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Optimistic in October

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In the true Nigerian spirit, as we kick off another month, barely recovering from the pace of another thirty-odd day behind us, I’d like to say, “Happy new month!”

Then I’d like to follow that up with: How do you see yourself spending the last three months of the year?
Admittedly, it’s unfair to measure the full breadth and height of our achievements this year against the yardstick of many ordinary years that have come before. Let’s admit, 2020 came out of the left field; we got caught short. We never expected it! Alas, life doesn’t care for excuses, and as much as most would feel short-changed by the year that is 2020, and generally falling short of the goals we set ourselves back in January, we must persevere.

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How so, when all around is still so fragile and uncertain?
“Choose to be optimistic. It feels better,” says Dalai Lama.

This was the reminder I got in my inbox from Action for Happiness on Thursday, along with tips to make the new month one of hope and optimism. Most were simple and easy to follow, but aren’t they often the ones we forget to practise in the hustle and bustle of life?

In celebration of the brand new month, here are some of the tips you can try and practise each day and even turn it into a habit. After all, it takes 28 days to make a habit.

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Write down the most important goals for this month
If you haven’t already put pen to paper on the first day of the month, today is as good a day as any. Goals keep us grounded and focussed and writing them down make them all the more real.

Take the first step towards a goal that really matters to you
Once you’ve done the planning, it’s time to act on the plan. Pick one of your goals on paper and take that first step to achieve it. That first step is the hardest.

Take time each week to reflect on your achievements
Once you take that first step towards achieving goals, it is important not to lose yourself in the daily hustle and bustle. While you may get caught up in the busy-ness of every day, it is helpful to take some time out on the weekend to reflect on what you’ve achieved in the last week.

Look for the good intentions in people around you
The more you assume in favour of people the better you feel about life in general. In day-to-day life, it is often easy to get frustrated with those around us. When you feel short-tempered, try to look for good intentions.

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Put down your to-do-list and let yourself be spontaneous
It’s all well and good to have your eyes on the prize but all work no play makes everyone dull. To light up October, every now and again, let your hair down and enjoy the moment.

Look out for positive news and reasons to be cheerful
There is enough negativity in the world, and with news and social media at the touch of a screen, it is easy to find yourself in a downward spiral.

Ask yourself, will this still matter a year from now?
It is so easy to get caught up in worry and anxiety when you’ve had a bad meeting, a bad day or a bad week. It is human nature to catastrophise and sees that once incident as the end of the world when it is merely a blip. A good way to handle the stress and calm your mind is to put things into perspective. It’s often when we take a minute to think about if the problem we are facing right this minute will even matter a year, or even six months down the line, we often realise in the grand scheme of things, it is only a bump on the road, not the mountain we make it out to be.

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