To download the worksheet mentioned in the video (values exercise from The Happiness Trap), click here.
This year, do you want to make a change to the way you live?
If you're like most people, the answer is a resounding yes. Maybe you want to finally get fit, change career or learn to play the guitar.
The new year gives us a chance to reflect and redefine what's important to us. It gives us a brief moment of pause in the midst of the chaos, and the possibility of steering the ship of our lives in a new direction.
But there's a problem. Isn't this the case every year?
January rolls around. Gyms are packed. We've organised our calendar. We've clarified our goals. We've made our new years resolutions and we're ready to roll.
Yet embarrassingly, this proves to be a mere flash in the pan and by March we're eating way too much sugar, our guitar is gathering dust and our workout routine is as unpredictable as a chimp with a hockey stick.
Why do we do it?
What do YOU want?
I won't claim to know an all definitive answer to this question. Human motivation is a complex subject, so I'll just share something I've learned from my time running on the new years resolution hamster wheel.
And it can be boiled down to a simple observation.
We get what we truly want, and we resist getting what we don't want.
There it is. Seems simple doesn't it? I assure you that it isn't. You see, knowing what we truly want is often the hardest and most difficult part.
You might ask, why don't we know what we want already?
What we think we should want and what we really want can be two completely different things. It's possible to think you want something but not want it at all.
For example, you might THINK that you want a six pack (like I once did) just because you think it'll get you laid or make you respected in the eyes of others but in actual fact, YOU don't actually care that much about your physique.
The problem is, what we think we should want is often the result of cultural conditioning. We're told from a really young age what's important (status, money, success, fame etc) whilst something deep within us vehemently disagrees.
And if it isn't self-evidently a bad idea, here are two main issues I have with going towards goals you don't really want:
1) You'll struggle to attain it. Self-sabotage, procrastination and wildly inconsistent energy/motivation will be signs that you're moving in a direction you don't desire.
2) If you do, it won't fulfill you. There are countless examples of people enslaved by their conditioning, ceaselessly charging towards goals they don't really care about, only to achieve them and feel nothing.
So for myself instead of setting knee-jerk goals this year, I changed tactic.
The results have been immediate, and I'm going to share it with you.
Dig Deep, Find Gold
Around December, I finished a book called The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris.
It's an absolute banger of a book. If you want to know a (ikario approved) practical approach to managing negative thoughts and painful feeling to live a fulfilling and meaningful life, I highly recommend it.
In the final section of the book, Harriss emphasizes the importance of knowing our values. Your values are the things that are the most important to you in life.
We all have values, but we don't all live by them. Harriss argues that the degree to which we are living in alignment with our values determines, in large part, our life quality.
In the book, there's a questionnaire that helps you clarify what your values are. To help you out, I've put it into a PDF which I have included for free below.
If you want to make a powerful and lasting change. If you want to really do something different this year, I highly recommend that you download this PDF and spend a week filling it out.
When you have better clarity on what's really important to you, you'll be in a better position to actually achieve your goals and they might actually fulfill you when you do.