Your problem is your intention

When trying to form new habits or get started with a task we often focus on the action that needs to be taken. “I have to get up at 5am”, “I have to get this report written”, “I don’t want to get all this washing done”. This may even take place hundreds of times a day and it can certainly become exhausting.

Something simple we can all do to transform this perceived never ending cycle of things we don’t fancy doing is to consider the intent behind why we are doing each of them. “I am getting up at 5am BECAUSE I intend to improve my life and remove stress from my day”. “I am writing this report BECAUSE I intent to open up new opportunities to a career I really love”. “I am doing all this washing BECAUSE I want to look good for my date and I want my kids to be happy in clean clothes”. I don’t have kids and any dates I personally have are with my wife, but you get the idea.

We are all too focused on the task at hand instead of the intent of it. Sure, not everything has a good intent at the end. It is not about being a ‘hippy’ and trying to say that everything is great. But more often than not there is always something being improved (even marginally) or adjusted by every action you take. If you can tune in to your own intent you’ll start to see it in others too and ultimately you really will start to see your days improve.

I have written this post because I genuinely want you to have a better day. This is what gets me up early at 5am every morning… and I used to hate mornings. If I didn’t have you to write for, I would absolutely still be in bed. Thank you.

Word of the day: Momentum
Meaning: the force or speed of an object in motion, or the increase in the rate of development of a process:

Where now?

The most driven, certain and happy of us can hit a point in time now and again where we wonder, ‘where next’. Typically this is spawned from a sense of uncertainty but can also come from discomfort about having to do something tougher than we are used to.

Worse still is that we often ask ourselves for the answer. Given we are the person asking the question this rarely results in a smart, sensible or anywhere close to perfect outcome.

If you’re hitting this point the quickest thing you can do without even having to interact with anyone is consume information from those who are most likely to have a solid answer for you… or something close to it. Read books, read articles, listen to podcasts, watch youtube videos, email the authors, email friends or contacts you’ve not spoken to for a while. All of these are viable routes for getting some much needed perspective.

You can of course ask closer friends or your family. This can be a viable path but it often comes with too much emotional attachment. They want you to be happy, and often they may not fully understand your particular struggle point. So while they are invaluable for getting additional thought, perspective or perhaps validating your own conclusions I would always recommend trying to get input form a more neutrally emotional party as a first pass.)

One thing I find helps me when I struggle with ‘where now’ is to write out all the possible destinations. As I read, listen and talk I keep a note on my phone and/or paper that collates all the possible next steps. When I feel I’ve got all I can (or a little more than enough) I can hold those paths up to my purpose and more times than not am clear on where to tread next. If I still have doubt, I then reach out to family and friends.

The most important thing is not to put off making the decision. Hesitating, delaying and ignoring almost always compound an issue. Even if your decision is to take a painful or scary path, it is much better for your mind and health to put your energy into progressing down that path rather than hiding from deciding which way to go in the first place. More often than not, you’re avoiding what you know to be the inevitable.

Stop hiding from choices today. Get informed. Pick your path. Feel better.

Word of the day: Decisive
Meaning: Having or showing the ability to make decisions quickly and effectively.

You are literally you as long as you want to be

You don’t have to wait 10 years to be the person you want to be. You can literally be who you want to be as of reading this.

We all believe that we need to DO a bunch of things to BE who we want to be in the future. This is not correct.

If you want to be healthier, or there for your kids, or a better listener, or a bird watcher you can be that person right now. You then DO and get what is needed to facilitate and support who you are.

We too often confuse HAVING or DOING with BEING. But if you take a little time to run that in the other direction you’ll realise you don’t have to wait to catch up with ‘future you’ to be happy and purpose-led. You just have to be happy and purpose-led today to lead yourself to the things and activities that you want to be doing… why delay feeling happy and fulfilled for no reason?

We are many things: parents, managers, doctors, cyclists, eaters, runners. None of these things are who we ARE they are just what we do. When you realise they are separate you can instantly decide who you want to be even if you don’t or can’t immediately change what you do day-to-day.

So go be good to yourself today and spend a little time thinking about who you want to be.

Word of the day: Culture
Meaning:

  1. the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.
  2. the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.

