Life would be so much better if I did _____! Current life choices + _______ = me < (greater than) I was before. So yesterday I wrote about 5 things to do less of and today I am writing about 5 things to do more of.
I’ve been systematically working on improving my life for a year. Not that my life sucked mind you, more that I was aware of the need for improvement and change. So although I haven’t progressed to where I want to be. I am making progress. These are the things that I have been focusing on:
- Gratitude- practicing gratitude can really make a difference in your life. Every day before I go to bed I write in my journal one thing I am grateful for that happened that day. It gives me time to think of all the good that has happened. I’ve also noticed that the more grateful I am the more I find to be grateful for.
- Friendships- okay this might sound silly but focusing on my friendships has really improved my life. I have lots of friends but I wasn’t paying as close of attention to the relationships as I should have. I started calling people more, visiting, going to lunch, grabbing a cocktail or dinner. I started reconnecting with old friends too. I found I had been taking my friends for granted and once I started paying attention to the state of my friendships I found myself in a happier place.
- Recognizing happiness- so I read a book not long ago called The Happiness Project and it really made me take stock in what makes me happy. There were lots of things that made me unhappy and I addressed them but I also discovered the things that made me happy and I gave myself permission to do more of those things even if it makes no sense to anyone else. Now I’m aware of when something makes me happy and I try to incorporate more of it into my life.
- Giving of one’s self- so for some people it is a requirement to volunteer and give back on some way to their community. I’ve never been a serious volunteer. That doesn’t mean I haven’t given hours and hours to projects, places and people in the form of service…it just means I don’t go out of my way looking for ways to volunteer. However, I believe that giving of one’s self can be done through time and talent. I can donate my time or my talents and skills to help others. I’m trying to do more of this on a broader spectrum.
- Writing- okay, for me, my creative outlet is writing but for others it can cooking, art, music etcetera. By writing a little each day I fee better overall. Everyone needs a creative outlet. Spend time letting those creative juices flow. When you open up to creativity you also open yourself up to new experiences. It works. Really.
Changing your life for the better can be as simple as making one small change. You don’t have to radically shift your whole life. Figure out where your life can improve and then find one thing to do that will head you in that direction.
I didn’t post a blog yesterday because the topic of the day was “what is something that you have overcome?” I thought about it all day and realized that I am struggling with this one. I am sure that my friends or family members could point out things that I have “overcome” but when I look back at my the experiences in my life I can’t for the life of me find anything that I feel warrants the word Overcame.
So for sake of ease I am changing the word. According to the Oxford Dictionary overcome means to defeat, to conquer, to beat, to trounce or to succeed in dealing with. I much prefer looking at things from the viewpoint of succeeding in dealing with things. It seems so much more livable and real. Overcome seems….well drastic to me.
So, what is one thing that I successfully dealt with last year? Well, I read a book in March called The Happiness Project and then I spent the next couple of months making changes to my life and environment to create more happiness in my life. Although I believe that there will always be things that need improvement I am truly, well happy, with the end results of creating more happiness in my life.
Identifying the things that were making me unhappy and then setting about to make changes so that those things were no longer affecting me in a negative way was perhaps the greatest accomplishment I made last year. It really only affects me and those who are the closest to me but it totally changed my world. I highly recommend the book to anyone who is looking for inspiration on small ways to make changes that have a big impact.
I love this quote.
I am as guilty as the next person about postponing decisions, especially if it is regarding something I don’t want to deal with but in general it drives me crazy when one of my kids or my husband chooses to NOT handle something because they don’t want to deal with it. It isn’t like postponing it makes it any better. In fact it often makes it worse.
The thing is…..especially when it comes to my husband, I hate getting put in the position of being the nagging wife or worse yet the person people turn to when they want something from my husband and can’t get my husband to respond. He’s a grown adult and I don’t need to “mommy” him even if I am his wife. I don’t even like “mommy-ing” my own kids to handle stuff now that they are adults.
When I read the book, THE HAPPINESS PROJECT, she said she made a decision that if something could be done in under 5 minutes she would not put it off. She would simply do it. The amount of stuff she got done because of that one simple little rule changed things for her. I practiced this for a whole month and let me tell you – it works. Have I kept it up? Well…..no, but mostly because I can’t get my husband and kids to adopt the rule as a way of life which makes it difficult but I personally do it more often then I was.
Clutter in one’s life is often because it was easier to leave the mail on the table then go put it where it belongs or the leaving your shoes in the living room where you kicked them off instead of taking them to your bedroom. (You will note that these fall under the 5 minute rule of action). Another thing I am trying to instigate in my life if that if there is a BIG project (even if it seems big only in your own mind) that if you do something on it everyday it will eventually get done. For example – I told my husband if he just spent 30 minutes every evening cleaning in the garage eventually his garage would be exactly like he wants it.
I have lots of projects that are sitting, waiting to be finished or in some cases, waiting to be started and I can honestly say that it is all about a decision to act. No one can make me do something I have to choose to do it so why then is guilt so heavy when I don’t take action? Because I think I should? Because I think other people think I should? If I’ve already decided not to take action why feel bad about that choice? Then again, choosing not to do the dishes doesn’t get them done either. I raised my kids on the concept that “All Life is Choice” – I guess its time for me to reevaluate some of my choices and see if they are still working for me and if I choose not to do my laundry tonight even though I “should”, well the only one who pays for that decision is me….and maybe my hubby too.