Are You Setting Yourself up for Success or Failure?
Let’s jump straight in with a question.
How many days a week would you say are good for you, and how many suck a bit?
Do you go to bed most nights feeling pleased with how you’ve spent your day, or do you beat yourself up for not getting enough done, or moan about the things that did or didn’t happen?
Until recently, I felt pretty rubbish at the end of most days.
I put a lot of pressure on myself to be productive, and probably expected too much of myself. When I didn’t get everything ticked off of my to do list, I would automatically feel rubbish, and like I had failed.
That’s not so bad once in a while but when I realised that this was happening every single day, I figured I probably wasn’t doing myself a whole lot of good.
I had two problems:
- I constantly felt bad about myself, and
- I wasn’t very productive.
The first step to changing this was to notice it.
As soon as I realised I was making myself miserable almost every day, I decided I had to do something about it.
Have a think about the last few days. How much of that time did you spend smiling, laughing and feeling proud? And how much time did you spend complaining, feeling sorry for yourself, or giving yourself a hard time?
If you’re spending more than a tiny proportion of your days in a negative mood, recognise that, and decide that you’re not going to accept that anymore.
Although other people and things can influence our moods, ultimately, they’re up to us.
You can’t deny that if you wanted to be in a good mood badly enough, you could probably forget that your brother just stole your chocolate bar.
Most of the time, your mood is your choice.
(If you’re anything like me, your response to that will be to get all defensive and disagree. But next time you’re in a bad mood, stop and ask yourself if you could pull yourself out of it if you really wanted to. I bet you could.)
Once you’re aware of a problem, you need to solve it.
So this is where we usually grab for the chocolate, the Ben & Jerry’s, our favourite film, a shopping spree or a hug.
But, while these things often do the trick, they don’t really get to the root of the problem. They change the symptoms, not the cause.
To properly change our attitudes, we need to go deeper.
We need to work on our insides.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep on saying it: we’ve got to stop focusing on just the bits of us that everyone can see (like our exam grades and trophies), and pay more attention to our inside bits (like our motivations and triggers).
Our internal health has a huge impact on what we do and how we feel. Think about it:
- Some people are so scared that they can’t leave their homes.
- Lots of us are overweight because we comfort eat.
- Many people cake themselves in make-up because they’re self-conscious.
- If we feel fear, we will act scared.
- If we feel shy, we won’t make as many friends as we could.
- If we feel confident, we’ll perform better.
If we want to do great things, we need to think great things.
And there’s one very quick and simple way to think and do great things every day.
I’ve been doing this for almost a fortnight now, and it’s ridiculous.
Whereas in the past, ticking everything off of my to do list for a day was actually tweet-worthy, I now tick off more than I plan to almost every day.
Whereas before, I was snappy, grumpy, felt guilty and was always putting pressure on myself, I now feel excited, proud and positive.
The transformation is insane, and it’s been so easy.
Here it is:
Spend a few minutes at the start of every day getting yourself fired up.
Whether it’s before you get out of bed, while you’re getting dressed, or while you’re on the bus, get yourself worked up.
The idea is to create that feeling where you’re buzzing about something. You’re so excited that you want to talk about it non-stop, sing in the shower, and run up the stairs just because you can.
Now I know this sounds a bit loopy, but seriously.
All you have to do is think.
Think about anything good that’s coming up. Are you going on holiday? Do you have a date? Maybe you’re getting a new haircut? Anything you’re excited about will do.
Think about what you have. How lucky are you to have a dad who drives you to school each day? How awesome is it that you have a group of friends who you can have a laugh with? Aren’t you even a teeny bit glad that the milk in the fridge hasn’t gone off?
Think about how your life is going to change if you live today the way you’ve planned. If you eat healthily you’ll feel fresh and strong. If you push through your workout, it won’t be long until your body starts looking the way you want it to. If you do your revision, you’ll probably get into uni.
You can get ridiculous with this. If you’re struggling for biggies, go for the little things. Yeah, like the milk one.
Just fill your head with amazing things, so that you’re become excited about doing everything you need to do because each little task will bring you closer to your dreams.
It only takes a few minutes.
And everyone has a few minutes, even if it’s while they’re eating breakfast or cleaning their teeth.
Surely you can invest just a few minutes in your own happiness? A few minutes a day to set you up for success?
It’s easy. It’s simple. It helps.
Try it. :-)
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