A lot of times we over-think things. We weigh decisions that are not yet upon us – I just got an interview at company X, but do I really want to work there (or even more inconsequential, do I really want that commute)? We replay options and scenarios again and again in our mind, even though we can’t possibly know the value of any of them without taking further steps. We worry about what might be or what might happen or what people might think, even when nothing has occurred yet.
Anxiety feeds on the unknown. Taking action diminishes the unknown and therefore the anxiety. Focusing on activity rather than analysis makes you happier.
Happiness is also supported by activity because getting our body moving increases energy. It also improves concentration. At times it feels like my cardio workouts are the only time my mind is quiet! Activity lightens our mood.
Where are you spending too much time thinking rather than doing? What activity can you add to your daily practice to fuel your energy, improve your focus and lighten your mood?
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication – Leonardo da Vinci
I finally ordered about $350 worth of new organizers from the Container Store and went closet-by-closet and drawer-by-drawer to purge and reorganize. I had more than a few, “Oh that’s where that was!” or “I didn’t know I had that!” a-ha moments. I found a $10 bonus card that was still good (cashed it!), as well as a year’s worth of school supplies I now won’t need to buy for next year. Everything is much clearer and simpler now. My file cabinets are next!
Where can you simplify?
Beyond organizing your possessions, can you simplify your career? What is your elevator pitch – your unique value or super-power in 20 seconds or less?
Can you simplify your schedule? What are the 3 key things you need to do today, not just copying and pasting your unfinished to do list from yesterday?
Can you simplify your inputs? We are bombarded with emails, advertisements, news (you have 50 messages, invites and pokes on Facebook!). Can you start a daily practice of silence for 5 minutes or turning off electronics for one hour before sleep or reaching for something other than your mobile device first thing in the morning?
With awareness, we can make new choices – Berrnadette Penotti
I worked with Berrnadette Penotti as my life coach in 2013. This quote on awareness is one of my favorite lessons from our work together. I would often lapse into, “I always do _______.” Berrnadette would remind me that every day, indeed every moment within the day, we have the chance to start anew. Even if I habitually reacted a certain way, once I was aware of that tendency, things weren’t pre-ordained; I could CHOOSE a different behavior, reaction, or outcome.
January has the natural momentum of a new year. But that puts a lot of pressure on January. What happens in February if you’ve already missed a milestone, dropped a habit, or run out of self-motivation.
If that happens to you, just start again. With awareness, we can make new choices.
The greatest hurdle is convincing yourself that what you want is possible. – Author Unknown
I recently read the latest Chip and Dan Heath book, Decisive, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It is about making better decisions, and one of the book’s first recommendations is Widen Your Options. Think “And” rather than “Either/Or”. Many times that alone makes us creative enough to figure out new solutions.
This quote also reminds us to substitute “Can I?” for “How Can I?” When we assume that something is possible, we can move our energy into how to make it so.
Where are you spinning your wheels to convince yourself to move forward? What if you knew it was a possible and it was just a question of what to do next? What will you do now?
You can’t have everything. Where would you put it? – Steven Wright
Of course, as a comic, I have to quote a comic. But more significant than how funny this is, is how true this is. Having everything poses a space problem. More brings more headaches.
This isn’t to discourage you from striving. There is something to be said for dreaming big and thinking beyond either/ or. In that sense, the prospect of having it all is healthy.
On the other hand, accumulating blindly and not acknowledging the costs of your other limited resources (space, energy, attention) is unhealthy. You still want to consciously choose what you want to attain.
For me, having it all means being creative AND making money, having a thriving career AND a loving family, feeling challenged AND getting enough rest.