With the new year we all start with plans to conquer new goals and create grand resolutions for the coming twelve months. More than often the year flies by and we haven’t checked these goals off and they roll over to the following year with only a few modifications. It is important to have ambitions and a desire to want to become healthier, a better person, happier – but realistic changes that match your ability to commit are most important.

A different approach to creating a long list of objectives over the next year is simply to look at your current circumstances and to see how to spark more joy in your life. This idea comes from a Japanese theory by Marie Kondo on creating space and decluttering your environment primarily referring to your living space. Once we have learnt how to declutter our living areas it can be wider applied to our general life principals.

“Life truly only begins once we have our home in order”. When we look around our home often we have hoarded years and years of collectibles that we just stuff and store somewhere that we more than likely won’t even look at or touch over the next year. This includes our wardrobe, books, photographs, stored boxes in the garage. It can be a daunting task that seems impossible to tackle especially as we all have an emotional attachment to many of our belongings, but once your life is more organised and you have created space it flows onto making your life easier.

It is suggested that the decluttering process works through stages and starts with your wardrobe as this has the least emotional attachment when culling. All your clothes need to be pulled out and while deciding on what to keep you ask the question of whether each item sparks (you) joy? If you haven’t worn it in the past twelve months you are probably unlikely to wear it for the next twelve months. It can also create potential for someone else to make use and find happiness from what you are no longer benefiting from.

Once you have mastered the de cluttering process and worked your way through your home from kitchen, bathroom to office, (including all your drawers) creating an environment where the things you cherish and use are accessible and also visible your life becomes more simple and organised. It is important to respect the belongings you have and when hidden, bundled or boxed they are not creating any joy in your life. Tidying doesn’t mean getting rid of everything, more so just keeping what makes you happy.

This is an important concept which could be applied throughout life. We can ask the same question of our personal circumstances and make positive changes in our employment, interpersonal relationships with partners and friends. Determining the people in our life that create happiness and make us feel better can have huge positive impacts on our well being.

If we all think of our circle of friends and extended circle we can think of people that make our mood positive but in contrast there are different people that drain us. So focusing your energy on people that make you feel good about yourself instead of people that bring your mood down is an important way to spark more joy in your life. We all have times of need and trouble but there must be a balance and friendships should seek a balance working for both people. Before just cutting people from your life you could talk to them at an appropriate time about the relationship you have and how to make it better.

There are many ways that can make a friendship feel draining, someone that makes an appointment to see you and always cancels last minute is not respecting your time, someone that never shares their portion of the bill over dinner, someone that only calls you when they have problems but never asks how you are or forgets to call when things are going well for them. In some cases it really can be a situation where your friend is not aware of their behaviour and the affects it has on you. But we all have our limits and before breaking it is better to deal with the issues.

The same can be looked at for our personal relationships with our partner. Do we feel we are being taken for granted, is the playing field honest and respectful. Whatever your situation, whether being in a marriage, living with your partner, dating, casual meetings you need to feel good in yourself and the other person should enhance your happiness level. We often become complacent in our relationships but seeking a level higher than satisfactory is important for our personal wellbeing. We have a choice with our partnerships and respect and honesty, taking care of each other makes these partnerships special. If we are not feeling cared for or appreciated then some changes are necessary. You should feel a spark of joy when spending time with your partner so try to find new ways to create happiness and fun in your partnership.

Another aspect of our life which we dedicate a great amount of our energy and time is our work. Employment is important to feel valued in society and in having a sense of self worth. Whether your occupation is going to the office, looking after children at home, or being an athlete, it needs to fulfill us emotionally as this is what we do day in and day out and there is no escape from. It may not be possible to change your position in the workplace but if your work is not fulfilling you, creating a sense of self worth, or sparking joy then you can look at how to enhance your current job, develop into a new role or look at ways to develop a new career path. If you create a mind map or plan it will make achieving your goals clearer with a more determined effort.

Making small changes to find more positivity and happiness in your life can have huge long term benefits. Your home should be a place you look forward returning to, the belongings you have should be easily accessible and visible. The people you surround yourself with should be supportive, caring and uplift your mood. Your partnership should make you feel valued and create a sense of contentment. Commitment and determination to focusing on creating an environment that makes you happy will give you a higher level of satisfaction and wellbeing.

Simple changes in your mindset and looking for ways to enhance the joy in your life will create higher levels of satisfaction and enjoyment to the things, people and environment you live in.

If you would like to talk to the writer more about any of these topics you can email her directly at tanya_vegar@hotmail.com.

WORDS: Tanya Vegar

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