Setting intentions and sticking to them.

This week we were thinking about how and why so many of our New Year’s resolutions fail. In one survey 43% of all resolutions don’t make it to the end of January. The problem is that not only have we not changed but we now often feel we have failed too, making us feel worse than if we hadn’t set that goal in the first place.

I think this is because we make them too big and too vague. With busy lives we set ourselves up to fail, not taking into account current situations.

So to help us set intentions or goals we can achieve we looked at some simple steps we could implement to help ourselves.

  1. Think about why you want to set a particular goal. This will help you when things get difficult, which they will otherwise you would already be making this change!

2. Be specific. Think about actually what it is you want to achieve so instead of something vague, For example instead of I want to be healthier choose something like I want to regularly eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetable.

3. Make your goal attainable in your current life style. Saying you will attend a gym (once they are open again!) 5 times a week when you are already busy is not achievable. Going out for a 20 minute walk 3 times a week maybe a better goal.

4. How are you going to achieve your goal? Do you have a plan? For some who want to improve diet they may join a club or undertake a nutrition course, others who want to run use apps like Couch to 5k (C25k) to help motivate them.

5. How will you keep yourself accountable? Do you need a friend to check up on you?

6. What time scale do you want to achieve this intention in? When will you check to see whether you are managing to achieve this goal or if you need to change something to help. At this point, especially if you are struggling, refer back to why you set it in the first place.

We can also set daily intention, to keep positive, to have a good day. The way we start the day can have an amazing impact on how your day goes.

So what intention or goal do you want to set for yourself?

Make time to think it through, make yourself the best version of you.

Getting through difficult times.

Welcome back everyone.

I delayed starting back in group as my husband and myself are recovering from Covid over the Christmas break but was glad to get back this week.

This is a difficult time of year anyway to find motivation. For us, here in the UK, it is dark and gloomy outside, the nights are long and this year in particular with lockdown it is extremely hard to stay positive. Add that to feeling ill as well and I found myself struggling.

Despite having studied and used mindfulness for several years now I still had to make a conscious decision to use it to help myself. To really focus on things I have to be grateful for, to accept the situation and how I felt without pushing those feelings away,

It made me realise just how important it is to practise these techniques then we are more likely to use them when we need them.

It’s not a trade, it is an offering.

Chapter 34 of ‘Wake Up to the joy of you’ by Agapi Stassinopoulos.

This was an interesting read especially for this time of year when we are thinking of giving gifts to others, are you giving to receive or to give joy? It is lovely to give to others and this year we have had to be more creative in how we give which, I think, makes each gift more special. It hasn’t been a easy to get items or to get them to each other so it really is the thought and effort which matters.

There was also a challenge within the chapter about making sure we receive graciously which many of us find difficult. We can tend to think of ourselves as unworthy of gifts or compliments. Remember, if someone has chosen to give you something or say encouraging words, try to take them in the spirit they were meant, allow the other person the wonderful feeling of giving, let them see the joy and pleasure it brings you.

It is also important to realise that not all giving is of physical gifts, sometimes the best gift we can give is a moment of our time, really paying attention to the other person. We all have much that we can share and make the world a better, more caring place.

Despite the difficult situation we find ourselves in, may you be filled with wonderful feelings of contentment and happiness!

Happy Christmas to you all,

Devoted, disciplined, discerning.

This week we read chapter 33 from Wake up to the joy of you by Agapi Stassinopoulos.

In this chapter Agapi looked at the magic of triple D – being discerning, disciplined and devoted. This proved to be an interesting looking at what we understood these words to mean.

We started looking at being discerning, trying to listen to our inner, guiding voice. We often know what the right thing is but do we always follow it? This can be about anything, the people we know; are they the right people to have in your life? Are you doing the right job? Are you doing the things that are best for you?

If you have a desire or goal in mind, whatever that goal, maybe moving house or job or career or wanting to improve your health or activity levels, are you disciplined enough? Will you make good decisions and the choices necessary and follow them through? Can you break down your goal to manageable steps and do them?

