It happens to us all, similar to the New Year’s resolution excitement, you start something, be it a personal or work goal, new learning endeavor, hobby or project, filled with hope and expectation, a brilliant vision blazed in our minds eye of the promise the future holds. But as time passes, sometimes not so slowly, you discover that creating your vision was more challenging than anticipated. Plus, pick your social or life obligation (job, kids, professional organization, other people making commitments for you, even you over-committing yourself) slowly that brilliant vision becomes blurry, fades and sometimes disappears altogether.
Fortunately, every day you wake to new opportunity, promise and a chance to regain your vision. For example, when I started blogging, even after the early hic-ups, I did not form good habits and when the chaos bubbled up around me I succumbed to it. Fortunately, the New Year brings those bold and brilliant expectations of ourselves out front and center; and you can re-discover the excitement sometimes lost in the chaos of life. For me, I realized writing, which comes naturally to me, needs to be the core of my person, not just a task that gets scheduled, or fit in. I also realized, despite knowing how relatively short our lives are, it is easy to forget about the most important part of life: living.
In honor of life, and to celebrate new beginnings, I put together a short list of small changes or tweaks you can easily incorporate into your day. I am not saying don’t plan the big events, by all means plan away. In my opinion a life well lived includes whatever you, the individual, decide makes it fulfilling for you; this includes small events and the larger planned adventures. It is okay that your list might be different than mine. In fact I hope they are different because, wouldn’t existence be boring if everyone was the same.
Ways to get out of your comfort zone, everyday:
- Try a new route to work: Just because you have planned the most efficient route to work accounting for traffic and not passing the Duncan Donuts, you feel obligated to stop at; does not mean there isn’t a different route you could try that may reveal an even better coffeehouse, restaurant or architectural feat. There are hidden gems everywhere.
- If you always eat at home go out, if you go out most days, cook something new at home, from scratch (Takeout does not count). Food is a magical way of expressing ourselves and bonding. I love food. Everything about the shopping, cooking and eating process brings joy to my life. Every cooking at home experience brings up great memories and stories. I particularly love finding a new grocery store, because I need to go up and down the aisles to find what I might need, and don’t know where the old standby’s are. You discover so many new things by exploring. If you always eat at home, you may have a routine of chicken with rice and green beans, pasta or meatloaf and leftovers. Mix it up. Be daring, order or make something that is not what you normally eat. The internet is an amazing resource for restaurants of all food types and styles, as well as recipes from beginner to expert level; all of which will taste delicious. Worst case, if you try and fail to cook something, there are plenty of restaurants that deliver, and now you have a hilarious new story to share. There is really no reason not to try this one.
- Ladies, wear anniversary level lingerie randomly during the week. I guarantee you will walk taller and feel better all day than if you were hanging out with old-reliable. Gentleman, prep like you would for the first date with that smoking hot chicka you still can’t believe said yes. When you have confidence and feel good about yourself at your core, it will not be contained.
- Park in a different parking spot. Yep, it really is the small stuff.
- Walk your dog a different route. The excitement they have for the new route will rub off. Don’t have a dog, go for a walk anyway, try walking someplace new. With or without a dog, look around you, I guarantee there are things worth noticing. Treadmills don’t count; this is about the experience not calories. Take in the world you live in each day as if you were on vacation. I guarantee it will not look the same.
- If you have a dog, watch them and try to emulate their excitement. I can literally walk out the front door; walk around the house and in the back door and my dog freaks out wagging her whole body. If you don’t have a dog, visit YouTube, there are more dog videos than you will have time to watch. (If you do have a dog I know you’re going to watch videos also, they are fun for all). A great example is to watch how excited your dogs are at dinner. My dog starts asking for her dinner about 90 minutes before mealtime. Are you as excited about any meal as they are about their bowl of kibble? Keeping in mind this is the same bowl of kibble they have been eating every day for the last few years. When they have a treat, reward or a giant stick in the back yard, they walk proud. Copy them. Right now, pull your shoulders back and down, feel better?
- Turn of the TV. This does not mean now watch netflix on your laptop. Remove the screen, look around your house; have you noticed and spent time with the other people in it? Try a conversation face to face. (Cheat: Games stimulate conversation).
- Change up your schedule. If you usually go to the gym in the evening, show up in the morning and vice-versa. Eat lunch a few minutes earlier or later. Have Taco Tuesdays for the past year? Maybe have pizza or Chinese instead. Don’t check your email first thing. If it was super important you would have a phone call, it can wait. You may just discover new ways to save time and improve efficiency.
- Get up a few minutes earlier and watch the sunrise or make a point to be someplace and watch the sunset. These events happen every day and are absolutely breathtaking. How often do you notice them? This doesn’t need to be an event saved only for vacation or dates; it will be amazing every time.
- Laugh every day. Whoever said laughter was the best medicine, in my opinion, was 100% correct. I have never felt bad, had a headache, was tired or bored after enjoying listening to a good comic. Sitcoms, youtube, facebook posts, comedy clubs, podcasts, funny friends. There are more ways to laugh everyday than you realize, and most of us do it rarely. Spend time with the people who give you positive energy, you always know because you smile and have energy when you are around them.
I am not a fan of resolutions, but I recommend and enjoy these thought provoking workbooks. These wonderful journals ask you to think about your life and dreams, helping and gently guiding you through some of your minds wandering to become your best self. Once you have thought on and remembered your dreams they suggest and help you create a plan of action to achieve those dreams. Remember dreaming, you used to do it all the time, those dreams are still there; just un-bury them, dust them off and watch vibrancy return to your soul.
To close here are a few quotes I am enjoying right now:
Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. -Robert Brault
Your time is limited, Don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other opinions drown your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. -Steve Jobs