Goals 2014: What is the 1 step you will take to be happier this Spring?

Dalai Lama quote on Happiness

Happiness Is Linked To Taking Action

How was your working week?  Stressy?  Unfulfilling?  Seemingly Goaless?  Don’t worry if any of those responses ring bells with you.  According to Gallup’s 2012 State of the Global Workplace research only 13% of employees are engaged by their work. That suggests the bulk of workers around the world are unhappy with their employment, to some extent.  There is action you can take to change your situation.

About a week ago I spent a day out with friends in the 30 and 40 something age range.  This social time included setting the world to rights over a meal.  Enjoying a relaxed, supportive afternoon with people who are socially engaged set me thinking.  I reckon it doesn’t take very much action to become more connected to good people and therefore a little happier.

Research about actions you can take to become happier

It turns out that research conducted by Colby College Professor Christopher Soto, discussed in the Wall Street Journal by Elizabeth Bernstein shows that as we age we become more agreeable and better connected.

Apparently there are 5 psychological domains* which help shape about half of our personality (the other half comes from our biological make up, although Dr Dean Ornish suggests in a TED Talk that your genes are not your fate).

5 Personality Domains Discussed Professor Soto’s research

We can choose an area from the following domains and set an improvement goal for ourselves within that area (I’ve worked on goals in the final domain for instance, so I can confirm that spending time with your friends, works wonders).

Conscientiousness

Agreeableness

Openness

Extraversion

Neuroticism

Your 1 Question Leading To Happiness

Here’s your 1 question:  which of these domains will you dip into during the next few days to identify your spring happiness goal?  That is your first step toward selecting the most obvious action to take, to move you toward the life you deserve at work and beyond the 9 to 5.

More About A Happy State

If you want a quick pick-me-up before diving deep into goal setting you can always clap along with Pharrell Williams whose song ‘Happy’ puts a smile on my face.  To learn more about the connection that song has made with people across the United States and around the globe try this short excerpt from an interview Oprah conducted with Mr Williams recently.

There are further ideas relating to your work and life goals in the Archive section here, on Facebook and Google+ too.  Or you can View Roger Dennison’s profile

 

Goals 2014: One Step You Can Take To Be A More Confident & Resilient Carer

Are you feeling the strain of being a carer for an elderly parent or relative?  If the answer is “Yes” and you are in the UK then chances are you are a woman, rather than a man.  The current caring statistics and facts from Carers UK indicate that of the 3 million people in the country caring for relatives, 58% are women.

What does caring save?

Carers save the economy £119 billion per year (an average of £18,473 per carer).  However, 1 in 5 of those people who act as carers, whilst also working, are forced to give up work altogether.  The reason for this: the significant demands of combining caring and work.

What does caring cost you, the carer?

Caring obviously takes its toll on the woman, or man, making the effort to support their relative.  It can be emotionally demanding to support an elderly parent.  The carer’s well-being can take a knock.  It can also place a strain on the network of other important relationships in your life.  The emotional journey can affect your confidence too.

What questions could you ask yourself to establish how you feel about being a carer?

What is your goal regarding combining caring responsibilities with your working life? Where does your support come from while you are bearing the stress of supporting someone else?  What is the impact on your wider life and relationships of being a carer?

How do the key issues impact other people’s lives?

This question was aired in a moving edition of BBC radio 4’s Woman’s Hour today.  There are seemingly as many answers as there are carers.  For some carers unresolved family conflicts can be exposed by one person shouldering the responsibility of looking after a parent.  For others caring is an act of love, reflecting life long closeness and affection.

If you are UK Based you can find the recent editions of Woman’s Hour on iPlayer by searching for Radio 4 programming here  You can follow the programme on Twitter @BBCWomansHour

The Woman’s Hour discussion reminded me of a tweet  late last year, concerning how to manage challenging family relationships.  Do follow the link to read into the topic.

What action will you take this week to improve your confidence & resilience as a carer?

Developing an ever more secure adult identity helps: you are entitled to seek help and effective support.

How would you feel about making one inspired change, following International Women’s Day, this Saturday?  Could you share more information about the impact of your caring duties with your employer, partner, and friends?  How much better could your situation become if these important people truly understood what you were experiencing and provide you with more effective support this year?

Good luck to you as you take action to help improve your capacity to care for others and yourself.

Feel free to check out my Archive section for more thoughts on well-being and pursuing life goals.  There are further ideas relating to these areas on Facebook and Google+ too

Goals 2014: Do You Need More Heartfelt Satisfaction In Your Life?

Cup Of Tea

How Are You Planning To Develop This Spring?

How has your week been so far?  In fact, how would you score your job-satisfaction in 2014 on a scale of 1 to 10 (where 10 is ‘Outstanding’)?  Are your heartfelt goals around personal fulfilment also being met?

If you score your year at 5, or lower, remember there is good news.  The weekend is close by and you can use it – in part – to help plan the improvements you want to make in your life.

If you need to put a smile on your face now perhaps you are ready for a mid-week laugh.  Here then is a short BBC film about comic Jack Stretten concerning his life on the comedy circuit.  He is clear about the relationship between his comic skills and the values he relies on in his work.  He is also clear about his goal focus.  He says “When I’m making someone laugh…that’s the best!”.  How does that clear, heartfelt, vision compare to the relationship between your skills, your values and your understanding of your goals?

It may not be appropriate for you to take an alternative career path right now.  Even so, over a cup of tea this weekend it is worth planning changes which will improve the rest of your year.  Can you invest time on Saturday or Sunday to planning your brighter future?

