“What Have You Been Up To?” How To Give A Better Response
Often, when asked 'What Have You Been Up To? Our reply involves the words 'Same” and “old”. How can we change this?
Thanks to Facebook's domination of the digital landscape, we tend to know precisely what those who participate have been up to – from walking the dog and winning shiny awards to eating great steak and going ape (indeed, that's the very question we are responding to when posting our Facebook updates). However, we still ask and get asked the question, which tends to be the suffix to “How Are You?”
Often, when asked 'What Have You Been Up To? Our reply involves the words 'Same” and “old”. Invariably. In fact, people will often say that even if they've been up to some actually remarkable stuff, due to their very British fear of showing off (but that's another blog post entirely).
And, while much can be said for being mindful of 'now' rather than focusing on the future and being grateful for all that we have now rather than focusing on all that we lack or wish we had, ACHIEVEMENT, what we have achieved in the past year, for example, is still an important measure of our well-being. Indeed, achievement is one of positive psychologist, Martin Seligman's five pillars of well-being, (along with positive emotion, engagement, relationships and meaning). Just as action and growth are two of my own seven steps to flourishing.
So, in one year's time, how can you change the tired and lacklustre 'same old' response to something which makes you feel proud of yourself and inspires the inquisitor?
1 Know precisely what it is you wish to achieve, whether it's to save a deposit for a new home, become an author/parent/teacher/volunteer, gain a qualification, learn to play an instrument, go to Tuscany or simply spend more time with family and friends. Spend some time dreaming.
2 Write it down. Some suggest affirming as if you've already achieved this, i.e. “I am a best-selling author, have a healthy baby daughter and have a holiday home in Tuscany.” :-) Wishful thinking or positive thinking? Either way you're more likely to make it happen if you've documented your goal.
3 Put up a visual encouraging reminder that you shall see every day. Whether a vision board containing dream home imagery, blue skies, fuscia flowers and bright shades of Tuscan villas, book cover on Amazon, Phd certificate, or simply one photo on your wall to represent either what you wish to achieve (or what you wish to change... for example, your 'before' you started to exercise/eat healthily photo can be effective, if you aim to shed some inches).
4 Take action. Consider how you might make your dream achievement happen and plan those tasks into your schedule. Try to do at least one thing every single day to get closer to that goal. That'll move you in the right direction at the very least. Download a free Goal Based To Do List template here.
5 Accept negative thoughts about why you might not achieve that goal, because human beings have a negativity bias, we do that to ourselves. We have that 'yeah, right, whateverrrr' response to our dreams, but don't let limitations stop you from having ginormous goals and positive thoughts too. Watch those 'meh' thoughts float by. Consider why it is you might have those beliefs anyway. Challenge them or accept them. They are not set in stone; they are merely thoughts. Then, most vitally, consider if the opposite were true and picture yourself achieving those dreams. Regardless of how much you believe you can or can't achieve something, we all have imaginations. So go with the flow with yours. Picture yourself sharing your story of achievement to a friend; recollect how it felt when you got the keys to that dream home, held that book in your hands for the first time, and see yourself answering that question, 'What have I been up to this year? Wow... let me tell you...it's quite extraordinary...'
You can follow Cheryl Rickman @TheFlourishers
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