This is part two of a 5-day series this week as I follow a 5-day reset journey toward happiness using One Day thinking, rather than Someday thinking. Join me, even if it’s just quietly reading and watching me as I go through the steps. Or, share your stories of inspiration and failure to help us all move along our own paths to happiness. If you feel like it, drop a line here or on my Facebook page: What did you do today?
Today I woke with a Day Two mentality: I was excited. Of course I can keep persevering, because 5 days is not really that long and day two of a five-day journey is a piece of cake. I’m not even very far in and I’m already achieving my goals. Go, go! (Pat myself on the back.)
I ran two miles. It was hard but it felt really good. And Luna dog was an incredible dog runner. I thought she would pull or stop or trip me up and be a liability. But she made it more fun, and it reminded me how much easier it is to do things with someone else sometimes. She will be my partner all week, getting me through my 2-mile runs every day. (Because I know better than to push it. Two miles is a perfect beginning. It’s more than I thought I could do. I won’t try to do more than that until I have this two-mile circuit down pat.)
So, to be clear with all of you about my happiness plan this week, I have recently decided that I want more from my life. I want to feel more connected to my time here, both to this day, today, and to the ways I want to live my whole life. To make this happen, I decided to write down the 5 things that I know will make me happier. And, using One Day thinking (rather than Someday thinking), every day I will do each thing one time: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Done. My top 5 goals may be totally similar or diametrically opposed to what you want–all you need to do is follow along with me by making a list of your own top 5 things. They can be very, very small, or very, very big, but you need to be able to do them each day. So they need to be measurable in some way. Like, can you check a box that says “Done, da-dun-dun-DUN!” each day? That’s measurable. That’s okay. Do that.
These are the 5 things I want to achieve this week:
- Start being more physically strong: Run, walk, or bike one time each day.
- Be more focused: Pick one task and finish it to completion before moving on. Every time. No matter what it is–dishes, laundry, writing, gardening, financial planning. Pick, do, complete.
- Write every day. It is the only way that I know how to absolutely connect to my higher self, or my source, or my inner warrior, and when I don’t write or express myself then I feel as if I am dying a small bit each day because I don’t feel like I’m me anymore. So write. Just write. One time, one day, five days in a row.
- Clear the clutter: I have too much laundry. I have too many junk drawers. I have too many old shampoo bottles knocking around under the bathroom sink. I want them gone. They are driving me crazy. They are a waste of space and time. They overwhelm me. I don’t like creating so much garbage. So: One day at a time, one load of laundry, one drawer a day. Clean it out. Get rid of it. Don’t buy anything new. Every day for five days.
- Play more with my kids. I have become distracted this year. I spend every day with our kids and I tell them I love them many times a day. But I have a part of my brain operating somewhere else most of the time: I am thinking about other stuff–and I am often mentally half present with my kids. I want to see the light flow out from their hearts and through their eyes while they are laughing in full belly laughs about the silliest thing they can imagine. And I want to laugh with them. Every day for five days.
Yesterday, on Day One of my One Day happiness plan this week, I spent the morning doing the first part of the most important aspect of self-improvement: I went for a long walk and I spilled the beans. Essentially, I called my best friend. The best part? She listened. This is a gift that cannot be underestimated. It’s powerful stuff, because the act of opening the windows, airing your dirty laundry, excavating the cobwebs, spelunking through the caves and dealing with the skeletons hiding in there, is an essential step. Life isn’t a bed of roses all the time. We know that already, at least functionally, but we have a way of stuffing junk into closets and drawers and putting them out of sight and out of mind in the hopes that they won’t bother us anymore, but the truth of the matter (as any good closet organizer will tell you) is that the sad, dusty, smelly old stuff never just goes away. It collects dust and grows old, moldy, or out of use; it even becomes tangled among other old, dusty things and becomes even more atrocious and impossible to extricate.
And if you’re not clearing out the old, maybe you’re not letting the truth take center stage. You’re avoiding it, and hoping it will go away. At its worst, avoidance of truth can turn into total annihilation from self, including a lack of care about who you are or even crimes against self and others. So don’t go there. Save yourself and others the agony of that path. Be truthful, and start today by doing some simple mental/emotional housecleaning. Air the agony. Shrug off the stuff that doesn’t belong anymore.
How do you air your dirty laundry? How do you live authentically? How do you show all your selves, even the shadow ones–the weakest parts of you, the ones that don’t have it all figured out? Start by opening the shades. Open the windows. Use your words or your tears or your laughter or your anger and let things climb out of the dark recesses of your consciousness. You need to air your dirty laundry. That’s what truly good friends (and therapists, and family, and pastors, and community leaders) are for.
- Let your words spill out. “Say what you wanna say/And let the words fall out/Honestly I wanna see you be brave,” -Sara Bareilles
And then, at that blissful moment: when the weight has been lifted; when the burdensome, ponderous weight of that thing you have been carrying about from place to place…is gone(!), dispelled, freed: You will suddenly find new energy.
This new energy is what you are searching for. It’s why you came here. It’s yours.
With this new energy, look around: And I mean it–really look around. Break up the brain pathways that keep you locked into a familiar pattern. Break up your thinking. You can do this, whatever it is, so: Look up. Look down. Look left. Look right. Look at your hands and your feet. Look at your knees. If you’re inside, look out the window or open the door. What do you see?
What do you want? What do you want today? This day? This one day? What is your heart begging for today? What is your body asking for? What does your mind need today? What one thing do you keep saying you want someday? What do you want one day? What if it was today?
For me, as I thought yesterday about all of the things I wanted, I arrived at a couple of pretty simple first goals: I want a stronger sense of physical strength, and less clutter. I want my body and my home to reflect a resilience that I have in my soul. Does that make sense? I feel like my body is not holding me tightly enough sometimes. I just turned 41 and I can feel all the marks of my life sort of pressing in like thumbprints on my body. I want to be able to run and bike and garden and play and leap, and while I am very capable of doing a lot of things, I know I can do better. And I’m so darn tired of clutter that I just see no reason to keep carting it around with me anymore.
- Choose a goal (big picture) and make it simple to get there (one thing): What do you want for this one day? If you could collapse time, what would it look like today if you had what you wanted on this one day?
Want to know one of the biggest barriers to achieving physical health? It’s putting on your shoes. So set those shoes by your door to remind you in the morning: Your best self is begging you to put them on. Lace them up. And go. If you’re at the beginning of a physical goal, start with the one that sounds like the most fun. It doesn’t have to be running. It could be a beautiful walk, or a dance in the park, or a lovely shuffle down the block. But put on those shoes and do it. Just once. Take the step.
And as part of my work on my own mental/emotional health, join me this week in doing this one very simple for yourself this one day: Speak up. Let it out. Start spelunking and making room for all the good energy, your true self, to start rising.
Get moving. Let Sara Bareilles’s song Brave get you started. 🙂