January is always a bit of a strange month. It takes a while to get into the post-Christmas routine. Less shopping, less spending, and less socialising. If we’re lucky, it takes slightly longer to break our first News Years Resolution.
“Most people are other people, their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”
– Oscar Wilde.
But this January has been a bit different for me. Capitalising on the post-Christmas quiet, I launched my Romeo Project at the very end of December. And then I got completely swept up in my first resolution; Be Authentic.
By 30th December I had compiled a to-do list for the month ahead;
- Create a Vision Board.
- Create a Life Handbook with values, goals and a mission statement.
- Read XYZ self-help books.
- Stop being inauthentic.
- Write a list of what makes me smile.
- Define Authentic Happiness.
As I looked at all I needed to do to Be Authentic I figured I had bitten off more than I could chew. Why couldn’t I have started the project off with an easier resolution? Why couldn’t I just have decided January was for sleeping?
But I’d put in too many months of pre-planning to abandon my authenticity challenge.
I was quick to learn that Authenticity is not the easiest concept to just adopt. Instead, it can only be achieved by taking small steps – like defining my values, my goals and my mission statement.
It’s also important to stop being inauthentic. The month involved developing a lot of self-awareness. And I learned that I wasn’t always being me; I often hid behind a formal exterior and wasn’t open or always personable with those around me.
Creating a Life Handbook was a much bigger task than I had expected. It took me a solid week of planning and prep after work to develop.
The highlight of the month was defining my values. It feels empowering to know what I believe in and stand for, and I know I can embody them every day.
But Am I Authentic yet?
I have definitely started being more open and honest with those around me – sharing little tidbits and reflecting my personality in conversation. I have felt determined to not let my social anxiety win.
I feel like I have a better understanding of who I am; my qualities and my strengths. And I know what direction I want to head in over the next few years; my hopes, dreams and ambitions.
But more than that I understand that living an authentic life is a process. It’s about how we live every day, not just for one month.
Most helpful self-help books for ‘Be Authentic’?
I would recommend Michelle Ward and Jessica Swift’s 'The Declaration of You', it’s all about finding yourself and shouting your interests from the rooftops.
Obviously I based a lot of my month around creating a Life Handbook – check out Personal Excellence for more on that.
For more about Authentic Happiness, read up on Martin EP Seligman’s book of the same name.
Read all The Romeo Project posts so far here.