numbers-1768348_640How is 2017 going for you?

I’m writing this on ‘Blue Monday’, the third Monday in January.emoticon-937608_1280

According to Caroline Webb’s article in The Telegraph, those of us who are in the UK today are “experiencing the bleakest day of the year … so named for its potent combination of cold nights and post-Christmas melancholy.”

She makes some good points and has some helpful suggestions on ways in which we can lift our mood, including how we might “… lift the way you remember a day by asking yourself one simple question at the end of it: ‘What went well today?’…”

I particularly like this one, as I do think most of us tend to focus on what went wrong or what we think we did badly at the expense of acknowledging and celebrating what we’re good at, what we did well and what we have learned.

Another element in the mixture for many of us today is how we’re doing with New Year resolutions.

Did you make any? If so, how are you doing? It’s right about now when many people start to find things hard(er), lapse, relapse or give up.

And we do tend to look at these things in absolute terms, too – as success or failure.

What if we looked at it, instead, as a car journey with a start point and a destination in mind – which might change?

During our journey we might encounter an obstacle that we hadn’t foreseen – an accident, traffic jam, flat tyre, breakdown (any difficulty, in fact) – which can turn out to be harder to deal with than we originally thought it would be.

We might learn what doesn’t work for us, and perhaps need to consider a different route (strategy) that might work better. We might realise that we need some extra fuel (help) or someone else to share the driving, perhaps (some company, support, extra motivation) or we might make an unexpected discovery – stumble upon a route (a different way of doing things) that works much better, is faster – or more fun. Or we might just need to accept that the journey will take longer than we originally planned – that we will get there, but later.

Perhaps we will decide that the original destination no longer appeals or is no longer appropriate and aim for somewhere else instead…

Forging new habits can be hard work – particularly if we also need to ‘un-learn’ old ones. But we can make things easier for ourselves with a bit of reflection on what makes us tick.

I liked Gretchen Rubin’s recent article in the Guardian in which she talked about her “Four Tendencies” Framework in which  she suggests we look at our own natural tendencies and how these might help or hinder our success – whether we might be an “… Upholder … Questioner … Obliger …. [or] Rebel …”.  She explains these as:

” … Upholders respond readily to both outer expectations and inner expectations … find[ing] it fairly easy to change their habits …  Questioners question all expectations … To stick to a habit, they need reasons … Obligers respond readily to outer expectations but struggle to meet inner expectations … they need outer accountability … [and] Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike … they need choice and freedom.”

Thinking about what our own tendencies might be can help us review what works for us, and what doesn’t. Why make things difficult when we could play to our strengths and preferences and make life easier?

Finally, a bit of fun for those of you who are interested in the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator® (MBTI), the following resolutions might make you smile on Blue Monday – or any other day:

TypeTable (2).jpg

Published here with kind permission from OPP.