PERMAnent

I was fortunate enough to spend New Year’s Day at a retreat being held in the sacred space of the yoga studio that is special to me.  I was in the company of genuine, beautiful souls, and collectively, we focused on letting go of 2021 and setting intentions for 2022.  It was nothing short of blissful, and I left with a mind and heart full of hope, gratitude, peace, and love.  I carried those intentions and positive feelings with me . . .and then, I re-entered my daily routine two days later.

This is not to say that I completely abandoned my carefully cultivated intentions and the wonderful feelings that they evoked.  I found, though, that despite the best intentions and the most positive of feelings, they were slowly sinking in the quicksand of life’s demands and obligations.  This definitely was not how I envisioned the new year beginning, especially only being three days into it.  As I listened to, and observed, people around me, I started to realize that I was not alone in this quicksand. 

I have thought about this from both a personal perspective and a much broader one.  It occurred to me that this phenomenon is not unique to 2022 at all.  We all have moments in our lives, whether it is the start of a new year, a significant life event, or some sort of wake-up call, that motivate and inspire us to make a change.  So, we set out to do just that.

Sometimes, we are able to implement the steps that are needed to reach our desired outcome with relative ease.  Other times, we stumble out of the starting block and immediately give up, and still, other times, we start making progress before coming to a roadblock and finding ourselves stuck.  

No matter where we are in the change process, we have the ability to set ourselves up for success, not just when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, but for the rest of our lives.  I was reminded of this earlier in the week, when I did research for a presentation at work and revisited the work of Dr. Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology. 

Dr. Seligman uses five core components to define how to achieve satisfaction in our lives:

  • P = Positive Emotion
  • E = Engagement
  • R = Relationships
  • M = Meaning
  • A = Accomplishments

The PERMA model is simple and straightforward, and it can be applied to any change we want to make.  Each component begins with asking a question, and the key is to keep asking these questions throughout the change process to maintain focus.  Here’s how I am applying the PERMA model to my goal of improving my overall emotional health and well-being:

P-Positive Emotion

  • What makes me feel good?
    • I feel a greater sense of calm and peace when I begin my day with guided meditation.
    • I feel more focused when I journal to begin and end my day.
    • I feel energized when I exercise in the morning.
    • I feel happy when I am home with my family.

E-Engagement

  • What are the things that make me lose all track of time?
    • I lose all track of time when I read a good book.
    • I lose all track of time when I write.
    • I lose all track of time in the company of my close friends and family.
    • I lose all track of time when I listen to my favorite music.

R-Relationships

  • Who brings me a sense of joy, peace, and support?
    • I feel a sense of joy, peace, and support when I spend quality time with people I love.
    • I feel a sense of joy, peace, and support when I play with, and snuggle with, our two cats.
    • I feel a sense of joy, peace, and support when I am with the gentlemen, staff, and volunteers at the day shelter for homeless men where I previously worked.
       

M-Meaning

  • What are the things that are meaningful and worthwhile to me?
    • I find a sense of meaning and purpose when I volunteer at my favorite charitable organization.
    • I find a sense of meaning and purpose when I am able to help support someone in my personal life, at work, and in the world at large.

A-Accomplishment

  • What do I want to achieve and when?
    • I will meditate for at least 10 minutes/day.
    • I will begin and end my day with journaling.
    • I will exercise daily.
    • I will connect with others each day in person, via text, or on the phone each day.
    • I will read one book/month.
    • I will publish at least two blog posts/month.
    • I will volunteer at least once/month.

The PERMA model is a touchstone to remind me on a daily basis of what I want to do, how I want to feel, and what I can do to think, feel, and behave in ways that support my goals. 

Life is comprised of a series of ongoing changes, and this is just one tool we can use to navigate these changes.  So, don’t throw in the towel on 2022 or the rest of your life for that matter, because we are just getting started, beginning right now!

That’s another story . . .



Categories: That's Another Story

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