What is 2016 going to look like for you?

have a vision

I have VISION and I intend to follow it! Will you join me?

Having a vision is far more important to happiness than setting resolutions on New Year’s Eve. I’ve never been one for resolutions but in the past I never really went into the New Year with a clear focus on what I wanted to change or what I wanted to achieve.

Being in a relationship that didn’t allow me to have my own goals or achievements meant I stopped thinking about the future. I just lived each day as it came and all I wanted was for each day to be better than the last.

Looking back, New Year’s Eve has always made me feel optimistic about the future, yet I never knew what my new year would look like. I guess I had an idea of what I wanted for my life but felt it hopeless to dream about the future and the things I wanted for my family when I quite honestly knew it would never be that way in that situation.

Going into the new years eve of 2010/2011 I felt slightly more optimistic about the future than I had the previous 2 years, though the lead up to it was not great. I had had issues with my partner and had taken our then 18month old son away for a few days. He begged for us to come back and promised the world to us of course. We returned home and as a family went into the family fireworks to enjoy the New Year celebrations. It was a great night and it was preceded with a few great days. Little did I know that I had fell pregnant with our daughter during this time.

By the following New Year we had separated, our daughter just 3 months old!

After the separation I had a vision for how I wanted things to be with their dad and was still full of hope that we could put the domestic violence behind us. I think I wore rose coloured glasses. I hoped that we could have a connected family, that we could get along, communicate and parent sided by side even without being in a relationship. I guess I just didn’t understand the full impact of family violence.

My hopes could not be a reality in our situation.

By 2014 I had come to terms with this and had started focusing on myself and the future I could provide for our kids. My new year’s thoughts revolved around making life easier and better for us, about earning money and pursuing my dreams.

The ending of a close family friendship early that year turned things upside down a bit for me initially. I didn’t really have a set vision for my life anymore and I didn’t know where we were headed. I looked for opportunities to help guide the way. Later that year I decided to do further study and started my handmade business Remake It in the hope I could earn a bit of extra money. I thought I had it all sorted.

But by the middle of the year I began to feel the pressure of enrolling my son into school for 2015. It was something I just didn’t want to think about. The decision was too hard and I had to make it on my own. Would I get it right, did I want to live where we were for the next 6 years, would this be our life and so on, where the questions I asked myself. I talked with my counsellor about it but I couldn’t gain any clarity and months went by. Then I started looking at what I want for my life, our life, the life of my kids. What was important to me, what did I need to fill the gaps in my life. How could I get what I needed and achieve what I wanted.

today-tomorrow

I realised I needed to talk with my family about what support they could offer and I discussed moving to better our position, to provide my son with a better education. And this was when I started looking at New Year’s resolutions differently. It was about having a vision and setting goals or intentions to achieve that vision.

I looked at lots of things online about goals, intentions, making commitments and resolutions. The future was still a bit uncertain and I didn’t really know how the move would go but I decided that I needed to make the commitment to moving in order to make the changes for our life that I had visioned. I committed to having a red hot go at my handmade business for 12 months and I had the goal of making a small income from it by the end of the year.

It was quite surprising for me to read the initial goal I had written back at the beginning of the year to realise I have achieved that goal. My commitment paid off, and whilst I don’t actually make a living from it I am pleased with where I have come. I have made the most of our move, I have made friends despite thinking I hadn’t and I have had a fulfilling year volunteering my time at school.

I have a vision and I am working toward this every day now.

For 2016 my aim is not to just set a goal and achieve it but to actually pursue my vision and purpose in life more directly. I have looked at what I want to change about the future and I intend to set out to make those changes.

I’ve had so many things going on this year, I really spread myself to thin at times and I know with my plans for next year nothing will be to different but I want to be a more present and mindful parent, I want to make more connections and I want to succeed at my study and be able to spread happiness through life and this blog.

I have set the intentions, I have stated it to myself, I have written it down and before the New Year even arrives I will start working on them.

Here are the 3 things I have used this year to help get clear on my vision for 2016. I don’t get anything out of sharing them with you, I just think they are great, they have made it easy for me to think about what is important and I wanted to share them with you.

  1. Commitment – by Alexandra Franzen
  2. new years resolutions/goals – by 30 handmade days
  3. new years resolutions – kids – I did this because its more detailed than the adult version with a section to review 2015 and even though she calls them resolutions they are noting like the standard resolution such as ‘loose weight’ that most people tend to make.

I hope you enjoy them and remember …

Don’t set resolutions this new year, have a vision it will help you find happiness within!

Until next week…

Be Happy!

 

 

 

 

 

Why understanding my core values & beliefs helped shape my happiness

And how you can identify yours.

