It seems somewhat obligatory to do some kind of self-assessment at this time of year. Mine was influenced by this website, but I didn’t follow all the steps or do it “properly.” As is normal for me, I evaluated it and used it to inform my own interpretation of the process, paring the product of the process down to the essentials.
1 New Year’s Resolution (Apply to all years of life):
Learn from previous years of life and act on what has been learnt, with the goal of making this year happier and healthier than it would be otherwise.
I am aware that this falls down when measured against S.M.A.R.T. goal setting. It is not Specific or Measureable. On the other hand it is Achievable, Relevant and Time-limited, and I think A and R are the most important parts, so I will not be adjusting it to make it SMARTer.
So what have I learnt, in my 34.5 years so far? Whoops, that question was far too broad. Let’s try again.
What have I learnt so far that is relevant to the goal of being happier and healthier? I think the most valuable relevant lesson is that my brain and my body have an unwritten user manual that is very different from “Everyman’s” manual. And not only because I am not a man!
I have learnt many different things that help me understand my secret user manual. There are chapters labelled Introvert, Menstruating Female, Detail Focus, Complex Feeding Requirements and Sleeping. There are other chapters where I’m starting to see the text, but don’t have a handy heading to put on it yet. The lesson here is that instead of quoting Everyman’s manual, and stating for example that as I put 8 hours sleep in I have achieved the requisite number, I need to look at my own manual and read the cross-references and scribbled notes in the margin to see that my sleep need will change based on physical exertion, mental state, menstrual cycle, etc., etc., etc. I also have to accept that the manual will change as I go through life. I don’t have all the answers, but thinking about my user manual being unique to me is a very powerful tool that I can use to my advantage. Once I understand that my needs are different from other people’s I can act on them, communicate them and advocate for myself to ensure life is a little healthier and a little happier for me.
The biggest new chapter I revealed this year is to do with sensory sensitivities. I discovered that there is a new shop in town with florescent lighting that makes me feel physically sick because it is so bright and harsh. I feel like I will throw up if I stay in that shop for even the shortest amount of time. Seeing other people able to happily shop in it helped me to see that this is an area where my manual differs from theirs, and so to ask where else in the sensory ranges I differ from them? Thinking about sounds encouraged me to try some Active Noise Cancelling headphones, which are fantastic for cutting low frequency background noise. I am now wearing them around the house (sadly they would not be considered office-appropriate) and my down-time is so much more positive for it.
So I head into this new year armed with a single resolution – to make good use of my imaginary secret user manual and other things I have learned to make 2016 happier and healthier than it would otherwise be.