Your devotion to your desired outcome will give you the motivation that you need to achieve it.

As we approach the end of this challenging year, give yourself sometime to think through what it is you value, what you would like more of in your life an dhow you will achieve that goal.

The Five pillars of Ikigai

This was our final week of thinking about ‘finding our purpose’ although that doesn’t mean we will stop thinking about it. I feel it is important to continue to think about why we do things, whether we wish to continue doing the things we are doing and how we can bring greater happiness into our own lives.

The Venn diagram we have been using is just one way of looking at ‘ikigai’ and this is another. I found these 5 pillars much easier to think about and implement. The pillars are:

1.Starting Small, so finding a little change that is achievable but that makes a difference to you. It is also about taking pride in all that you do and doing it to the best of your ability.

2. Releasing yourself. This is about accepting yourself and allowing yourself to enjoy things, not to do things just because others expect you to. It is also about doing things without seeking outside praise, doing it just because you want to.

3. Harmony and sustainability, trying to live in harmony with others arounds you, being aware of the impact you make on them and the world. Ken Mogi (author of ‘The Little book of Ikigai’) said

“Each person’s ikigai, when implemented in harmony with other people, promotes creativity in the free exchange of ideas.”

4. The joy of small things, looking for things around you that you would normally take for granted yet bring us great joy when we are aware of them, for example having hot water at the turn of a tap, being warm and cosy on cold days, We are surrounded by things that can bring us joy if only we look.

5. Being in the here and now, so really embracing and enjoying this moment.

So, what can you do to help yourself, to enjoy more of each day? What small change could you decide upon? Your happiness lies in your thoughts and actions.

Ikigai (part 2)

Answering the questions in the Venn diagram proved to be trickier than it seemed at first. Whilst we can recognise things we like to do, taking that one step further to a passion can be more difficult. The same is true if the other circles, identifying what the world needs is one thing, working out what I can do about it is another.

However, I feel it is worth giving ourselves time to think about these questions and statements; to begin to realise what actually makes us happy and to do more of that. There are times when happiness is hard to find but on the whole is that not what we all strive for – to be happy and contented?

So if you are not satisfied is there something you could do that would make you happier?

Finding your purpose or role in life can really help, give each day meaning and thus make you happier. So even if you do not come up with an answer straight away, it is the process of seeking the answer that is important – so keep searching, keep asking yourself those questions and find your purpose in life.

Ikigai

Continuing our search into finding our purpose in life, we discovered a lovely Japanese word – ikigai. It literally means life’s purpose. It was discovered on one of the many islands in Japan, called Okinawa and there they boast one of the world’s highest numbers of people living into their 100s. They believe it is because they have a sense of ikigai or self-worth and purpose.

One interpretation of this encourages us to look at four areas: what I love to do, What I am good at, what the world needs and what I can be rewarded or paid for. By doing things that fulfil these four areas we will discover our ikigai and always have a sense of purpose.

It can be hard to recognise what we love to do and what we are good at and even harder to get paid for it but exploring these areas and trying to do more of what we enjoy, I feel, is important and leads to a better and happier life – isn’t that what we all want?

Find Your Calling.

This week we returned to the book we have been reading together, ‘Wake up to the joy of you’ by Agapi Stassinopoulis. We read chapter 32 – find your calling. This lead to us thinking about and discussing why we are here and trying to discover what our own purpose in life is.

This is not an easy question to answer nor one that can be answered quickly. It is something to ponder, to consider and we will be over the next few weeks. Agapi suggests thinking about things that bring you joy, what your life would look like if you used all your gifts and talents and how you could be more proactive in doing these things.

As I teach with all these situations and questions don’t get frustrated if you can’t answer them straight away. Think about them as you go about your day; you may become more aware of things you enjoy which will help you formulate answers and come to a conclusion about what your purpose is.

I look forward to exploring this together in our weekly sessions.  

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