Things that take a small amount of effort in the short term can end up providing great results long term.
And in the moment when we make the choice to give more, it can be easy to question whether or not it’s worth it.
Ironing your clothes for the week ahead
Making your lunch the night before
Answering an email the day you receive it
Having a night routine
When you don’t feel like doing something it’s always useful to think about how good you’ll feel in the future. You’ll feel more relaxed, prepared and organised.
Who wouldn’t want that?
I start each day with a gratitude practice of listing 10 things I am grateful for.
Things are changing quickly and becoming quite difficult in some ways. It can be difficult to keep up with gratitude through challenging times.
You might find yourself wondering what exactly there is to be grateful for in a time of such great uncertainty. But I find that if you focus on the good bits (no matter how small) there is always something to be grateful for. I have no doubt that before you know it you’ll have reached 10 things pretty easily.
It could be sunny weather, the people you live with, the food in your cupboards, your health, the smoothie you made, being able to communicate with loved ones far away, the fact that you’re able to work from home, the friend that sent you a song as a pick me up, the extra time you have now you’re no longer commuting to work or even your favourite (almost) daily blog.
It might be difficult to think of things when you’re fearful or overwhelmed but know that this the perfect time to put your daily gratitude practice into practice
I’ve recently developed a new habit that I’d previously had difficulty implementing.
When I initially tried to add this habit to my life, I kept falling flat. I wasn’t doing it as often as I wanted and my commitment to it was half-hearted.
After a short while I gave up on the habit because it clearly wasn’t working. In hindsight I can see that the problem was my approach but I didn’t realise it at the time.
Despite this I still held the intention of the thing I wanted to become a habit but I’d stopped trying.
Weeks later whilst lost in thought I realised that I’d unknowingly implemented the habit I’d previously been working towards. I think it happened because the intention was in my subconscious.
Granted at the time, I was only less than 2 weeks into the habit so it was more of a practice but I couldn’t help but notice that things felt so much easier.
If you have an idea of what could be done or what is possible, would you be willing to put it into practice?
It’s really easy to talk the talk full of excitement and enthusiasm. But actually doing the things you talk about is a whole other story.
It’s easy to give advice when things are going well or tell other people what to do.
But what about taking your advice first?
Why not actually do the thing before you talk about it?
It’ll add some validation when you later recommend it to others and that might be what they need in order to listen.
In the company of one as in you, yourself and um you, there are many valuable lessons to learn.
A significant one being Who am I?
It’s much easier to gain an understanding of yourself when you’re not having to consider others. I think that the aspects of you in solitude should be the aspects of you that show up when you’re in the company of others.
Things like being able to say what you want, contribute opinions, take the lead and just be you.
For example, when you’re doing things alone you have to make decisions, you can’t rely on others to choose for you.
But for some despite how they are when they’re alone, in the company of others they end up being ‘them but less’, perhaps a little passive or even submissive.
You do it because you want to play the peacemaker or not rock the boat, you don’t think you deserve to be heard or perhaps you’re just scared.
Hiding/playing small is difficult to overcome once it’s ingrained in you as a habitual response.
But change is possible, it just takes practice.
But make it humorous.
How many times have you gone into a situation and rejected yourself or put yourself down before others had the chance?
And of course you don’t just say it out right, you make a joke because everyone likes to laugh. If it’s at your expense, maybe they’ll keep you around.
It’s interesting to identify the why behind your actions or the actions of others. It gives you a greater understanding and the opportunity to practice compassion.
So, maybe you could stop making those self deprecating jokes and try a vulnerable conversation with a friend (or someone else you’re comfortable talking to) instead.
For the last few months of 2019 I’ve been creating a manifesto for each month that I read every morning.
It’s sort of like a list of affirmations around a specific theme like opening up more, speaking my truth or letting go. I don’t remember what sparked this idea but it’s something that I’d recommend.
In some ways it’s also like a love letter to myself full of encouragement and self-belief.
The purpose is to give yourself control over how you begin your day and re-affirm the intentions you have for not only the day but your life overall.
When I write my manifesto I ensure that I’m open and in-flow, I think about what I want to focus on for the coming month, what I need to work on or be reminded of and then I just write.
Each manifesto so far has started with the same 2 sentences that sort of set the scene and open up my mind to fully receive the words that follow.
It isn’t any form of magic but I’ve found that when I start my mornings declaring that ‘I am letting go of what no longer serves me and embracing joy’ it becomes embedded into my subconscious. All of a sudden I’m having moments where I’m questioning why I allow certain things in my life and if they are serving me.
I’m an advocate for having practices that help and this is just one of many things that works for me.
The basis of this particular practice is to begin each day by reminding yourself that change is possible.
Sometimes things don’t quite pan out in real life.
I recently put something I believed to be true into practice and to my surprise, my theory turned out to be wrong.
It’s something I had tested before and carried in my mind as an idea that was true.
But all of a sudden I was faced with the harsh reality of being wrong or perhaps it was the reality of an anomaly.
However, the main takeaway was that theories should be tested. It’s no use going round with a thought, idea or even belief system that you consider to be true if it only exists in your mind.
Mid-week musings on not embracing anxiety.
If you find yourself caught in the analysis paralysis of indecision it might be worth making a conscious effort to care-less.
Instead of allowing the thoughts to go on and on until breaking point, give yourself a deadline.
3 minutes, 3 hours or 3 days before you have to take action. Do it for at least a week and keep a dairy of the decisions you made and the outcome.
The ideal outcome would be that you find that whether you care or care-less things will still be alright which is a pretty good reason to stop being so afraid of making decisions.
You’ll have physical evidence that what you decide isn’t always the most important thing it’s how you feel and your attitude towards what you’ve decided.
And if you find you’ve picked something that didn’t result in the desired outcome , then it’ll be the perfect time to practice your bouncebackability.
At the end of trying out a different approach to decision making the beauty of it is, is that if it was just totally dreadful you can always go back to your old approach.
If that’s the the case at least you tried which is often more important than the actual result.
The words I shared in January weren’t perfect. In fact they’re on the opposite end of the scale and I winced last week reading through them.
My writing style was not where I thought it was. It’s wasn’t witty, clear, concise and well written like I had hoped.
It was scattered with errors and I’d forgotten to take words out so some things didn’t quite make sense.
However, I was doing something new and getting the hang of writing something I felt comfortable sharing everyday.
But the beauty of doing this daily blogging thing is, each day I have the chance to write something better.
And then bit by bit (or even drip by drip – a reference to something Seth Godin has said many times) I’ll improve. Maybe practice won’t ever make perfect (what would the perfect blog post look like anyway?) but it will (almost) always make me better.