Lessons Learned in 2019

I hope everyone is more prepared for the holidays than I am! I will be spending the next few days frantically finishing my shopping, wrapping and meal planning. While I love this time of year, it is often a bit frantic. I think of the holidays as PACE on steroids. We have more pleasure with dinners and parties, we accomplish more as we prepare and organize, we connect more with family and friends, and hopefully, we exercise more to stay sane!

I am not someone who loves New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps I’m impatient, but I tend to focus on a problem when I’m ready and not at the start of the year. That said, I do love to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned over the past year. I like to think about what worked and what didn’t. I like to remind myself of my overarching goals and recommit to the work. Sometimes I have to let things go. Sometimes I have to evaluate my resistance or work through my fears.

In this week’s podcast, I reflect on the past year. I had a big aha moment recently, when I realized that I have been exhausted. As I assessed why, I learned something big about myself. I have a tendency to think I’m adding pleasure to my life, when I’m actually adding more accomplishment. Taking on too many things, no matter how exciting they are, can lead to fatigue.

Here are some of the things I learned this year.

~ Happiness requires checking in and assessing things regularly. Our lives change and what worked for a while might not work anymore.

~ Time and patience are imperative for creating change. I came into this work with an imaginary timeline in my head. It should take a year or two to finish a book and get it published, right? It was based on nothing but my desire to have everything done in a particular amount of time. Expectations are bad. I know this but I have to learn it over and over. As I’ve let them go, I am enjoying the journey more.

~ Creativity is important for everyone. I used to believe that only certain people were creative, and creativity was innate. I had ideas all the time, but I wrote them off. Now I know that we are all creative and that expressing our ideas is what make us unique. Expressing your creativity, however that looks, leads to feeling alive and awake.

~ Gratitude is the game changer. It can change your experiences and make them more enjoyable. No matter what I’m doing, if I take 20 seconds to think about why I’m grateful for it, I change how much I enjoyed it, even after the fact. If I go for a run and then feel grateful that I am still capable of it, I enjoy the run more. It’s that simple.

Recently, I was walking with a good friend who told me her daughter listens to all my podcasts and loves them. She even tells her friends to listen. I must say, it made my year. I have known my friend’s daughter since she was a toddler, but never knew she listened. During both seasons of this podcast, it took one story to make all the work worthwhile. There is power in feeling gratitude, power in expressing gratitude and power in accepting gratitude. I am genuinely grateful to everyone who has inspired me, helped me and supported me this year.

You can listen to me talk through this in the podcast by clicking ‘play’ below or in the following places:

iTunes
Spotify
Google Play
Stitcher

Happy holidays and many thanks,

Shannon Connery, Ph.D.

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