New beginnings every day

How to make small changes to make a big difference in 2016

It’s almost the New Year, so it’s the time to turn our attention to new beginnings. Regardless of how we feel about the year ahead, we can’t ignore the start of a new calendar year. It is so imbued in our culture as an opportunity to start afresh and it gives us the perfect excuse to make improvements to our lives. Or at the very least to buy new stationery!

Yes, whilst it’s a bit obvious to write a blog about new beginnings in January, I’m going to do it anyway. Relax. It’s not about those big (totally unrealistic and unsustainable) New Year’s resolutions. This is about the smaller things that can create new beginnings every day.

Here are some of the ways I keep a feeling of joie de vivre all year round (most of the time any way).

Start the day with something you love. It doesn’t need to be a 5k run or a long steam in the bath. Something small. It could be taking five minutes on the sofa with a cup of tea listening to the news, dancing in the living room to a favourite song, or in my case having a bowl of fresh fruit and yoghurt with my boyfriend. It’s breakfast #1 in my house (breakfast #2 comes when I get to work) and I never miss it. Yes it’s healthy, but it’s not just that, I value the time that I put aside for it. The time changes each day depending on what meetings/commitments we have, but we always do it. What small thing do you love that you can find the time for before you start working?

Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Sounds simple, right? It’s funny how easy it is to put things off until tomorrow/Monday/January, so when you’re next looking at your to-do list/exercise schedule/big life decision, ask yourself: have I really not got time to do this, or do I just not want to do it? There’s a subtle but very profound difference. Being aware of this — and overcoming it — will make you more productive and you’ll finish the day feeling more satisfied (and possibly slightly fitter).

Breathe. It doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning for us to make a fresh start. When I’m feeling stressed or agitated I simply take three minutes away from my desk (in a corridor, outside, in the toilet — or even just looking outside the window if I can’t move) and breathe very slowly. I call this my Three Minute Marvel. You can do it too: inhale deep into your abdomen for a count of three, hold for one, exhale for a count of three, hold for one. Repeat three times. This slowing down allows you to respond, rather than react. No one is too busy to breathe. Try it next time you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed and perhaps even try a bit of mindful emailing too (https://soundcloud.com/onbeing/mirabai-bush-mindful-emailing).

If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. We’re all going to feel frustrated in certain situations, when a client won’t see something your way, your peers don’t recognise your hard work, or things simply aren’t going to plan. For me, I get particularly wound up when I feel that people aren’t listening to me (and I mean really listening to me), when they’re just nodding along. The fact of that matter is that only we can change how we respond to certain situations and behaviours — other people aren’t going to change. So instead I put myself in their shoes. I understand that they’re really busy or have a lot on their mind and I try to arrange a time to talk to them when I know that it’s quieter and I will have their full attention. It makes for a much more fruitful conversation too.

Do something different. It doesn’t have to be a trip to South East Asia (as lovely as that would be). It might be taking an alternative route into town, trying a new recipe during the week, changing the mug you always drink your tea from (the shock!). I try to meet friends in bars and cafés that I’ve never been to before — I see different parts of London and experience new menus. Do what you can to shake things up. Monotony is the killer of enthusiasm…

So my recommendation to you is not to bother trying to set a New Year’s resolution for 2016 but instead, to think of each day in front of you as its own new beginning. Treat March 26th the same as you would January 1st. Maybe that’s a resolution in itself.

Jen Tomkins is a Huckleberry Associate, working to engage the Huckleberry Partners community. She has a wide variety of experience in communications and marketing within corporate and charitable sectors in the UK. She lives in Hackney, London, is a bit of a tea fanatic and is also a very good map reader.

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Originally published at www.huckleberrypartners.com on December 31, 2015.