How exciting that we are beginning a new year and decade! Many of us made resolutions as the year turned. That date provides us a built-in starting line and deadline. These new goals are often centered around how we eat or exercise, though this year a lot of people are talking about positivity (which is much needed in our culture).
I am challenging you to start this year and decade thinking both more broadly and specifically about what you really want. At the consulting firm I work with, think2perform, we call it WDYWFY—What Do You Want For Yourself?. Sometimes we get so busy DOING life, that we have forgotten to periodically stop and take time to really know where we’re heading or why we want to go there in the first place. So...what do you want for yourself? Take some time to think about that. Better yet, write it down.
When I work with my coaching clients, I often start with a process where my client rates their satisfaction with different areas of their life (physical, social, relational, emotional, etc.). We look at both where they are happy and where they feel they want something different. This stimulates thought about what is important and what is out of alignment. You can take time and do that for yourself in helping think about your WDYWFY.
What matters most for you to pursue or maintain in your life? A great next step is to identify your top five values. From a neuroscience standpoint, the brain can’t hold more than 3-5 priorities in life at a time, so narrowing your values to the point you can name them quickly and focus on them each day does a lot to help you make decisions about your life and act on staying in alignment with your values. think2perform has an exercise that helps you identify your top five online, and it's free! Plan on about 10-20 minutes to do this. You can find it by clicking on this link: https://www.think2perform.com/our-approach/values
After arriving at and writing down your top five values:
These steps (deciding what you want for yourself, where are things not in alignment, and determining your values) are great plenty for you to soak on for one blog column. In my next posting, I will take the process a little further to begin helping you think about living out life in alignment. And in the meantime, keep focusing on your five top values each day and thinking about where they fit in your life. Stay tuned!
I’ve been learning more about the health and life benefits of gratitude. We are now entering the holiday season so it seems doubly on topic. I was gifted with a mother who learned to find gratitude in all situations later in her life. I’ve often thought back to that time and how I might incorporate more gratitude into my life.
While gratitude is a needed quality for our lives at any stage, it becomes something we can more readily access as we approach and live in retirement. As we age, it turns out that our ability to feel grateful goes up. The amygdala, in our limbic system, becomes less reactive to negative information and increases our ability to react to positive information. Being able to focus in on the positive helps us more readily notice what we are grateful for. And that will bring us all sorts of benefits as we age.
What are the benefits? Here are several of the ways that cultivating gratitude in our lives has been shown in several studies to better our wellbeing:
Pretty impressive, right? Would you like to add more of the benefits of gratitude to your life?
Here are a few easy ways to integrate it into your life:
What a fun and happy way to improve your health, your life and your longevity! What do you have to be grateful for today?
Ruth Tongen helps people plan and live meaningful, fun and healthier retirements.