to come from realising that you’re building on an already-solid foundation (all your achievements, learning and experiences).
When you feel good about who you are, you allow better things, people, experiences, jobs, opportunities, etc. into your life.
So if you have a tendency to underestimate how much you have achieved and focus more on what you didn’t get around to doing, I invite you to stop, acknowledge yourself, and reflect on the positive changes you’ve made by answering the following questions.
- In what areas of your life did you make some progress or changes?
- How have you stayed motivated/disciplined/courageous enough to make these changes?
- How have you been a better partner, parent, spouse, friend, or co-worker?
- What are you the most proud of?
- What hard decisions did you make that dramatically improved the quality of your life?
- Who did you really help, make a difference to?
- What did you do or get that completely surprised you?
- Who did you meet that is now a special part of your life?
- What were the most fun rewarding times you had?
If we’re not careful, I think we also miss the ‘golden nuggets’ nestled among the challenges, stresses and unexpected turn of events. Taking time to notice these golden nuggets and taking them forward with us can be incredibly useful and uplifting.
- What challenges and obstacles did you overcome?
- What qualities or skills did you develop to overcome these obstacles? For example, are you more courageous, patient, or light-hearted, optimistic?
- What did you learn about yourself/others/life in overcoming these challenges?
- What special and supportive people helped you during this time?
Considering these questions builds a strong foundation for success because you are focusing on what has worked, instead of focusing on what still needs to change. When you acknowledge your growth, you build self-respect and self-trust, two key ingredients that will support you in making healthier choices for you and your loved ones from this point on.
So as well as taking heart from what you’ve achieved, why not utilise this successful resourceful state you are now in to focus on how you would like the rest of the year to be.
What would you like to build on, what would you like to change or improve?
If you would like some great questions to get the ideas flowing, email me at email@example.com and ask for my “powerful questions for a satisfying life” handout.
Annemarie Coulson is a happiness coach. She will help you become happier with yourself and your life right here and now, while also making changes to improve your future. If you are curious to know more visit her updated new website at www.lifecoacher.co.nz or phone 021 076 5450. The new website has three interesting quizzes to take, and heaps of useful free information to download.