Saturday, January 24, 2015

5 Habits to Increase Your Awesomeness

My New Year has started like a whirlwind. Seriously. January 1 found me riding in a car for 16 hours to travel home. 5 days later I was boarding a plane for another 5 days in the Bahamas (NOT relaxing, supervising approximately 50 adults and teens on a mission trip). Now that I'm home and the wind is dying down, I can write a little on my recent life reflections.

I've made it known that I'm not a fan of NYRs (New Year's Resolutions) because they're here today and gone just as quickly. I want something long term. Something that doesn't help you lose 10 pounds, but helps you be better at life in all areas. Here are some habits that I'm striving for.

1. Look on the bright side. 
My Optimist
This one's a constant struggle for me. I'm a pessimist. The glass isn't half full-- it's almost empty. For some reason I've developed the deeply rooted idea that if I look on the cloudy side, I'll never be disappointed. And of course, this isn't' true. Being married to an optimist has helped me greatly. EVERYthing is ok-- no, everything is awesome for my sweet husband. EVERY THING. Sometimes it frustrates me to no end. Most of the time it's the greatest gift he could give me. Example: I'm trying for a new max snatch. (A technical weightlifting move that involves pulling the weight from the ground to overhead in one motion.) I fail and feel frustrated and disappointed in myself. His response-- it's not a fail, it's a pull, which equals success.
*How do you develop sunny side thinking? 1) Surround yourself with positive people. 2) Whenever you detect negative thoughts, stop and redirect. 3) Begin keeping a gratitude journal-- at the end of the day, list 10 things you're thankful for. 4) Begin your day with inspirational reading. For me, it's the Bible-- the Psalms are a great place to find peace and encouragement.

2. Decide what's important.
These guys are what's important.
They also make sure I laugh often
and push me outside my comfort zone.

Voltaire said, "Good is the enemy of great." I cannot do everything I want to do. I cannot do everything I'm asked to do. I personally spend too much time doing things that don't matter (hello, Facebook). The key to being successful and at peace with your life is figuring out what's really important to you and then devoting your time and effort to those things. And this one is also a constant struggle. Too often I fall prey to the tyranny of the urgent-- just doing the things that are crying out for my attention. But that only leads to frustration and a frazzled life.
*How do you choose the important? 1) Make a list-- what is crying out for your attention right now? Jot it all down and the put it in number order. 2) Really think through that numbered list. Those things seem important, but are they really?
 
3. Face your fears. Aka Step outside your comfort zone.
I have grown the most when I've done things that have absolutely frightened me. And I'm not talking about going to Halloween Horror Nights. I'm talking about entering a competition, taking a job I wasn't sure I was qualified for, writing articles (and even this blog), interviewing people. All of those things have seemed beyond the scope of what I could do. But in facing those fears, I've experience such great joy-- and sometimes a little heartache. Facing your fears may not always end well, but it's worth the journey.
SERE Challenge. I laughed more in this event than any other--
thanks to an awesome team!
*How do you face your fears? Stop thinking about it, and do it. 

4. Laugh.
Don't take life so seriously. And especially do not take yourself so seriously. I'm a pessimist, but I also laugh. A Lot. Life can be difficult, and the amount of pressure that our employers, friends, and social circles put on us can be overwhelming. Laughter really is the best medicine. (Well, besides eating clean and exercising.)
*How do you laugh more? Seriously, did you just ask this question? 

5. Be yourself. This one might be the most important. People talk about finding themselves, or say they don't know who they are. I don't really get that. You are you. We are all uniquely created. There isn't really anything to find. Do what you like to do and forget about what everyone else says. Just don't hurt anyone in the process (or do anything illegal). Don't worry about pleasing other people. Don't be a jerk, either, but one way to ensure a miserable life is to spend it trying to please others. 
*How do you find yourself? Take your right hand, reach up and touch your nose. See? You're right there. Seriously, though. Just stop worrying about what you think you should do and do what makes you happy and healthy. I like what God says, "Love God. Love people" (my paraphrase). 

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