5 lessons you should take into the new year

Toni Mackenzie

Toni Mackenzie - Credit: Archant

Toni Mackenzie, a therapist from Altrincham, has literally written the book on how to feel happy - here she explains why you should forget about new years resolutions and focus a little closer to home instead.

Toni Mackenzie

Toni Mackenzie - Credit: Archant

As we enter 2020 many people will be making resolutions for a positive year ahead. Popular intentions are to lose weight, get fit, find a partner and make more money, but, ultimately, what we all want is to be happy. During my 21-years of experience, working with thousands of clients as a Transformational Therapist and Mindset Coach, it became clear to me that most people believe happiness is something they will find in the future - once they have the body, partner, job, money, or whatever it may be that they desire. The reality is, happiness created by anything external, either comes to an end or can be taken away. Happiness is an inside job, there within you, just waiting to be accessed and released. In fact, changing my own attitude towards happiness was such a revelation I ended up writing a best-selling book on it - and here are some of its most important lessons, in order to make 2020 your happiest year yet.

Silence Your Inner Critic…

We each have around 60-65,000 thoughts a day and 95% are the same thoughts going around in a loop. On average, 80% of them are negative, meaning most people have over 45,000 negative thoughts every day - criticising, complaining, blaming, shaming, putting themselves down, beating themselves up, comparing themselves to others. It's hard to feel happy with a harsh critic living in your head. Our thoughts create our beliefs, feelings, actions and reactions, and can seriously sabotage our lives if we let them. So it's time to take control. Try wearing a rubber band around your wrist for a few days and whenever it catches your eye, pause and check your thoughts. If they're negative, command them to stop instantly and ping the band. Repeat this frequently over several days until your mind gets the message that it no longer has any power over you.

Reprogramme Your Mind…

Just as the repetition of negative messages creates deep-rooted beliefs, so does the repetition of positive self-talk, or affirmations. However, if you start telling yourself wonderfully positive statements after believing for years that you're 'not good enough', you're a failure or you're not lovable, you're very likely to reject them. A far more gentle and effective way of accepting affirmations is to start off your chosen phrases with I choose. If you say I choose to know that I'm absolutely good enough, I choose to believe I can succeed in whatever I put my mind to, I choose to love myself just as I am, provided they're things you do choose to believe, you're speaking the truth and your subconscious mind will begin to accept those statements as being true.

Take Responsibility…

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When you blame other people or past experiences for your feelings or circumstances, you're giving your power away and putting yourself in victim mode. You are responsible for the choices and decisions you make in your life - even when you choose to do nothing and stay right where you are. You may have had negative experiences in the past but you have the power to move from victim to victor and change your future. We may say things like 'He really upset me' and 'She made me so angry', but the truth is that no-one can make you feel anything. People may be critical or harsh and you may feel hurt but when you ask yourself why you reacted the way you did, it enables you to become self-aware.

Develop an Attitude of Gratitude…

When you genuinely focus on appreciating the many blessings you have in your life, it's impossible to feel unhappy at the same time. By continuously searching for things outside of ourselves to make us feel happy we may get a temporary feeling of happiness but before long, it's onto the next short-lived fix from gaining another new possession. Remember, what you focus your attention on creates your feelings, actions and reactions, so if you want to create more happiness from within, it's time to start focusing on being grateful for everything in your life, including the simple everyday things.

The Power of Now…

Everybody knows that the past has gone, the future doesn't yet exist and only the present moment is real but despite this we tend to spend much of our time mentally reliving the past, or worrying about what might possibly go wrong in the future. When we hold onto regrets, guilt, blame, resentment or anger about things that happened in the past we are just causing ourselves emotional pain. Equally, it's so easy to create a virtual reality in our minds and feel as though the worst possible scenario has actually happened, creating all the associated negative feelings within ourselves. Through practising daily meditation and short periods of mindfulness throughout the day, we are able to bring ourselves into the present, let go of the inner chatter and create a sense of inner peace and happiness. u

For more about Toni visit innerdepths.co.uk and find her book Your Flight to Happiness: A 7-Step Journey to Emotional Freedom on Amazon UK