Does this sound familiar?….once I lose 15 pounds, I’ll be happy, or once I get a new job, or a new relationship, I’ll finally be happy? I think it’s human nature to think that there is a goal that we need to reach before we can allow ourselves to be truly happy. The issue with that is if we are constantly growing, there is always a new goal to reach. So that way of thinking is an endless cycle and we’re constantly postponing our happiness. That doesn’t sound like a fun way to live.
In his book The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor suggests that success does not lead to happiness. Rather, happiness leads to success. Think about that for a moment, doesn’t that feel empowering and inspiring? Imagine if you become more focused on seeking happiness, and then see those out-of-reach goals become more easily attainable. I love that formula. That led me to think about how I can personally be more intentional every day about embracing happiness. In his book, Achor outlines several principles that he believes will help us overcome obstacles, reverse bad habits, become more efficient and productive, make the most of opportunities, conquer our most ambitious goals, and fulfill our potential.
I recognized that I have been utilizing several of his strategies like meditation, affirmations, movement, and humor just to name a few. Achor also suggested strategies that I was not as consciously tapping into such as planning something to look forward to, conscious acts of kindness, and exercising a signature strength. The book does a great job of explaining how the strategies impact our brains and ultimately enhance our productivity, creativity, and achievement. The principles in this book reinforce topics that many of our Wholistic Woman Retreats + Academy coaches have shared with our members this year. It’s based on research from the positive psychology field, neuroscience, and Achor, a former Harvard lecturer and researcher who has appeared on one of my favorite shows, Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday series.
On Wednesday evening, July 28, we’ll have a virtual book club meeting to discuss Achor’s book, The Happiness Advantage. I hope to see you there, and hear how it has impacted you!
There is so much to love about this time of year. One of my favorite things to do in December is to reflect on the past year and begin anticipating the months ahead. Goal-setting is my jam, but if I’m honest, I easily lose momentum when it comes to resolutions. In hindsight, I’m grateful I didn’t put pressure on myself back in January 2020. Who could have known what a crazy year we’d all face?
While this certainly wasn’t the year anyone expected and we’ve all had to make adjustments, I can still say I learned a lot. Here’s what stands out as I reflect on 2020 and look ahead to 2021:
What I Will Keep
I’m grateful to say that despite the chaos in the world around us, my personal mental health blossomed this year. I chose to take a few months off of work, slowly re-built my hours, and now work a part-time job that brings me enjoyment and involves little stress. I learned to be gentle with myself, letting go of the pressure to live a life that looks like everyone else’s and instead embrace what works best for my family.
I also took on new hobbies: how to garden, how to cross-stitch, and how to paint with gouache (okay, I’m still learning that one). I became more flexible, a necessary skill to survive this year! And best of all, through a therapy session and much prayer and reflection, I learned to accept and appreciate my spouse instead of focusing on what could be different.
What I Will Leave Behind
I’m grateful for the opportunities to leave some things behind and start fresh in 2021. If you’re like me, you felt the pull of the news and social media more than ever this year. The pressure to be connected at all times has worn me out and threatens to dismantle the inner peace I’ve worked hard to protect.
I also want to leave behind the negativity and temptation to complain that has seemed inescapable. I imagine it will be some time before our lives all go back to “normal” (or whatever our new normal will be). Acknowledging the grief caused by the pandemic is necessary and valuable. We are allowed to mourn the many losses we’ve experienced. But as much as I can, I want to move forward with thankfulness for what I have. That leads me to my goals for 2021!
New Goals for the New Year
In 2021, I want to continue prioritizing health, self-growth, and gratitude. I want to hike with my daughter (I just purchased hiking boots for both of us), do another stitching project (also purchased), and go on a writing retreat, among many other things. I am trying something new and starting my goals this month so that I will hopefully have already created new habits before the New Year hits.
What good from this year will you carry with you into 2021? What will you leave behind? We’d love to know!
Every year, the Wholistic Woman Retreat community gathers together at our first evening retreat of the year to discuss our One Word for the year. This year, we thought we’d share with you the three steps of the One Word and how our founding coaches Carol, Laura and Kelye approach these three steps.
Coach Carol shares about looking in
My favorite way to prepare my heart for One Word is during my morning quiet time. I usually start my days, while still in my PJs, nestled in my comfy chair with a hot cup of tea, lit candles, and inspirational reading. It sets a positive tone for my day when I ground myself with gratitude, prayer, and personal reflection.
This is when I feel most calm, centered, and am ready to ask the powerful questions “What do I need more of? What do I need less of? What needs to go?”
