Six Improvement Steps to make a less stressful Astounding Happier You in 22.

You can change and improve! |unsplash.com

Were you stressed in 2021? Did you have a mediocre year? Do you want to have a better 2022? These questions describe most of us. Hence, the six steps described below that will make 2022 better. But first, let’s talk about some of Society’s ways of holding us down.

  1. Society has defined success for you. Whether we like it or not, Society has defined what makes us successful. For the last several decades, this has been the province of the ad agencies and marketers. So get bigger, newer, different styled widgets before anyone else gets it. Only buy certain brands so you can be in the “in” crowd.
  2. Society has taught us to measure ourselves against others. We must wear the right clothes, be outgoing, join the right clubs to live up to social standards or fall short.
  3. Society has created, with our help, of course, what I call artificial deadlines. Deadlines are a means of raising your stress levels higher and higher for something that usually isn’t real.
  4. Society has defined what happiness is for us. We must be this way, or we can’t possibly be happy.

But you’re in charge, not Society!

  1. Evaluate what you currently think.

You can’t change until you know where you’re starting. Then, you have to reflect on the answers to these questions for yourself. How will I define my success? What will make me happy? Why do I feel the need to measure myself against others?

2. Decide where you want to end.
If you don’t know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter which path you take or how you choose to live. You will end up somewhere. One of my favorite quotes about this topic is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where — ” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“ — So long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.” —

This succinctly makes the point that if you don’t decide where you want to end up, it doesn’t matter what you do. It’s time to decide where you want to go.

3. Change your mind first.
To achieve the change, we want we must first change our minds. This can be as simple as deciding that I will only buy what I need when something no longer works. I will choose clothing for its durability rather than buy something that is single-use. Most importantly, through reflection and meditation, I will realize and reinforce that my mind controls what I choose to do, not the advertising and marketers.

Here is a personal example. I’m considering getting a new bike to get out more. After I announced this, I first heard about the new electric-assist bikes my friends got and loved (2200–4000). I can see some benefits as I get older and the hills get longer and higher, but does this meet my need and objective, or is this just the newest fad? I need to decide the purposes and budget for myself, not let the grit and glitter of the latest gadget grab my eye. This is tough for me, and I have failed at this throughout my life.

4. What are the first steps you need to take on this journey.
We’re very good at deciding where we want to go but fall short when it comes to breaking it down into bite-sized steps that will get us there. Remember, a journey from where you’re is taken by moving toward where you want to be one step at a time.
Back to the bike example. I need to decide why I need it. What am I going to use it to achieve? Where do I expect to ride it? How much do I need to spend?

5. Be patient with yourself.
Patience is the salve that greases the wheels as we move toward our destination. It reduces your stress. Most of our stress is self-induced because we’re impatient. You must continue to move in the direction you want to go, even if you slip back occasionally.

6. Reward yourself along the way. Psychologists have determined that we’re most able to do what we want when we reward ourselves. This can be as simple as an imaginary high-five, a shout in your mind recognizing the completion, or going out for a beer. Choose whatever reward works for you.

Remember, though, that the rewards need to occur as you complete each step not just at the end of the journey.

Change won’t come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

Barack Obama

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