New Year, New You
The start of a new year can be a difficult time for many people. As eager peers discuss their New Year’s resolutions and big plans to make positive life changes, you may be struggling with stress, post-holiday letdown and anxiety about things to come in 2017. You’re not alone. In fact, many people consider the third Monday in January to be the most depressing day of the year, otherwise known as “Blue Monday”.
However, "Blue Monday" was also a day to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr and remember that, “only in the darkness can you see the stars.” When life is challenging there are always opportunities to infuse your character strengths, especially the strength of hope (sign in to your account here to view your Character Strengths Profile).
Hope is a character strength with a wide range of benefits and boosting this strength can be easy. Here is a simple, research-based exercise proven to increase happiness levels, coping skills and positive expectations about the future.
Best Possible Self Exercise
Looking to the future is an important pathway to setting goals that are personally meaningful. It can provide perspective on where you would like to see your life direction. Linking character strengths with this imagined future is a crucial and empowering element. After completing the VIA Survey and viewing your free Character Strengths Profile, get your personalized, in-depth VIA Me and VIA Pro Report Package to learn more about your strengths and apply them to this exercise.
1. Take a few moments to select a future time period (e.g., 3 weeks, 6 months, 1 year from now) and imagine at that time you are expressing your best possible self. Visualize a "best possible self" that is very pleasing to you, that you are interested in, and that is achieving what you hope for. You might think of this as reaching your full potential, hitting an important milestone, or realizing one of your dreams. Reach high and be realistic.
2. After you have a fairly clear image, write about the details. Writing your best possible self down helps to create a logical structure for the future and can help you move from the realm of foggy ideas and fragmented thoughts to concrete, real possibilities.
3. Write about the character strengths you observe in this image and in what you've written. And, what character strengths you will need to deploy to make this vision a reality.
4. Write down your specific goal(s) and action plan that result from this exercise.
Think of this exercise as having 2 basic steps: a visualization component and a character strengths component. After you visualize your future moment in time, be sure to closely consider your character strengths as pathways. Your in-depth personalized VIA Strengths Reports are derived from the results of your VIA Survey, so they are ready and waiting for you. Use the information in these reports to gain a better understanding of your strengths and explore how they can be used to create your "Best Possible Self" action plan. Sign in here to get your reports.
Creating a Happy, Successful, Meaningful Life
People don't usually say that they want to lead a "strengths-based life". You may strive for happiness, success or meaning, but a life led by your strengths may seem like a new, foreign concept. The reason we know it is important to live a strengths-based life is because your strengths are pathways to these positive outcomes and so many others. When you understand and apply your strengths to your life you can find greater happiness, better relationships, and more satisfaction with your work.
We have created an online course designed to help you understand, explore and apply your strengths to reach your best possible self. Register now for Creating a Strengths Based Life and get started immediately.