Why not spend 30 minutes: taking stock of your skills; listing your core values; and using that information to determine the mixture of skills and values you want to use as the spring board to improve your life.

Having that information written down will definitely help establish the blueprint you rely on as you move forward.  If improved job, or personal satisfaction, is the overarching goal you want to tackle in 2014 how will you begin to break that goal down into manageable pieces starting in March?  Coaching support can boost your success in that process, so do use the Contact form to get in touch with me.  I look forward to discussing how I can help you during your journey.

There is also plenty of helpful content here on the site, especially in the Archives.  So check out the Archive section for more inspiration and remember there are further ideas On Facebook and Google+ too.  Enjoy the rest of your week.

Goal 2014: 3 Questions to help increase your well-being in the Year of the Male

Plug In To Access  Support

Plug In To Access Support

Have you heard the one about the man who asks his best mate for emotional support during a difficult period, and receives consistent, empathic care from his friend?  Chances are you haven’t.  Women may follow Sheryl Sandberg’s example at Facebook and ‘Lean In’ supporting each other, men don’t traditionally plug into their networks like that.

In fact British men may be spending nearly £1800 on making themselves look good outwardly according to 2012 research , but they aren’t making similar efforts to connect with their inner feelings and improve their emotional well-being.

Luckily there are new options men can adopt to tackle their well-being goals.  Those options are being explored by CALM , the mental health charity.

The charity is focusing on suicide prevention this year.  Here’s a sobering number CALM comments on , taken from a recent Office for National Statistics bulletin: suicide is the leading cause of death for British men under 50.  Such men are 3 times more likely to kill themselves than women.  That rate is comparable to the United States, where men are nearly 4 times more likely to take their own lives than women, according to the World Health Organisation .

Under the Year of the Male banner – that’s @yearofthemale on Twitter, or online at www.yearofthemale.com – the UK organisation is looking to challenge the range of influences which contribute to men’s less positive life experiences.  Perhaps we can all recognise that modern life has the potential to lead to high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.

If you are a man and the experiences above ring bells, ask yourself how do your age, class, disability or employment status, ethnicity, family situation, religion, sexual orientation and upbringing affect your well-being?  What are you prepared to do change your well-being status this year?  Here are three more questions for you to reflect on.

  • What can you include in your health and well-being goal to make it more achievable?
  • In what ways will your goal help you live life with a greater degree of authenticity?
  • How will your goal add value to your dealings with the important people in your life?

Good luck with your actions.  Remember to check out the Archive section for more inspiration.  There are further ideas On Facebook and Google+ too

Goals 2014: Three Questions About The Health Of Your Relationship

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Chocolates Show You Care

Happy Valentine’s Day: It’s the one day you have a good reason to show you value your main relationship.  Have you opted for chocolates, flowers, or wine?

Speaking of your relationship, what’s your goal beyond today?  What else are you doing to keep improving the quality of that relationship, tomorrow and the next day?  In particular how will you:

  • Demonstrate your long-term commitment to the relationship?
  • Share your authentic self within it?
  • Deepen the element of trust the relationship depends upon?

It is worth having a action plan to maintain the health of this key part of your life.  In that way you remind yourself that you value the well-being of your every part of your life: from your main relationship, to your well-being at work, to the health of your finances.

Goals 2014: Six Actions To Help You Manage Your Stress Levels This Week

Life is full of coincidences.  Fresh from posting about the impact of workplace stress, caused by poor management, I read a really useful article* by Lucy Dimbylow – @lucywriter on Twitter.

Lucy is responding to the question posed by the half a million UK workers whose stress and anxiety levels are too high: What actions can I can take to manage my levels of work stress?

The key actions I took away from Lucy’s article are:

  • Taking regular Exercise reduces stress
  • Following a healthy Diet aids positive mental health
  • Taking the Rest periods you are entitled to is beneficial
  • Making time to have Fun with family is important
  • Adopting a positive approach to Mindfulness helps you manage the aspects of pressure you can change
  • Seeking Support from those in a position to affect workloads, and job objectives, also helps

Having read that list here’s a final question for you:

  • What key action will you take, this week, to more effectively manage your workplace stress?

*The article appears in the spring edition of Benenden Healthcare Society’s subscription-only magazine ‘benhealth’.  Information on the society’s work can be found online at www.benenden.co.uk

Goals 2014: What Kind Of Management Do You Want To Receive?

Here’s a question to ponder as the end of the reporting and financial year draws near:  How much does your progress at work depend on the effectiveness of your manager, or supervisor?

Some people want a line manager who is closely involved in the day to day aspects of their career.  This can reassure the job holder that their performance and development needs are at the front of their manager’s mind.  That could be crucial if progression, development or bonuses depend on the supervisor’s feedback.

Other job holders are content with a different approach.  They prefer being set realistic tasks, whose delivery is discussed at quarterly reviews.  This approach gives them breathing room.  They get on with delivering tasks that are within their capability.

The Guardian’s Work blog has just highlighted a worst case scenario.  In this situation a line manager is so ineffective that their job holder is becoming ill through over work.  The customers needs are not being effectively met and team morale is suffering.  The manager is an obstacle to the job holder achieving their goal, of being productive and happy at work.

See what you think of the feedback offered in the Tweet (then have a go at the bullet point questions)

  • How do you influence your manager to give you the support you deserve?
  • What do you say when their input isn’t quite right?
  • When do you know it is time to take action to change your situation?