Week 2

I’ve really struggled getting started writing this post, I’m not sure why at the moment but I’m sure I will have clarity by the end. I have heaps of notes down about how knowing my values and beliefs has impacted my life but I am not sure how to bring it all together. Yet I don’t think that is what I’m struggling with most. Anyway…

your-beliefs-voices

They are the drivers in your life whether you think it or not. They are often so ingrained in us once we are adults that we just go about our lives not even realising they exist.

Both our values and beliefs come from our parents, family and childhood. This doesn’t mean to say that you will have the same set of values as your parents or a particular set of values because you were raised in a certain way, but it is likely that they will be similar or polar opposites from my experience.

Everyone has different values, sometimes we share a value with someone and that is why we connect and sometimes it’s our beliefs that allow us to get along. We all have a top set of values that show up in almost everything we do in our lives.

Do you know what your values are?

Values are things like acceptance, compassion, equality, respect, authority, honesty and the like. Whereas belief are things like: A child should be seen and not heard; or a woman’s place is in the home; or you are not smart enough to be a doctor. I would describe them as, beliefs are the thoughts and values are the feelings and they more often than not go hand in hand.

After leaving the relationship with the kids dad and moving into a new house I realised I had completely lost myself. I didn’t know what I enjoyed and I didn’t find joy in things. I had stopped doing anything that I had liked to do and I more importantly didn’t know what it was that I believed in.

I found the Pinterest app for my phone and that started the ball rolling with finding joy again. I loved that I could pin things for later reference and one of my early pins was about finding your core values. This is the link I pinned, http://jennyhoople.com/blog/how-to-find-your-core-values/

I pinned it because I didn’t know what my values were, I had entered the relationship with a mixed set of values and beliefs. I wanted to be a stay at home mum but I didn’t want to be a slave to the kitchen, I wanted to contribute to the house but not just in a motherly way. I loved raising my son and being his teacher but I didn’t see this as something I would do forever.

Once I became a single parent all those values and beliefs no longer seemed relevant. I had to make our life better, I couldn’t just sit around and have someone pay our way but everything was muddled up, how could I make the right decisions for mine and the kids futures if I didn’t know what I value and believe.

The exercise was a little unclear at this time, I didn’t really know how to pin point my values. I was still really foggy from the separation and the trauma but I think it always remained in the back of my mind, as many things came up that made me begin questioning my values and beliefs.

One such thing was a session at support group based around Tony Robbins theory of the 6 human needs. It wasn’t until looking at the homework question later on, that got me thinking about it more. Our peer educator asked us in the work sheet to “discover your priorities in life & how you can best fulfil them in a sustainable way.” She asked a few questions all relating back to the 6 needs and the final question was about which 2 needs are most important to you.

I think the core needs link to your values and beliefs as without them you can’t determine which need has a greater importance to you. I wasn’t able to determine the answer but I did take it with me to counselling and talk over it further.

It wasn’t until doing the parent manifesto program that I mentioned last week that I was actually able to pin point my values. It wasn’t that easy and when faced with a list like this I found it pretty hard to narrow it down. Parent manifest and most other people or programs with information on personal values suggest to pick 5-10 values. Jodie Benveniste reminds you to pick them based on what you DO value rather than what you think you SHOULD value.

personal-values-examples-list-download core-values-example-list

I saw this to mean that even though I got bought up influenced by the value of conformity say, that I actually value assertiveness. That even though I was in a relationship where Power was the greatest value at play, my values are deeply embedded in Respect and Equality.

When I finally finished this exercise (that was meant to be simple) a week later I had a top 10 list that looked like this;

  • Awareness
  • Compassion
  • Confidence
  • Equality
  • Honesty
  • Patience
  • Reciprocity
  • Respect
  • Self-development
  • Supportiveness

I have since come to realise that this list for me is by no means fixed and there are things like independence, family, connection, commitment, contribution, persistence, open-mindedness and communication that come into play for me when dealing with life situations. Maybe I should change up my list but there is nothing on there that I want to take away.

The flexibility of my values comes down to my beliefs!

Some of my beliefs that have had significant impact on my life is that ‘women are equal.’ I think I believe in this because I was raised mostly by my mum who had fought for this as a young woman with studying and following a career rather than doing what was expected of her by society with the general belief that a woman’s place was in the home.

I value Equality because of these beliefs and from seeing that it can and does exist in both scenarios.

In relationship I particularly value communication. I do not believe that children should be seen and not heard so I get really annoyed when they don’t talk to me or can’t tell me how they feel because I want to hear them. Likewise with their dad I found it particularly hard when I knew something was up but he wouldn’t talk to me about it. I always get along with people who are good talkers and I find it a real struggle to make conversation with shy people. I believe that things, often important things get lost in a lack of communication.

A strong work ethic is something I have developed, I work hard no matter where it is I have made a commitment, be it a job, volunteer position or at home. If I have made a commitment to my family or friends I stick to it and I believe you should always put in 100%. I probably need to work on the commitment to myself though.