Be a problem solver. Not a problem.

When was the last time you looked forward to someone complaining to you about something? It struck me recently that as a society the majority of us appear to be wired to see, feel and create problems. From complaints about lack of time and resource, to politics, to home life, to the lives and people we see and interact with on social media. There is a need to ‘take people down a peg’ or see the worst in people and situations. While this isn’t everyone it’s a noticeable trend overall.

I am not a ‘hippy’. I don’t align myself with spiritual beliefs. But I do believe many of us could be doing a better job of communicating with each other. Take social media as an example, the University of New Mexico did a study on “User Experiences of Regret While Engaging with Social Media” which you can read more on here that really highlights how quickly we want to attack people and create problems. Without the real time feedback of interacting face to face, we say things we simply wouldn’t otherwise and later come to regret once we better process the interaction. But worse still, is that some are never learning that regret in the first place and this is getting more toxic for the world as days pass. This uncovers an entirely separate thread about us living behind ‘masks’ but lets leave it at this for today, it is 5am (for me) after all 😉

My overall point is that when interacting with people – be that with your family, friends or work colleagues – be aware of what you’re saying and consider if you’re helping to improve a situation and if people enjoy interacting with you or if you’re actually just spewing forth negativity and piling on problems. Every day isn’t perfect and it is ok to have problems, but it shouldn’t become what you are known for. If you do, it should not be surprising to realise that if you mostly bring problems to the table that you’ll be invited to the table a lot less.

Have a phenomenal day.

Task of the day: Write a thank you note to someone. ANYONE. Ideally on paper, but worst case an email or text.

Word of the day: Delight
Meaning: Please (someone) greatly. “an experience guaranteed to delight both young and old”

Pitch First

As I sit here, green tea in hand at 5am I feel accomplished, because I am finally sitting here at 5am with a green tea in hand.

This has been something I wanted my life to involve – a ‘Mindful Morning’ – for quite some time, but for some reason I’ve never quite been able to get there. I’ve had the occasional groggy 6am, quite a few at 7, but I’ve never hit the sweet 5.

It turns out, that while the struggle was physically at the 5am alarm that I would snooze and ignore, the problem was what I did the day before. While I wanted to ‘bat’ I didn’t spend any time on the ‘pitch’.

There are two reasons I sit here today writing this. The first is ‘purpose’. I was motivated to get out of bed today because I have been genuinely looking forward to writing this post. I am excited about purpose.

The second was ‘the pitch’. Yesterday I spent my time preparing for today. I set out my clothes for my early morning, my clothes that I will switch to for the day after a shower, I went to bed early, I had water ready to drink when I woke up, I cleaned the bedroom, I put on a diffuser with a ‘sound sleep’ scent (whatever that actually is, and no, it’s not lavender) and did everything else I could to prepare for today. It worked.

I’m not suggesting you have to wake up at 5am, or even early at all. But before you go crashing into today I can highly recommend spending a little more time on your pitch and give yourself the best chance of hitting it out of the park.

Word of the day: Zeal.
Meaning:  Fervor for person, cause, or object; eager desire or endeavor; enthusiastic diligence; ardor.

30 Second Resolutions

Just like sprouts to Christmas, resolutions get relegated to the start of the year. We all take a deep breath, make a bunch of promises that are mostly broken by spring and then let ourselves spend the rest of the year aquiring stress, berating ourselves about our failures and wishing we had more drive and direction. 

Instead of giving yourself the single best (and then worst) present each year of optimistic resolutions, give yourself an amazing present every day. When you open your eyes (or perhaps when you take your first sip of coffee) allow yourself 30 seconds each day to think about what you could do to improve your life by just 1%. Over the course of a year this adds up, and it’s more likely you’ll achieve what you want.

Lofty goals and ‘big purpose’ is hugely valuable however, this comes with a side helping of patience and risk. Give yourself the gift of ‘big purpose’ but on a daily basis why not treat yourself to little gifts of constant improvement.

The word for today is: Ikigai.
Meaning: (生き甲斐) is a Japanese term for “a reason for being.” The word ‘Ikigai’ usually refers to the source of value in one’s life or the things that make one’s life worthwhile.