Leap Day 2024: Getting ready to jump into spring and the ‘Trying Out’ Key of Happiness. 
 
Earth’s orbit around the Sun takes approximately 365.25 days, but our calendar year is only 365 days, so how do we stop our calendars from gradually falling out of sync with the seasons? Well, once every four years, we add an extra day onto the end of February, that’s how. That, in very short, is why, this year, we have today: February 29th, 2024, Leap Day, the extra day once every four years that keeps our seasons falling predictably in the same months one year to the next. 
 
So, what to do with our extra day? 
 
Over the years, this extra day has provided an opportunity for women to reverse traditional gender roles and propose to their partners but, as we continue to move away from the formality of prescribed gender roles and expectations, and ladies are much more likely to propose if and when it feels right rather than wait for a once in a four-year opportunity, what might this day mean for us moving forward? 
 
At Strive, this extra day falls at the end of February where we have been focusing on the Relating Key of Happiness and just ahead of March, the start of spring, and the month where our Key of Happiness of focus will be Trying Out. It is, therefore, the perfect time for us to have a think about how we, and our members, can make the most of our ‘extra day’ by contemplating the symbolism of spring, and the opportunity for personal growth, that trying out something new can provide. 
 
What are the 10 Keys of Happiness? 
 
If you’re not familiar with Strive, the 10 Keys of Happiness may not mean an awful lot to you so here’s a very quick overview of what they are and how we use them. 
 
The 10 Keys of Happiness are: Giving, Relating, Energy, Appreciation, Trying out, Direction, Resilience, Emotions, Acceptance, and Meaning, and we use the acronym GREAT DREAM to help us to remember them all. 
They provide the framework for our Strive resources and help us to guide our members to information that will help them on their ongoing journey towards improved mental fitness and a more balanced and fulfilled life. 
 
For more information, you can find our founder and CEO explaining our evidence based, compassion focussed, personal, and non-medicalised approach to mental fitness, in this lovely little video in the Strive Online Community section of our website HERE
 
For now, though, back to our thoughts this LEAP DAY… 
 
Why is trying out new things so important? 
 
The saying, ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ is, to be frank, just not true. It is now considered scientific fact that you are never too old to learn something new. Our brains are incredibly adaptable throughout our lives and keeping them active and engaged has numerous benefits. 
 
But why does Strive advocate for trying out new things and not just engaging our brains with the same old tried and tested routines? 
 
Well, there are several reasons why trying something new can be beneficial, but one of the most important is the opportunity it provides for learning. Whether it’s learning something completely new or building on existing knowledge, learning is not only a great way to exercise our minds but is also a fantastic opportunity to step outside of our comfort zone and increase our confidence.  
 
New experiences, new skills, and new perspectives all encourage personal growth and each time you take on a new challenge you give yourself the chance to practice your adaptability, creative thinking, and resilience and the more you exercise these skills the stronger they get. 
 
Depending on what you try, new things can also be an opportunity to meet new people, improve your physical health, and broaden your horizons.  
 
And, for those of us feeling a weighed down by our day-to-day routines, trying something new and deviating from our usual routines, may just be the reminder we need to rediscover the joy of discovery!  
 
Every day is an opportunity for growth and trying new things is the perfect way to remind ourselves of that. 
 
What are we, our members, and our Ambassadors Trying Out at Strive? 
 
As we step into spring thinking about how trying out new things provides a wonderful opportunity for personal growth, we look forward to finding out more about the new things our members will be trying out too. Through our online community we look forward to finding inspiration and encouragement in our shared stories and look forward to sharing our stories, and the stories of our StriveTogether Ambassadors, too! 
 
StriveTogether, SanaMente’s corporate social responsibility project aims to make Strive accessible to those who would benefit from our resources but would ordinarily be unable to access this service. In order to do this our StriveTogether Ambassadors are busy making plans for their spectacular fundraising efforts that will take place a little later this year. Planting the seeds from which these challenges will grow, as they get ready to jump out of aeroplanes and run up, down, and around Mont Blanc all in the name of trying something new whilst also raising vital funds that will help us to help others. 
 
For Strive itself the new things we’ll be trying out may be much less daring than plane jumps and gruelling mountain runs but are no less valuable contributions to our growth. Our mentors and team members are consistently walking their talk and trying out new things, and will no doubt have plenty to share in person over the coming month, and we will also be looking at improving accessibility to our blogs by experimenting with audio recordings – which may not seem like a big deal to some but, as we will touch on a little later, challenge and personal growth is a pretty subjective thing! 
 
How will we help our members to try something new? 
 
Through our growing Strive Community and regular 1:1s the Strive team will be encouraging our members to take some time to consider things they may like to try out this month. Our Strive resources provide a number of ideas but what we’re really looking forward to is hearing from our members and friends. We want to know what you enjoy, what you’d like to learn, what new element you’d like to add to your tried and tested routine, what new skill you’d like to develop, what old skill you’d like to build on, what new group you’d like to join, what new recipe you’d like to try, what new interest you’d like to pursue, what old interest you’d like to find out something new about?  
 
Our Strive members are varied and unique and, as such, their ideas for what they’d like to try out will be too and we can’t wait to find out more so that we can be inspired by your creativity and be your cheerleader if you need it too. 
 
We never fail to be impressed by our members and the commitment they show to taking on new challenges and building their confidence, resilience, and overall mental fitness. This doesn’t mean that we don’t all need a bit of encouragement, an alternative perspective, or a nudge in the right direction from time to time - all of which we are all too happy to provide! 
 
So, whatever it is you’re thinking of trying out, please don’t forget: 
No idea is too big or too small. 
 
If it’s so big that it ultimately proves out of reach this time, then no harm done. Not immediately excelling at something new isn’t failure, deciding now isn’t actually the right time isn’t failure, realising that there might actually never be a right time for you and this particular endeavour isn’t even failure. So long as you have given yourself opportunity to learn (even if all you learn is that the new thing you’re trying out isn’t really your thing!) then, if you allow growth to be the goal, you can never really fail. 
 
And, if when you look around and think your idea for trying something new looks smaller than those around you, remember that challenge and personal growth really is entirely unique to the person and completely subjective.  
 
Stepping out of your comfort zone to try something new might, quite literally, be someone else’s stroll in the park so decide what matters to you and, whilst it’s fine to look to others for support or inspiration or tips, try to remember that the only story you’ll really ever know is your own. 
 
So, whilst comparing yourself to others is an easy trap to fall into, it is still a trap. 
 
- but, very few traps are truly inescapable.... 
 
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For more information on how we can help you or your team improve their mental fitness and prepare to take on new challenges, please visit our website: www.strive-online.co.uk, email us at info@strive-online.co.uk, or give us a call on 0116 340 0630 
 
- We'd love to hear from you! 
 
And, for regular updates on all things Strive, please consider following us on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Spotify.  
 
 
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