My mind is quick with an answer however, I intentionally listen with my heart and soul, as well. For example, this year as I asked those questions my mind readily knew the answers: I need to slow down, do less, give myself more downtime, and allow myself more time to get from one activity to another. I came up with several words that captured this energy: Release, Receive, Savor, Time, Slow were a few of the options. I thought of many good words, but I wanted a God-inspired word. I waited for a sign indicating which one God was directing me to. I asked, what word do You want me to learn from this year, God?
In 2019 my Word repeatedly came to me with a physical manifestation. With my head bowed in prayer, it dropped heavily forward when my spirit knew my word: Approval. I wait for such a sign again this year. This is my 8th year using One Word to guide me and consistently the knowing of my word has come in my core instead of my head. I feel it more than I think it. I know it is true because of an inner calm or rightness to it.
When I get quiet, pray, listen, and wait, my word reveals itself to me.
Coach Laura shares about looking up
One Word is one of my favorite tools that we use and teach here at Wholistic Woman Retreats! Step 2 in the process is about waiting for your word to show up for you. It’s about receiving a word vs picking one. I’m a girl who looks for divine “signs” in life which I take as indications that I am where I am supposed to be. I have a playful plaque in my bedroom that reads, “If You’re Waiting For A Sign. This Is It”.
One of the amazing parts of the one word process has been the “signs” I have received that the word floating around my thoughts is indeed my One Word. This year has been no exception.
Late in 2019, as I began the One Word Process, the word “unveiled” came to mind. It comes from a notion I’ve held since my teens that at our core, we are all pure love and pure light. It’s what you see in babies when you look deep in their eyes. My belief is that over time we are conditioned by the world we live in and this bright light begins to be covered up with “veils” that block the light. As I thought about the questions, What do I need?, What’s in my way? and What needs to go? the answer was your veils. Hence the word, “unveiled”. Fast forward to December 30th… I’m on a holiday cruise with my family. I turn the TV on in my cabin and in the bottom right hand of the screen is the name of the program they are showing… UNVEILED. This was the sign I was waiting for and at that moment I knew, unveiled was my one word for 2020.
Coach Kelye shares about looking out
I have arranger in my top 5 strengths for executing skills so I get a kick out of living my word for the year and have fun with it. I truly am disciplined when I choose a word and become very loyal to how I lead each day throughout the year. My words over the years such as Shine, Move, Roots, LEAP, Savvy and Breathe stack up year after year forming new, fresh positive beliefs and habits. My new word discovery for 2020 is Rhythm and I have already started stepping out of my comfort zone with this word.
Stillness and meditation don’t come easy to me so I have to work harder to get in the “rhythm” of my day to show up my best and for others. This way of moving in the day has created a CEO in the flow approach personally for me. It started working for me at my Wholebeing Positive Psychology immersion at Kripalu health and yoga center in Massachusetts. All of my days included Let Your Yoga Dance which is a way to spread joy and consciousness and embodies Positive Psychology. Not leaving BREATHE behind, my 2019 word, I now focus on my breath and rhythm in my day. It became my 30-day Mindful Movement practice which I shared at two of our Wholistic Woman events to wrap up 2019.
Creating a practice is certainly one way to live out your word and to feel alive and aligned within. My goal now is to create a 365-day practice in 2020 with Rhythm. How do I keep my words front and center and grow year after year?
Here are some special examples:
Shine – the year I needed more sparkle after my mom passed away – I went to Sarah Mclachlan’s concert Shine On – and bonus, I received about 3 of her CD’s from friends that year. So listening to music or picking a song is a great way to keep your word alive.
Roots – the year I needed to feel more grounded with family – I traveled to Oklahoma to bring my mom closer to her mom and had a ceremony with her childhood friends and family. So traveling is another great way to feel the effect and internalize your one word.
LEAP – the year I needed help moving forward with fun – I created a LEAP program for my business that is now company-wide – it stands for Leadership, Engagement, Attitude and Positive Performance. Creating a program, or a mantra is a great way to personalize your one word.
Some other daily ways are to keep a journal or create a vision board. We are planning a vision board activity with my team in Texas to set the “tone” for vision 2020. This will include individual one words and our team one word, MORE, to focus on together.
All I can say about the third step in One Word is enjoy and experience the journey. I can’t imagine using the same word year after year; there are so many opportunities for growth and change. Change can be difficult and stretch us, but it’s all part of the process. Live it out and be ALL IN!
We look forward to seeing you at our One Word evening retreat – Gain 2020 VIsion!