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Today’s post is a bit of stream of consciousness in so much as the first full week of a new year is surreal in many ways. But I am doing my best to not simply go through the motions as the new year begins, trying not to do anything as I have in the past simply because “I used to do it in the past”.
Reaching to check my email first thing in the morning before I’ve even fully stretched or opened my eyes or yes, stepped out of bed. Stop, Shannon. Why are you doing this? Okay, one morning, admittedly, I am glad I did just this, as there was an error with the podcast loading properly unbeknowst to me, so the sooner I corrected it, the better, but otherwise, an important question to ask myself.
Why do I push through to complete a project during the day even when I am tired? Is there a particular deadline I have to meet or would the productivity be stronger if I would get up and partake in some exercise or on the flipside, take a nap before returning to said project?
Why do I keep my phone turned on during the day while I am teaching? I can’t answer it, and wouldn’t it be more time efficient to check all of my email at one or two different times during the day, not whenever I had a moment to myself?
I mentioned this practice to my mother over the holiday break, and she quickly responded, haven’t you been doing this for quite some time now? And, to be fair, she’s right, but I have also found that a reliable way to check our defaults is by examining where our lives are slacking, where habits are being adhered to that are out of comfort and convenience, not beneficiality and elevation of our lives.
Below is a list of practices, habits or modi operandi, to contemplate to see if indeed such defaults are hindering you from attaining your resolutions or cultivating a life that is more fulfilling.
1.Do you accommodate others’ requests without first considering your own priorities, time constraints, mood, energy levels or the individual who is asking’s capability of doing it on their own?
2. Do you automatically assume the same thing from certain people when they speak or act before they even do so? (and if you are typically correct, and what they say/do bothers you, why haven’t you spoken up or taken action to inspire change either in them or yourself?)
3. Do you automatically state or think something negative when something doesn’t work out or you wake up early and cannot go back to sleep or what you have asked for is denied?
4. Do you eat something you find in your refrigerator or pantry that you know is not good for you simply because you feel bad throwing it away? (this is not to promote food waste, but to rather recognize how to not purchase such food in the first place)
5. