Tuesday, 29 January 2013

January Jitters

January is such a miserable month and thankfully it is almost at an end.. It would be quite easy to be down in the dumps until you realize that at least you don’t have to struggle to work and you can do what you want to do without asking permission!  You are retired!
Although the month is grim organizing yourself into productive frame of mind provides some solace. When I was busy coaching people we would often examine some of the reasons for feeling negative.  Sometimes sadly life changing events play a significant part in negative outlook but there may be other compelling reasons as to why individuals feel the way they do. In retirement I would argue that you have more license to bring about a change for the better.  Maybe it means you don’t tolerate things as much as you would have done in the past!

Here are some thoughts /actions which may resonate with you….

Take control
In an earlier post I mentioned the importance of a framework?  Mapping out the things you want to do in the months ahead may help in actually getting them to happen.  Book your holidays and make diary entries for your interests, family and friends. This helps to make you feel in control and that you are doing the things you want to do.  You make things happen rather than things happen to you. Your agenda is important.

Set objectives
This is starting to sound like management speak.  However when you have tasks or interests you wish to pursue applying the same work principles will help to make sure they get done!   Here is one of the tools of the trade. I know former colleagues will groan when I mention  “SMART “ which stands for
Specific, Measureable,  Attainable/Achievable , Realistic and Time bound. If you are not familiar with this  - - just google SMART – there are many articles which ill explain in detail how you can turn vague aspirations into something more concrete.  You can demonstrate what success looks like and know when you have achieved what you set out to do!
Surround yourself with positive people
Wherever possible seek out and nurture relationships with people who have a positive outlook on life - bound to give you a lift! The energy form these people is so motivating and infectious!

Distance yourself from negative people
By negative people here I don’t mean those who have occasional lapses – I mean the people who energetically look for the downsides.  Their conversations are littered with “buts”. We talk about the “glass is half empty” people – those who never seem to be happy or indeed want to be.  They will make you feel miserable!

Avoid the nasties!
As we get older we realize that there are people are not very nice and may be hostile to you.  Sometimes we can avoid them completely but sometimes all we can do is to limit contact. It’s a general realization that whatever you do it won’t turn the situation around.
Let me give you an example.  I have a friend and a former colleague who I will call Sarah to save her blushes. Sarah is very kind and generous and loves working with people and is very popular. She had a great deal of interaction at work with a woman who she felt she must have offended at some time as the woman was stoney faced and didn’t engage in conversation unless it was absolutely necessary.  Sarah said that she was going to address this as she felt it was an issue.  I had distinct reservations about this. Sarah went to see her and quite openly said that she felt maybe they had got off on the wrong foot and was there anything Sarah had done which might have caused upset. The woman responded quite bluntly saying  “no I just don’t like you”.  Sarah returned devastated and it took a long time to understand that the fault was not with her but with someone who was rude and had few social skills and for whatever reason for the dislike – was it worth exploring? Save your energy for the “goodies”. Thankfully these instances are rare!

Learn to say “no”
This is something I truly have had to work on over the years.  Part of my job was to encourage assertiveness and engender confidence only to find myself falling into the trap of agreeing to do things I really didn’t want to do out of politeness and not wishing to offend. So it has been a case of “physician heal thyself”. It is so empowering to use the word “no”. Practice saying it! Who wants to be a doormat?

Give yourself a pat on the back – just look at what you have achieved in your life and build on this – you have come a long way!
Onwards and upwards!! Happy days J