Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…” ~ Alfred Tennyson
Happy New Year!
For the past 200 Sundays, I have been posting a new message/insight/learning, so I am pretty pleased that New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday this year. The start of a new year brings to mind renewal, change, opportunity, hope and a lot of other positive thoughts. I don’t have any resolutions per say this year but rather a roadmap for 2017 that I will lay out a bit in today’s post. I hope you will join me in this journey as I will definitely need some encouragement to stay on track.
In Chinese Zodiac, 2017 marks “The Year of the Rooster” but for us it will be known as “The Year of the Best You!”. I want to give a shout out to Gretchen Rubin as her best-selling book The Happiness Project was an inspiration for me. If you haven’t read the book, it is based on the universal truth that we all want to be “happy” and Gretchen set out to discover how to be happy over the course of a year. She explored ancient wisdom, scientific discovery and popular culture on the subject and put her knowledge into action. I believe that we all want to be happy, but as Dr. Mike Evans says, it is a more of a “subjective well-being” and it differs from person to person. I really like the term subjective well-being and believe that comes from being the best version of you.
A little background behind this idea
Part of what inspired me to start my blog was my interest in lifestyle medicine and the impact that can have a person’s health and well-being. Some obvious lifestyle modifications exist that we all know about, such as smoking cessation and physical activity, but I also know as a physician, just saying “you should quit smoking” is terribly obvious and redundant. Over the past few years, I have spent time taking the Wellcoaches training and a Motivational Interviewing course to explore the pieces behind behaviour change and motivation even more.
Just like anyone else, physicians often struggle to make changes to enhance their own well-being. My work in physician health has reinforced something I have always known – physicians are people too with the same challenges and obstacles. For instance, stress alone is something so universal and relatable that it is at the crux of many roadblocks toward becoming who we want to be and living the life we want.
On a personal note, I have a year of many changes ahead including a move to a different province and all that goes behind uprooting my family on a new adventure. In light of this fact, I want to embark on this roadmap just like anyone else in the face of such an inevitable major life stressor.
What the roadmap of ‘The Year of the Best You’ will look like
We will follow 5 main “S” principles on this roadmap to stay on track as outlined below:
Simple – in order to follow the roadmap and identify some real goals or areas we want to target, we have to keep it simple.
Small – the smallest changes make the biggest impact over time because they are digestible and doable.
Specific – keeping goals very specific will be way more helpful than keeping goals broad.
Shame-free – we are human, and therefore, fallible, so some months will go smoother than others. No place for shame on this roadmap.
Sundays – I will stick to my Sunday routine. On the first Sunday of every month, I will introduce a pillar along with our goals for the month. For this month, we will start on January 8th with our first pillar Cultivate What Ignites You. Having said that, I have included a little homework exercise at the end of this post to consider for this upcoming week. On the last Sunday of every month, we will recap. On the other Sundays of the month, I will post as usual.
For example, the schedule will be as follows:
Pillar #1 – Jan 8th introduction & Jan 29th recap
Pillar #2 – Feb 5th introduction 7 & Feb 26th recap
And so on…
Reflection exercise to start ‘The Year of the Best You’
Until next week, I invite you to reflect on the past year as best you can (not always easy to remember over such a long stretch of time) and write down one change that you made that you are happy with. This could be something that you either set your mind to do consistently or even more than before. Can’t think of anything? Maybe come up with one goal that could fit this place.
For me, I started meditating more consistently than I did before. Still not as regularly as I want to but it is shaping up to be a habit.
I am excited to join you on this journey and see how it unfolds.
All the best in 2017!