In the last two blogs we have dealt with how small changes can improve our lives. Specifically, in the first blog I discussed the difference in two types of motivation – restrictive (I have to …) or constructive (I choose to…) Basically, it is the difference in the mindset or approach we take when approaching a task. Either way the job has to get done but with restrictive motivation we feel put upon or upset as compared to constructive motivation which causes us to find something positive either about the task or at least the feeling of accomplishment we will receive when it is finished. Listen to yourself and others over the next few days and you may be surprised at how often restrictive motivation is used. No wonder so many people feel perpetually exhausted! Just visualize the difference in a smile or a frown. It literally takes more muscles (thus energy) to frown. When we use restrictive motivation we are, in essence, constantly frowning on the inside. Conversely, when we are practice constructive motivation we are smiling our way through it.
The next blog on the theme of small changes we can make for a happier tomorrow was on the topic of hope. Show me a person who exhibits hope and I will show you a person who is successful at life regardless of his station. When we practice hope long enough it becomes an habitual way of thinking. We train ourselves, in essence, to expect good things to happen in our lives and refuse to be sidetracked by a challenge along the way. We become more optimistic and inspired by even the little things in life because we are surrounding ourselves with positive energy. Hope truly does spring eternal and is a learned behavior.
The next small change we can initiate is training ourselves to deal with things we can change and not allow ourself to wallow in blame, fear or self pity for the things we cannot change. One sentence or thought repeated enough can make a huge difference. For instance, by thinking to ourselves ‘I simply won’t go there’ it helps us to redirect our attention to the things we can change rather than wasting our precious moments on this earth dealing with negative thinking. This one simple but powerful statement speaks volumes about what you value and what you choose to fill your mind with in life. Remember the statement – garbage in – garbage out? Negatives in the form of worry or drama are not elements of problem solving but are merely methods of either attention getting or unresolved fears. Neither approach fixes anything and, in fact, simply makes the issue bigger than necessary in our own minds. I have never seen anyone solve a problem by constantly worrying about it or repeatedly and dramatically talking about over and over. In fact, these ‘catastrophic thinkers’ can sap the life energy right out of us.
Each of us will have our own fair amount of problems to deal with in life. The longer you live the more you can see that life seems to be an equal opportunity employer. It is simply part of the human condition. Developing a Plan (sometimes even a Plan A, B and C) and working through the steps we need to follow (with mid course corrections along the way) is a constructive way to address an issue and keep it in perspective. Naturally we begin to feel more in control with any issue we are dealing with when we stop perseverating on it or on the ‘what ifs…’ and develop steps to address it.
These above ideas may simply seem like little more than common sense to many of us. However, there is a difference in knowing something and actually doing it – a big difference!
Listen to yourself over the next few days and see if you can put one or two of these ideas in motion. Just remember when dealing with any change in our lives, step by step is a cinch.
Have a great few days!