It’s 2014 and we would all like to be happier and more productive. But how do we do that?
In the wise words of En Vogue, “Free your mind and the rest will follow…”
After watching my husband emerge from a long and peaceful weekend nap on the couch, I smiled and said, “Must be nice!” He immediately looked baffled (and maybe a little pissed) and replied, “What are you talking about, you’re home all day. You can do this all the time.” Yet, I never do…
I’ve spent the last seven years, more or less, as a freelance writer – and that means that setting my schedule is primarily up to me. While that sounds like a great gig with loads of freedom, it just dawned on me that I’ve been living in an iron-clad prison of my own making. I wake up every morning with a self-imposed agenda breathing down my neck – one that is inevitably taking away the choice to do something different – and possibly even pleasurable.
Why am I doing this? Why am I holding tight to the idea that every day has to be a struggle and an effort? Logically I can see that this is wrong and sucking the peace and joy out of my day-to-day existence – but how do I stop it?
As they say, ask and ye shall receive…
My New Motto Mindset
While pondering the situation over coffee this morning, my Facebook friend, Terry Foster from Soup2Nuts Virtual Assistance Social Media Marketing, wisely posted this status, “When your to-do list gets too long, pull out the kitchen timer…set it for a minimum of 15 minutes for housework; maximum 1 hour for job work. Try it! Really, really works.”
Sounds like a plan to me! That way, nothing gets completely ignored, the most important things take priority, and I don’t have to go through the emotional anguish of trying to squeeze too much into my day unnecessarily (and may even have a little time left over.) New motto #1 – things are only as hard as you make them.
To reinforce this, I will:
Loosely make to-do lists the night before, prioritize items, and give them a pre-determined amount of time.
Give myself the latitude to blow them off entirely if something in my soul urges me to do so.
Offer my soul permission to speak – and learn to hear it better (this one will take some practice.)
Also, the new, 2014 me (like the rest of the world) has fitness concerns. She wants to be thin and attractive, yes – but the wiser more experienced me knows that’s shallow and short sided thinking. From now on my focus will be on new motto #2 – to do things that promote “feeling good in my own skin.” That means focusing not only on my weight, but also on increasing my strength and flexibility. Quality of life is truly the most important thing – and ironically through this new feel good mentality – I think all the other great side effects like attractiveness, energy and increased confidence will naturally come along with it.
To reach this goal, I will:
Schedule exercise on my calendar just as I would a dental appointment or a trip to the bank (it’s just as important).
Only do things that I enjoy doing and let go of the pressure to do what others are doing. (ex. I’ll walk instead of run.)
Download an app to keep track of progress and offer encouragement and tips to help me grow along the way.
And finally, I will do my best to lose my militant drive for achievement by adhering to new motto #3, I’m not aiming for perfection – just improvement. Perfection is really just a matter of opinion – and probably not attainable anyway. My goal should always just be to continue to grow and better myself. By aiming for simple improvement, my small and steady strides will build over time into something more significant.
To achieve this, I will:
Set small, easily attainable “micro-goals” to empower a sense of encouragement along the way.
Refrain from comparing myself with others and simply watch the transformation from the “old me” to the “new me.”
Reward myself for reaching goals with “mini-celebrations.” (I mean, life should really be a party anyway, shouldn’t it?”
While one might say that finding my newfound wisdom through Facebook posts and R&B bands of the 90’s lacks the scientifically based criteria preferred by great minds like Albert Einstein, I again refer to the incredible insight of pop-culture giant Nike, who said, “Just Do It!”
Taking action is the only thing that puts power behind words – what motivates you, is up to you. I don’t need a monk on a mountain top to shout out instructions for a happy life – I simply need to ask the questions, open my mind to see the solutions presented, and do the necessary work.
So now, who’s ready to heed the timeless advice of the great Elvis Presley and focus on “a little less conversation and a little more action?”
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Marci Wise is the award-winning author of Pain, Passion & Purpose. Copyright © 2014 marciwise.com. Material is copyrighted but free to repost as long as proper credit is listed, including our website address.