By Geneviève Guité
February 2 is Groundhog Day, and it obviously reminds me of the movie of the same name, where Phil Connors is stuck in time, until he gives meaning to his life. You see me coming... that's another great metaphor to explore!
Do you ever feel stuck, with the feeling of being at the same point, year after year? To feel that all the good things only happen to others while you are stuck? Or to recognize patterns in your life that make you unhappy?
These are the symptoms of groundhog day syndrome.
Here are some questions to get you started:
What do I feel like I no longer have control over?
What do I tolerate that makes me unhappy?
What has made me dissatisfied in recent years?
What has been on my list of resolutions for a long time and cannot be resolved?
What was important to me that I gave up or abandoned?
What do I tend to blame people around me for?
What keeps me so firmly anchored in my comfort zone?
One courageous decision at a time
Every day we make a multitude of small decisions that do not really seem to have an impact on our lives and happiness, at least in the medium and long term. It's like the torture of the water drop. A few drops have no impact, but in the long run it becomes unbearable.
One day you wake up and you're unhappy, and you don't really know why because the process has settled quietly without you noticing it. Our daily decisions have led us to this increasingly uncomfortable place, but it is still reassuring enough to prevent us from reacting. And the further you go in this state, the harder it is to imagine getting out, and the death spiral starts to spin faster and faster.
Making one courageous decision at a time, no matter how small, by giving it all the importance it should have, can make all the difference. Expressing your point of view on something that is close to your heart, having a difficult conversation with a colleague, attending your training session despite fatigue, not cracking in front of the candy counter at the end of the day, putting aside your guilt and taking time for yourself, saying no, not letting others manage your agenda... are all examples of decisions you make, or not, every day.
What would be different today if in the last year you had made a courageous decision every day?
Dizzying up playing fireman
Many people tolerate the torture of the drop of water every day because they are afraid to leave their comfort zone. All the reasons are good, and the busier you are, the more you avoid facing reality.
It is never the right time to invest in developing new skills or to accept a sporting challenge that takes us out of our comfort zone, because we are far too busy at the office or too busy with life's daily routine. Putting out fires all day long doesn't leave much time for fire prevention. It's good for the ego to play fireman every day and above all, it makes us believe that our life has meaning... until the day of the groundhog.
I love Covey's matrix because it really helps us to clarify the daily pitfalls we tend to fall into. And, the biggest trap is not devoting enough time to the "Important and non-urgent" quadrant.
What would happen if I spent 10% of my time in quadrant number two? what would be on my To-Do List during those few hours a week?
The desire for immediate gratification
Why do you think it is so difficult to save for your RRSPs?
We still have an immediate need to fill and a new IPhone to buy. We are even having difficulty giving a wish list for Christmas, because if we want something, we buy it right away and without delay.
The desire for immediate satisfaction favours decisions in the short term, and in the short term we do not think about tomorrow. Without thinking about tomorrow, we don't save for retirement, we don't take care of our physical and mental health, we miss what is really important to us and our family, we sabotage our happiness, we lose our balance and our professional edge.
Dare to take action by making one decision after another, today, by measuring the immense impact they will have on your projects of tomorrow. And you will realize that momentum will build faster than you think!
Don't be a groundhog, and come out of your burrow to courageously explore what the world around you has to offer, you will be pleasantly surprised at the pleasure you will get from it!