What do you do each and every day that feels AWESOME?
Let me rephrase that: How often do you pay attention to the actions you take and how they make you feel?
I write a lot about how much we live on autopilot and how it's not our fault, it’s in our biochemistry; our bodies crave the Easy Button. Just like with exercise, there’s a reason we feel an internal battle - our bodies don't recognize the value of the hard work we're putting it through until after it’s over, because it FEELS like a struggle.
But guess what? You're smarter than your body! That intelligence has you taking actions you don’t always enjoy in the moment, so why do you do it? Because you feel better after and you understand it benefits you in the long run.
ARE YOU LIVING YOUR LIFE?
Have you ever heard the saying,
“You can either live your life or let your life live you?”
I'm just going to say it: Most of us let our lives live US.
We don’t bring much attention to our decisions, and that’s how we fall in the trap of letting our life live us. Think of what your mind is doing when you’re scrolling through social media. We complain that we don’t have enough time, but then we waste hours on social media. What value does that social media scrolling hold in your life? If you could relive that day you spent on your phone, would you spend your time differently?
We go through the motions and justify our actions. But when we actually take time to think about our actions, we tend to appreciate them more. Taking time to think about what we're doing when we're doing it helps us feel more awake, in control, and alive as we take action.
Because so many of us go through the motions of living our daily lives, we don’t set a specific intention for our day; but setting intention is the secret sauce. Setting intentions for your day sets you up for success! It gives you expectations and creates a mental template of what you want to happen today to feel your best.
Think about it…how do you know when you’ve had a good day or a bad day? It’s a feeling, right? You can point out events that took place on any given day that led to a good day or a bad day, but ultimately we tend to focus on the FEELINGS; we can feel the ickyness of a bad day and the thriving energy of a good day. So, wouldn’t you like to experience more good days than bad days? Of course you would, but how can you make that happen?
By setting an intention.
It can be a simple question you ask yourself in the morning like, "What do I need to do to be successful today?" And see what comes up. Start to notice what takes place on an average day that really gives you energy. Being aware or mindful of what events make you FEEL successful will set you up to experience more good days versus bad. Write them down! Look back at your list when you start to feel overwhelmed to remind you of everything you're capable of accomplishing!
Why do I keep using the word "feel"? Mostly because the majority of us are so blissfully unaware of how certain things feel. If you think about it, you’re probably better at identifying things that make you feel bad versus good - but why? It’s due to how we direct our attention around good or bad events. Consider how much attention you internally spend on good versus bad events. If you’re anything like the average person, you barely give yourself any self-recognition when things go right, right? People rarely celebrate the good feelings and almost write them off as expectations.
But heaven forbid we make a mistake or something bad happens, because then we spiral - it’s all our mind can focus on! But that’s the point. Because we direct more attention to bad events versus good, our perception is a little cloudy. In order to experience more good days versus bad, take the first step and figure out what to set your intention towards.
And how do you do that, you might ask?
Pay attention to how everything makes you feel.
Our mind and body are predisposed to do what feels good, so when you start paying attention, you’ll notice the days you say are Good, you'll experience more things that feel good! That’s not to say nothing bad happened on a day you labelled Good, but when you reflect, you'll recognize the good events of the day outweigh the bad.
Understanding what activities or actions in your life cause you to feel good will prepare you for when you encounter a bad day. That way when you do encounter a bad day, you can include some of those actions or activities to improve the day and make you feel good again!
Paying attention to a specific action that makes you feel good allows the feeling to travel deeper within. It makes that feeling resonate more with your soul so you FEEL it deeper. So, when compared to the "bad" or difficult events of the day, the good stands out because you made an intention to connect and feel that goodness more deeply. Still with me here?
BAD ALWAYS WINS
It’s true that we remember more bad than good, but we can change that.
Have you ever made a pros and cons list, where the list is full of pros, but the weight of items on the cons overshadows what's on the pro side? That’s because of how much things MEAN to us. We have the power to influence how much weight we take on when events happen, and more often than not, we FEEL the cons more than the pros.
You will feel what you feel, that won’t change, but how you respond to those feelings can change everything. For example; making an intention to FEEL the good events of the day will make a day seem better. Instead of being automated, you can CHOOSE to respond by thinking about how each and every success feels, no matter how small.
Shame, guilt, and judgment are way too prevalent in our lives, and that is what makes the bad stuff feel so bad, because those feelings reach deeper than joy. But we also CHOOSE those feelings for ourselves. When has feeling shame, guilt, or judgment ever really changed anything? The answer is, it hasn’t. It just makes you feel crappy about yourself.
Want to know how to change that? Befriend those emotions….don’t treat them like the evil we interpret them to be. Try to understand them, get curious.
When we try to avoid those feelings, they just stick around longer. But if you explore a little and try to understand why you feel guilty or shameful or judged, you might realize you’re creating a war within yourself. Most of the time you don't want to feel those things, or know why you’re feeling them, they just arise. If you pause and try to understand them and get curious about why they came up, not only do you reduce their weight, but you also help prepare yourself for the future, because if you can understand why you feel those feelings, you can adjust and learn how to keep them from appearing in your daily life.
Transitioning off of autopilot definitely feels unnatural. Your mind will have to think way more and sometimes you might even get trapped in your thoughts trying to understand them.
There are a few simple questions you can ask yourself to help transition into mindfulness. Ask yourself these three questions EVERY DAY for a week, and notice how good it feels. I bet after a week, you’ll still do it…..you know why? Because it feels GOOD!
How does that feel?
What went well today or yesterday? (I prefer to reflect while I brush my teeth in the morning, makes my day start off on the right foot, but see what works for you)
What do I need to do to be successful today? (Hint, answer the top 2 questions and you’re probably off to a good start!)
Start small and you'll see the difference. You got this!