OK, I have a confession. I am so happy to start a new week! Last week was a little bit too hectic, with too much to do and too many demands. I know you know what I’m talking about.
It’s August for cryin’ out loud. It’s supposed to be filled with the lazy days of summer, poolside, with a cold drink, or a picnic with friends or the kids. But for whatever reason, this summer doesn’t seem to be going that way. This summer is all about rushing here or rushing there, we’ve been busier than ever. I was lamenting this last night when I remembered that I have complete control over my reaction to the chaos, and I had the power to change my attitude if I wanted to.
As Gloria Steinem said, “The truth shall set you free, but first it will piss you off.” I thought of that, as I was annoyed that I was pulling out the vacuum to clean for the arrival of a house guest and I just had to laugh. That’s exactly how I was feeling. I didn’t feel like being responsible for my reaction to the chaos, I just wanted to be annoyed by it. And I guess I could have stayed annoyed by it, but those moments of annoyance are moments I don’t get back. Once I’ve spent them that way, they’re gone.
But it got me thinking about the week ahead. I have just two weeks left of summer with my kids, and spending time with them during these dog days of summer are a huge reason I left corporate America. I certainly wouldn’t want to give these days away to annoyances, rushing and frenetic mind chatter.
As I point out often (to remind me just as much as I remind you), we aren’t promised tomorrow, and once the moments we experience today are gone, they’re gone. So how can we use them to the best of our ability, and balance what needs to get done for work, for the house, for us and for our loved ones?
So I grabbed a piece of paper and a pen and wrote a description of one of my favorite moments from the past. It was a small moment. I remembered having my dad next to me on the beach, my kids laughing with my husband in the waves and the sweet summer breeze that was keeping us all cool. I felt so peaceful and calm, and full. You know what I mean? Just satisfied with the sweetness and simplicity of life.
And as always, I extend that exercise to you, too. Write down a soothing memory from the past, like hearing someone you love laughing, or watching the sun rise. Describe the moment in detail (just quickly, no need to write a novel) and think about what made that moment so great. What were you feeling? Who was with you? What did you love about it?
Once you have that description, look it over and remember the details.
Why? Because what you focus on expands.
So if you wrote down something like, “Hearing my kids laugh while they’re swimming” or “Watching my husband make dinner” you’ll be more aware of those moments as they happen in the coming week; Your radar will be fine tuned to notice more of what you love, and that will change your mood faster than anything.
Because to be effective in our daily-lives, and tackle the never-ending to-do list, being happy and grateful are the number one determinants of our success. It’s so much harder to focus, and we waste so much energy, when we’re slogging through life trying to “manage” it all. Take note of what you love and call your attention to it and watch those check marks fly on your to-do list.
Got get ’em.