In my previous blog I gave you six reasons why I won’t be making New Year Resolutions, and how I needed to add meaning to the coming year. Since then, it’s been on my mind, so I’ve made myself a list of course!
So make a turkey sandwich, pour yourself a glass of your favourite festive tipple and have a read…

It’s a Wonderful Life…

Watching the character of George Bailey learning how he’d touched so many lives and how different life in his hometown of Bedford Falls would have been if he’d never been born is emotional, heart-warming and a valuable life lesson for us all. Feeling as though your life has purpose will immediately give it meaning. When I wrote my Dad’s eulogy two years ago, I drew a great deal of comfort from describing with pride, a life well lived, full of diverse interests, enriched by a thirst for knowledge and adored by his family. The last time I spoke to him, he described his own ‘wonderful life’, his proudest achievement being ‘our little unit of four’. Who wouldn’t want to reflect upon their own wonderful journey when the time comes.So maybe I should picture myself at a ripe, old age (hopefully!), reflecting on my life. Am I on the right path now? Or maybe I could start a journal, writing about both the things that give me energy, pleasure and a sense of purpose, and the things that don’t. A good starting point!

Just what is important to me…

No two lists will ever be the same, we all have different goals and priorities essential to making life meaningful. I plan to name five things that are important to me and then consider whether the way I currently live my life aligns with these things, and if not, what and how do I change to incorporate what’s important to me? Like most people, family and health will feature, but I’m also thinking about personal development, helping others and embracing a new hobby or interest.

Why do I feel the need to add more meaning? 

We all have our reasons for wanting to change, and losing my Dad certainly shook my safe, little world to the core. Understanding the ‘why’ has helped me make sense of my thoughts. Some might say that having a sense of purpose increases quality of life, and may help you to live longer. Watching my Dad approach his cancer fight with purpose certainly gave him inner strength and longer time. I’m learning that meaning isn’t the same as happiness, I’m happy, but I don’t think I’m living a meaningful life. Then again, I know people who are leading lives packed with meaning and purpose, yet they are always yearning for happiness and contentment. I need to find my balance.

I need to set some goals…

I need to think about something I’ve always wanted to do, or be. I’ve always wanted to write a book, I’ve always wanted to be thinner and fitter. But I understand I need to break this down into smaller, manageable goals in order to get there. The advice here is to keep a diary or journal to chart progress, re-motivate myself if I need to and of course to celebrate success!

I need to be grateful…

I spend too much time worrying about what I don’t have, when of course I’d be better off being grateful for what I do have, easy to say, harder to do! In the moments after his death, I remember a lovely lady approaching me in the hospice where Dad spent his final hours and she asked me if I’d like to spent some time in the ‘Room of Remembrance’, just sitting quietly, just ‘being’. For those moments of calm amidst raw grief I was grateful. I’m grateful I now have a very fulfilling job that allows me to develop my creativity and knowledge whilst never expecting me to work ridiculously long hours at the expense of my home life. Learning to be grateful will help when bad things come along and will help me find meaning.

I need to ask for help…

As a Mental Health First Aider I now understand how easy it can be to get caught up in our own thoughts, and talking to a trusted person, close friend or family member can help bring perspectiveI also understand that talking to someone with professional training can bring unbiased perspective. Thankfully the stigma of mental health is being smashed on a daily basis – we all need a little unbiased perspective from time to time!

I need to become a better listener…

I tend to dive in too quickly, I always want to ‘make things better’, ‘fix it’ and fill the ‘awkward’ silence! I’m lucky that our Founder is on a mission to develop people’s listening skills – Kelly Swingler, “I’m in!”

I need to set boundaries….

We all know that sometimes having close relationships can be challenging…really challenging! But despite the stress, unless they are physically or mentally abusive, relationships develop a sense of meaning. And I know I would really benefit from practising being assertive, whilst still respecting the needs of others.

I need to become more compassionate…

I am hugely compassionate towards others, but I’ve reflected that I do lack compassion towards myself! I need to remember that it’s ok if I make a mistake, I’m unnecessarily harsh on myself. The Dalai Lama said “Compassion is what makes our lives meaningful.” And you don’t argue with the Dalai Lama do you!

I need to be brave…

I don’t mean throwing myself out of a plane or holding a tarantula. I mean taking the long, hard look at myself and being really honest about how I live my life. We all know deep down that fear is often what keeps us doing what we really want to do. If I want to shake up the daily routine then I need to ‘face the fear!’
So there it is, my ten-point plan. Wish me luck, encourage me, ask me how I’m doing, and good luck with whatever you’ve planned for 2019.

Sue Alty – The Creative Coordinator

Contact Sue

We think Sue must be a ‘Master of the Dark Arts’, as she has hidden depths! Running our office with meticulous planning and capability, Sue is an avid list writer with a keen eye for detail. But don’t be fooled by that organised demeanour, for Sue is as creative as she is efficient! A skilled communicator with a humorous edge, Sue is as passionate about people and their learning and development as she is about becoming the future Mrs Tom Hardy or Mrs Benedict Cumberbatch (either will do!).  An interesting career path has taken her from the glamour of working in luxury London hotels to the chilled Distribution Centres of supermarket retail, and whether managing small groups or large teams, people are at the heart of everything Sue does.