“Knowing my values and understanding my beliefs has allowed me to find myself again.

It gave me clarity around why I found things annoying, it made me understand why I thought the way I thought and behaved the way I behaved. Getting clarity on my values made me realise why and how I had gotten myself into a domestic violence relationship and it made me relieved that I had gotten out of that relationship for the future of my kids.

It hasn’t always made things easy though as I have a couple of really strong values that often conflict with each other and put me in a situation where I don’t like to be. I then feel down and have to work hard to pull myself out of that slump.

The positive is that now I can use my values and beliefs as a guiding light for turning that slump around.

I had good intentions of making a pretty poster for my wall and until today had never finished it but I do have my values in the parent manifesto book, in a journal and on the computer. I often look at them to remind me of what is important, to understand what is driving me in a particular situation or to remind me of what I need to improve on and I have added to the list as new values arise.

Having this list of values and knowing my beliefs has stopped me overthinking negative feelings or situations. It helps me to keep moving forward in difficult times. I think I have really only mastered this skill this year and its only because I have had issues with an intimate relationship and friendships that I have learnt to use it to turn the negative feelings into a positive via my values.

Have you gained any clarity about what your values are or those big driving beliefs?

I think it’s also important to recognise any negative beliefs you might have as well. If you have been in a domestic violence relationship often your partner will have put you down with comments about your weight or looks or even your values and beliefs. Don’t hold onto those negative beliefs, make sure when you assess your values and beliefs that they are your own. Don’t shy away from them, stand up and believe in them as they are;

What make you who you are!

What make you valuable!

What makes you worth knowing!

 

Are you ready to find your values?

If you are ready to identify your values you can use the list above as a starting point. If you’re not sure what a word means then looking it up in the dictionary can help. Ask yourself questions about situations that have occurred in your life. Dig deeper into them and look at what is at the core of it, like I have to understand why I think women are equal. Or for example with patience, it’s on my list because I am forever telling the kids to wait and not be in such a hurry, because I am able to wait in line or for the things I want calmly, because when I was at uni the international students would come to me for help and I was able to show them patience and because I wish I had more patience with my kids.

If the list is not extensive enough you can find more online and you can add your own words like I have done with awareness, confidence and communication.

When it comes to your beliefs consider what things where like when you were growing up, the things your parents used to tell you or the way they expected you to behave. Look at what you currently do in your life, with your children are you hard on them about certain things. Do you have people that rub you up the wrong way, why did you have an issue with the way they treated you or the way they behave. What is it that gets you down and what is it that you think when you are down. These things will likely be your beliefs.

I found it helpful to write everything that came into my head down and then over the week I went through them to narrow it down. I looked at what was really important to me from the list. I crossed out the one that didn’t get me fired up, that didn’t make me feel motivated, and that didn’t make me smile or feel good. You could write them on an A4 piece of paper and stick them on your wall for a few days and see if the really resonate with you as you go about your daily task. Don’t let it take over your whole being but perhaps at the end of each day take 5 minutes to reflect and think about what showed up in the things you did.

Remember it’s not set in stone, it’s not a tattoo, if you think something is not right then it can be changed and you might find like me that your values are flexible and ebb and flow depending on the day.

I hope that finding your values and understanding your beliefs can help you move forward in your life.

Until next week…

Be happy!

 

If happiness is a journey, where do you begin?

Week 1

Today!

right-here-right-now

It’s easy to just keep spinning along in life after a traumatic experience or when you feel depressed but from my experience I ended up feeling so overwhelmed by it. I could feel I wasn’t going anywhere, I wasn’t getting any better but I didn’t really know what to do.

I don’t remember now where it was first, but at both a family violence support group and during the first weeks of the Parent Manifesto program I was asked to evaluate my life, beginning where it was now. I thought

“this is pointless, I know where my life is now, there is nothing good about it.”

Both tasks took a different approach to basically the same thing. At the support group we used a life wheel approach like my one below and rated 8 areas of life out of 10. However Jodie Benveniste the author of Parent Manifesto asks you to write drown the things that are GOOD right now in the areas of love, children, family, work, friends, health, finances and leisure.

I don’t remember filing out anything on the worksheet from parent manifesto and as you can see in my sample the ratings weren’t great in areas either.

Though it was easier for me to give the areas of life a rating rather than finding what was good in my life at the time of doing the course in early 2013.  I didn’t really feel much gratitude for anything back then! But when I was doing the life wheel I was able to see that I had enough money to get by and that I was lucky to have a nice place to live in. So my life wheel below reflects my feelings about where my life was at, at that time.

my-life-wheel-2012
this wheel shows the comparison from late 2012/early 2013 to now. In week 9 I talk about reflection and will discuss the comparison

 

The best thing about starting the journey to happiness at this point, where you are now, using something like the life wheel or the weighing up your life exercise is that it allows you to see the areas of greatest need in your life.

