Have a quick think, when did you last have to force a smile, to give the illusion that all was well, and you were happy ?  Taking it a step further, when was the last time you had to commit to, or attend an event, and you felt obliged to force happiness?

Frequently, the forced smile will come when we are unwell (in a variety of manners - be it physical or mental), or when we really are not happy - we just have to have the stiff upper lip! The time may well pass quickly, and you can get back to your true feelings, not having to constantly fake the situation.

Forcing yourself to enjoy an event though, well that brings another consideration along altogether.

Let's examine this for a moment.  It may be because you are in a process of personal change, and the thing which you have always done no longer stimulates you, in which case, it can lead to resentment of how you are spending your time.  Similarly, you may have other commitments, be them things you would rather do, or things you should be doing - again, resentment arises as your conscience is tested. There may be the conscience of sacrifice, where you have given something up to be there, yet would rather being doing the other thing.  Or, it may be that you have just started to question the point of it, the necessity, and the value it brings ot you.

Emotions, thoughts and feelings suddenly become entangled, our frustration at both the situation, and the circumstances which led to it then starts to bubble up.  In turn, this then spills over into other areas of our lives - possibly even the areas which we value far more than what it is we feel obliged to do.

Then of course, comes the resentment from others if you start to change.  Just like the bucket of crabs, they try to stop your change, your escape, your development, and pull you back to their perceived safety.  All the time, your inner smile is fading dimmer and dimmer.

Be it in your career, your social life, or even in your relationship, it is very tough to find the courage to step back, take stock and move forwards in the way which suits you both.

I have a little exercise I do, both myself and with my clients, and this helps make sense of where time is spent, and whether it is spent in the right place.

1. Create a simple a daily time sheet split into 15 minute chunks (from 00:00 right through to 23:59) - email me and I'll send you mine

2. Mark off exactly what you spend time doing each day (sleeping, personal care, exercise, work, travel, family time, personal development, out with friends, tv, facebook) whatever it is, jot it all down in 15 minute slots

3. Because there are 24 hours in the day, that makes a convenient 96 slots for the day (in the name of decency, we'll allow the other 4 slots for 'personal time'  or simple overspill).

4. Total up all of the 15 minute slots each day, and there is the percentage of where you spend your time.

5. Do this for a couple of weeks to develop a pattern and then comes the analysis.

6. Is where you spend your time, consistent with where you would choose to spend it? Does it match up with your values, or where you want to get to?  

Here's a clue - if you watch TV for 15% of your time, exercise for 2% and want to be healthier, then there is a re-apportionment of time needed.  Similarly, if your children are the most important people in your lives, but you spend 3 or 4 evenings a week with other people, maybe there is a realignment needed?

By removing these areas of anxiety from life, there is a chance that the change you really value and want to make can flow far easier, and that is what it is all about - freedom and happiness.

Together we can bring some Serenity to your life