We all know about the benefits of exercise. But do you actually do it? When was the last time you had a good workout? It’s one of the many things that you can do regularly that will make you feel a million times better. If you don’t have time or space to get a normal routine going (and I highly suggest you find both of these things) you can always stretch. Stretching is awesome. It calms you, it feels great, and it gets your blood flowing. I like to take stretch breaks every hour or so when I’m doing computer work, or even when I’m not. Go stretch right now!
This week I got in a fight with my former lover. She’s leaving town, and has been treating me poorly. I was hurt, she was angry, and we fought. All the little moments of anger that I’ve felt with her but let pass suddenly came back in force. She had another man over. I was overwhelmed. I wanted to break things. I thought about how glad I was that she was leaving, how glad I would be to never see her again.
But the journey I’m on requires me to take that hate and replace it with love. Despite still being furious and deeply hurt, I apologized. I apologized for the things I said to her – for trying to hurt her back. I apologized because while I felt I was right I still lashed out at her, which is wrong. I apologized because I’ve had too many people leave me life in mutual anger and pain. I don’t want to cause pain anymore.
And then something magical happened – she apologized too and we both healed from it. Now the anger and pain I felt is replaced by deep caring and love. I’m sad she’s leaving instead of glad. Sure it isn’t ideal, but it’s a hell of a lot better than working myself up in to a fury and then discovering too late that I wish I had just said “I’m sorry” and moved on. I’m so glad I did. Now I can have a friend instead of just somebody I used to know.
When you were a child, did your parents force you to take piano lessons? But you hated them and quit as soon as you could. And now you wish you stuck with it? Think about all of the activities that you’ve started and never followed through with – or never started at all. Imagine how good you would be if you just kept at those piano lessons. It’s staggering.
Now think about all of the things that you’ve always wanted to learn – a language, a skill, a hobby. What is the one thing that you most wish you knew how to do?
Pick that thing and start learning it.
Pretty intimidating right? There’s so much to learn. It would take so much time. How can I possibly do all this? The phrase comes to mind – a journey of one thousand miles begins with one step. It’s just like the piano lessons. You start off pretty bad or worse. It’s embarrassing. You don’t want anyone to know about it. You’re vulnerable. But imagine ten years from now, how amazing you’ll be. How accomplished you’ll feel. How glad that you committed to learning that thing that you really want to learn.
Maybe just practice in a sound proof room for a while.
Making my bed every day has changed my life. How?
This is a very easy way to affect positive change. In Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit, he states that people who make their bed every day are happier and more productive than people who don’t. It’s a great book for those who haven’t read it. And the bed-making thing is just one way that you can start small in forming good habits. Doing something for yourself every day – having a routine of activities that make you feel good – is a powerful force. What’s great is that anybody can do it. Making your bed takes at most a few minutes, but it affects the whole rest of your day.
Once you’ve nailed that you can start introducing other good habits in to your routine. Such as flossing or keeping a journal like I mentioned in my previous post. If you want to be happier and more productive, you better start tucking those corners.
Here is another post the bed making phenomenon. It’s got some legs.
It can be tough to stay on top of all the things you need to do in any given day or week. If you’re like me working side gigs on top of a regular job, you need help staying on top of all the different tasks vying for your attention. Here are a few things I’ve found to work:
Keep a journal. Every day I spend 30-45 minutes writing down my thoughts, as well as my goals and what I am grateful for. It’s incredibly good at keeping me focused and setting good intentions for the day, as well as tracking my goals over time.
Get a wall calender. They give you a quick visual of how much time you have to achieve various deadlines, or when you committed to meeting a friend for lunch. I like to mark each day with colored sharpie when I achieve the goals I set for myself in my journal.
Make a list of priorities. What projects are you working on now? What steps do you need to do in order to complete those projects? How long should each project take? I take on new tasks all the time, and sometimes forget about old ones before I have a chance to finish them. Listing every commitment or project I have keeps me accountable to them. Ordering them from most important to least important allows me to knock out the big stuff first and feel really good about what I’ve accomplished.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Because I have so many projects open all at once, it is very easy to feel overwhelmed by them. Know your limits for how much you can take on without drowning. The only thing worse than feeling like you aren’t accomplishing anything is to actually do nothing because you’ve given yourself too much to do. You’ll be happier and more productive with a smaller work load.
Keep an ideas folder. Anything that you cannot take on right now but really want to do in the future can go in this folder. You can crack it open if you’re ever bored and looking for something to do. It’s great for filing away thoughts and ideas that keep nagging you and distracting you from your current task.
There you have it, five ways to get and stay organized. There are plenty of tools available to help with this. Evernote is my personal favorite for cross platform support and being able to save articles from the web. If you aren’t technologically savvy (or even if you are), a good old pen and paper is still the best way to draft new ideas and keep them for posterity.
Seems pretty obvious, but it can be harder than it sounds. Almost nobody who you would call an asshole believes that they are one. They probably think that they’re nice people.
Since it’s groundhog day, I thought I’d talk about what we can learn from Groundhog Day. Bill Murray, an Asshole, is trapped for eternity in Punxsutawney Pennsylvania. Repeating the same day over and over again, until he can finally get it right. His character Phil journeys from being one of the biggest assholes you could probably meet, to becoming a kindhearted and passionate man of many talents. He helps everybody in the town and gets to move on because he stopped thinking about himself. The line that sums this up is “What can I do for you today?”
Put another way by Rango (yeah I’m gonna quote Rango),
“It’s not about you, it’s about them.”
Be about other people. Like other people. Be interested in what they have to say. Most importantly put them before you. Don’t subjugate yourself, just care about them.
I’ve been an asshole most of my adult life because I have been selfish and self-centered. I still am, but I’m trying to bring awareness to that in my day to day life. Making an effort to live for other people is a step toward actually doing it. I wish someone had sat me down and told me that ten years ago..
All you have to do is your best.
The temptation will be great. You’ve worked hard for years to get yourself some stable footing. You can pay your bills, you have a little money tucked away, you go out with your sweetheart on Fridays for dinner and drinks. Sounds great, except you’re miserable. Why? You hate your stable job, you and your honey have nothing to talk about, and you’re bored out of your skull. You got somewhere comfortable and settled in to it. Fantasies got put on the back-burner and replaced with safe predictability. This isn’t how you pictured your life.
But it isn’t too late.
Chances are your dream job isn’t so easy to find in the current economy. You probably don’t have enough money saved up to strike out on your own. I bet you have student loans that you’re still paying down. Don’t give up hope. The most important thing you can do now is actively pursue that crazy dream of yours, while also putting in hours at the stupid job you hate so that you can pay your bills. It will be a lot of work. You will take side gigs after a long and grueling work day just for the experience. You will do free favors for friends and family to further your goals. It’s exhausting, but it’s worth it. Even if you never get your dream job, even if you never work for yourself (the best boss there is), even if you spend the rest of your life grinding it out at the job that you hate because you couldn’t cut it, at least you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you tried. Your dreams are the most important thing that you have. Cherish them, and let them flourish.