|Here is a place I often move to in my head.|
I would love to be a person who wakes, flips the covers back, and says:
“Hi, new day! I’ve been looking forward to seeing you since yesterday! And, look! The sun’s not even up and my novel is waiting, my essay is nearly done, and I’m doing arms and legs in my work out today! I love arms and legs days!”
Instead, I start writing before dawn, but often interrupt myself to check news, and Facebook, and texts, and email before coming back to the (now relatively) less compelling page.
If I’m really lazy, I’ll think about what I should be doing instead, until it’s too late to do the instead.
I fight this more often than I like to admit. Most of the time I win, but the point is, I struggle to muster the discipline so often, I wonder if my goals are realistic if I have to work that hard.
They are, and I know they are because I am never happier than when I’ve written something I like, and completed a respectable work-out and moved through my day so that at a decent hour, I’m preparing a great meal and reading while I wait for things in the oven. That’s it. That’s my daily satisfaction-map.
My sister-in-law, Christine Cook, is a personal health coach who runs a successful health and fitness website called Positive Energy as well as an online self-improvement program on Facebook called Positive Energy Insiders. The members consist mostly of women over forty who are pausing at this midlife juncture to think hard about the things that make them happy, or could. With prompts from Christine, members are learning to execute routes to happier living.
And why must we rely on prompts if we know what makes us happy?
Because it's easier to remain behind the start line where it’s warm and comfortable, than it is to do the work of moving forward and then staying in motion.
In a stressed out world it can be easy to confuse a low-conflict life with being happy. But real happiness can involve work. It may not be work to be grateful, or pleasant, or compassionate and creative or nice. But to the extent that happiness is about getting back what you put in, it can be work to be happy. For many of us, the idea of putting into each day what might feel just outside the reach of our will, can lead to putting semi-stimulating but less energy-producing things first.
Like news, or videos, or articles or who ate what, went on vacation, had a baby, got married or is celebrating a friend-versary on Facebook.
If you’ve discovered the spirit and self-awareness to a) know you need something more, and b) have visualized what that is, and c) have identified your own obstacles, there is a pretty good chance that in direct proportion to the effort you make, you’ll experience more happiness than you're used to.
|Heartfelt words of Christine's|
Inspired by Melinda Gates, one of Christine’s prompts recently was to create a word that speaks to our general desire to accomplish or produce or realize goals and tasks that we know will relax our minds, energize our bodies, and open our hearts to humor, love and gratitude.
I resist how-to’s in general if I think I can do things through sheer will. But this prompt – a word that encapsulates drive, passion, and who you wish to be, well, sign me up.
My word is Move, and it’s working.
Forget should-haves, or when will I’s, or why can’t I’s. All of those are things we tell ourselves about unmet goals, and if we’ve developed a plan to live more happily around a warm-up routine of regret and self-pummeling, it’s like trying to run in deep water.
So, if you are lucky enough to be able, body and mind-wise, to even work toward “happy,” let that word of yours pull on your sleeve, and make it your partner. Because, the right word may be all the power you need to push you over that start line, where it will feel too good to go backwards.
Me? The sun isn't even up, I wrote this whole post, and now I am in motion.