I am new to this self improvement game – at one time I would have used the term self improvement malarkey instead of game but that brings me to point #1
For my life to improve and start to move towards the person I wanted to be and the lifestyle I pictured in my head I have had to make some serious changes recently.
- I had to stop getting so hung up on words and terms like self improvement, growth mentality, meditation. I was not happy with my life and I needed to do things differently to start to turn it around. That starting point of knowing that I needed to turn things around automatically led to self improvement, growth and accepting the benefits of things like meditation.
Hey I finally learnt that mediation doesn’t mean I have to sit cross legged and be uncomfortable and zen like for hours. If I can recommend a great book to cut through the noise of the word meditation then it is Dan Harris an ABC News guy who wrote the book 10% Happier.
- Another suggestion that I always heard about to “turn your life around” which I always poo pooed was the art of gratitude. What did I have to be grateful for? I pretty much hated my life but I decided to give this gratitude thing a try. I heard of this trick where a guy kept a rock / pebble in his pocket and when he felt it there he would stop and list what he was grateful for at that moment. I scoured my apartment for a pet rock or equivalent and found a second world war medal that was my grandfathers. It killed two birds with one stone or medal:- 1. It fit great in my pocket, not too big to carry around yet durable enough to be my lifelong gratitude reminder and 2. What better more relevant item could I find than a medal from someone who fought for my freedom?
So my daily routine consists of stopping intermittently to list my gratitudes. It starts early on my 6 am walk to work. Grateful that I woke up to see another day, that I have the health and ability to walk to work, that I have a job to go to and get paid for. I have gone so far as to set a mid morning 11 am alarm that goes off to remind me to stop and be grateful for a few seconds. It is amazing when I stop and just be still and list in my head what I have to be grateful for – like 4 amazing grown kids, shelter, clothing, access to food, clean water, the surroundings of my beautiful city. So after adjusting my thinking and opening myself to trying the grateful routine I have found in all honesty it has given me some joy in my day that wasn’t there before.
Number 3 is a battle that I seldom win and often lose right now. That little irritating voice in my head that tells me that all these new methods I am trying to improve my life and circumstances are for nothing – that voice still wins most days right now but I have to shut the mini me up! On a day when I am on the ball I can deal with him pretty well. There are still more days than most when he brings me down and tells me this is another one of those schemes of mine that will fail. I have to work so hard to shut that voice up but I do remember those seldom days when I do a good of silencing him and I see those thoughts coming at me – on those good days I find I notice them and discard them right away. Every day I am determined to get better at seeing/hearing those thoughts, recognizing what they are and immediately set them aside. This takes focus, something I have always struggled with, focus. But like when I play golf there is always one golf shot in a shitty round that brings me back for more punishment another day. The same with my fights with my thinking there is that one time where I do a good job and see the bad thought and deflect it right away and it makes me feel good. I want that on a more regular basis, Kicking those niggling thoughts to the curb, it might take a thousand tries but I know it is worth it.