For me I needed to improve my physical, emotional and mental health, I didn’t feel fulfilled just being a parent and I was a long way off my vision for life.

So this evaluation is where I began my journey. I didn’t take off running, trying to fix all areas at once though. I sat with it for a bit, I thought about what I could do to improve the areas. I opened my mind and my heart and I looked for things that would help.

I think doing this kind of evaluation is the best starting point for changing your life. No matter how you currently feel about your situation. It allows you to understand how you can move forward. It gives you insight and awareness on how you feel about where you are right now. And it’s the perfect place to start the happiness journey.

Are you ready to evaluate your life…

If you are ready, to evaluate your life NOW then you can use my life wheel below or find one that suits you on google. You could simply grab a journal and write the areas down and put a number next to them. Whatever you do, when you are ready too, keep it safe so you can look back on it later to review where you have come from and how far you have moved on your journey.

wheel-of-life-happiness-scale
download your copy now

 

 

Don’t try to overhaul your life overnight. Instead focus on making one small change at a time. Over time those small changes will add up to big transformations. DON’T GIVE UP!  – unknown

 

Until next week …

Be happy!

The Essential things for finding happiness

Begin and end with you!

Happiness is something that I’ve worked really hard for, as you can read in my story next week it’s something that has eluded me for most of my life, I’m 38 now! I thought I was happy last year but when I look back now, I know that I wasn’t really happy and even as I sit here today I know there is still so much more happiness to be enjoyed. Happiness really is a journey and the more you have the more you want. But when you have experienced trauma, difficult relationships or childhood, suffer depression or anxiety it really is a process that takes constant work.

it-will-be-worth-it

There have been many people, business and tools that have contributed to my understanding and journey and I will at some stage share them all with you through this blog.

Before I started on the road to happiness it felt like my life was on the spin cycle, I really had stopped thinking about anything but the daily grind, I had stopped living and was just existing! I remember sitting in front of the TV watching but not even really being aware of what was on.

Things didn’t changed for me because one day I had a light bulb moment and suddenly snapped out of it. I always knew I didn’t want to be where I was but I needed time to just take each day as it came and allow myself to grieve the loss.

I love this passage from ‘Chicken soup for the soul-find your happiness’ by Angela Sayers

“…when something happens that reroutes your entire life and the direction you were going previously, its normal to grieve and be sad. Because I believe that whenever you go through a difficult time, it changes you. It changes the way you think and perceive things, and the first step to acceptance of the new reality, whatever it is, is to mourn the past and the person you used to be.”

I couldn’t have said it any better and that’s why I share her story, and like she goes on to say I believe too, that when you are ready you will find the next step to happiness that suits your needs.

it all starts with where you are now!

For me the process really started with honestly evaluating where my life was at. Which at the time seemed a really ridiculous thing to do because I thought I knew where it was at, and that was that it was shit, there was nothing good in my life, I felt like crap, I struggled to get out of bed, I had no energy and I was sad and angry and crying a lot. But in doing this evaluation I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t really all doom and gloom, so this is the point for which I start the blogs 13 week series of posts.

I believe though the thing that’s really changed my life is having enough awareness to question my thoughts, feeling and behaviour and gaining more awareness about the situations my life presents. I think if you are not naturally an inquisitive, analytical or thinking kind of person that you can develop that awareness by working through the steps I’ve used such as understanding who you really are, what your core values and belief are and developing a vision for your life. Finding your support network or tribe, indulging in self-care, practicing acceptance and forgiveness, and by making changes or being the change you need and then taking the time to reflect on where you are now and where you used to be.be-gentle

The journey to finding happiness within is about one step at a time and if at times you slip and take two steps back just as I have done many times, once you understand what makes you happy and unhappy you have the power and awareness to change it. It gets easier every day and every time something sets you back, because you know the things you need to do.

I’ve made huge progress this year through conflict, self-doubt and feelings of loneliness just by remembering the steps I’ve used, asking myself questions and remembering the truth. I am truly happy for the first time in my life!

It feels good to go to bed at night and to feel content, to not be worrying about something from yesterday, today or about tomorrow and the future. It’s good to be able to have momentary down times and to now be able to pick myself up and quickly process it and move on. I’ve found little things don’t bug me as much anymore and that means every day is better and happier and more fun.

I am excited about sharing this happiness with you and hope that I can share not just how I’ve achieved it but what it actually means for my life also. I hope that my story can help you find your own path to happiness and that my steps are a guide to you finding what works for you and that it helps to make you and your life a better.

the 13 week series begins on December 14th so if you want to keep reading about my journey then please follow the blog to receive email updates on posts each week.

thanks x