By Miranda Massie on January 11, 2018
January has arrived and we are back to greet another new year at UBC.
Despite missing my morning sleep-ins and binge-watching true crime dramas on Netflix, I derive a certain satisfaction from returning to a routine. I feel more productive and organized, and I notice an immediate improvement to both my sleeping and eating habits. I even started writing in my Five Minute Journal. (It remains to be seen how long this will last, but I’m cautiously optimistic!)
We are primed for all things new and renewed at this time of year and often start out feeling strong and motivated. But is this sustainable? How long do our resolutions really last? Can our intentions stand the test of time, and should they? How do we avoid feeling like we have failed if things don’t go as planned?
When it comes to changing habits or taking action, I truly believe that the most important factor is a deep understanding of the self. “Sticking with it” or having a “can-do attitude” doesn’t work for me personally. I have learned that in order to avoid feeling like a failure, a specific set of factors must be in place if I’m to be successful. It starts with an examination of what gets me excited, what keeps me going and what can derail my good intentions. My musings might help guide your New Year intentions.
If it’s not right in front of me, I won’t do it.
I easily forget (or intentionally avoid) tasks, even when I chose them. For my 2018 workout plan, I wrote it out calendar-style, with colourful markers and check boxes. It will sit on my kitchen table to ensure that I follow it. It makes for a messier home, but also keeps me accountable. Check out some of my inspiration from Pinterest.
I get bored easily.
Times like these I wish I was a runner. I envy people who like to run: it’s so simple and accessible, but I can’t think of anything I’d rather do less. In order to stay interested and involved in my fitness routine, I need to change things up. I incorporate apps and different types of workouts including yoga, and I’m hoping to take up swimming again in our beautiful UBC Aquatic Centre.
I like a challenge.
The competitive streak in me shines when a challenge is thrown down, even when it is with myself. I like to win and want to win, so I turn my resolutions into mini competitions with myself or others. I’ll be joining the UBC Walkabout this month as a way of increasing and tracking my daily steps, and I use the Carrot app to get rewards for my walking because who doesn’t want more Aeroplan or Scene points?
I need a deadline.
The best way for me to fail at a new habit or resolution is to have it last forever. I am fundamentally unmotivated by anything that does not have an end in sight. My New Year fitness plan is currently set for 10 weeks. Once I complete that, I will celebrate, take a few weeks off and then re-assess what I want to do next. I also make sure to write out a list of rules (guidelines or criteria if you prefer) to keep me accountable, one that includes minimum time limits and what types of activity count.
Setting the stage for change has become just as or even more important than what my ultimate goals are. In being more intentional at the start, I find that I’m much more likely to have all the pieces in place to feel successful.
This month, I invite you to leave some room for self-compassion, inspiration and success in whatever form your resolutions might take. Find ways to manage your New Year energy, investigate ways to keep motivated and perhaps even step out of your comfort zone like Professor Ono.
Wishing you a wonderful start to 2018!
All my best,
Photo credit: Miranda Massie
By Guest Contributor on October 6, 2015
Life feels so fast and busy. How do you cope?
Does this sound familiar?
- “My life is just so busy, I don’t have time for anything!”
- “There’s not enough hours in the day to do everything.”
- “I know I put this onto myself. It’s me who creates the pressure to do everything, but…”
- “I’m exhausted.”
Sometimes we have control over our life’s workload, and sometimes we don’t. When we do not have the luxury of reducing our workload, there are some very simple techniques that can really make a big difference to shift the feeling of being overwhelmed. After all, it’s our perception that can change how the world looks to us.
Here are some tips that you can practice at any time, at work or at home:
1.Take a breath. This might sound silly, but your breath is always available to you, even on the busiest of days. Pause and take some slow, conscious breaths. This will help you ground yourself in the present moment and give you a mental break from your busy day. It feels so good to just stop and feel your body breathe. Tune in to how your body is moving and feeling the breaths. This only needs a few seconds or minute.
It’s easy to grab opportunities during your work day, such as while you’re waiting for people to arrive to a meeting, waiting for your computer to reboot, standing at the elevator, or washing your hands.
2. Adopt the attitude of “There is exactly enough time to do what’s important in my life.” When you change your perspective and take on a different attitude towards your life, your experience of life changes. Repeat the phrase quietly to yourself several times, then see how you feel.
3. Take a mindful approach using Tara Brach’s RAIN.
- Recognize what’s going on
- Allowing: Taking a Life-Giving Pause
- Investigating with Kindness
- Natural Loving Awareness
Through the conscious choice to practice self-awareness and taking mindful moments to pause, you can reduce feelings of being overwhelmed. Think of life as a series of moments, and take each moment one at a time.
Life is about the present moment, and ensuring we don’t let these moments pass by unnoticed because we are too busy trying to get somewhere else.
Wendy Quan is a certified organizational change manager who has created an innovative way to build personal and organizational change resiliency through meditation and mindfulness. Wendy has a top winning, published paper on this subject with the worldwide Association of Change Management Professionals, speaks at conferences, and has been interviewed a number of times on her success. Wendy is a leader in the change management community and founded the Vancouver Change Management Practitioner’s community of practice. Her career has also included management in human resources, organizational development, leadership coaching and information technology.
Through her change management experience and successful journey through cancer, Wendy delivers results in a practical, open manner that has broad appeal and evidence-based benefits to all levels and roles in organizations.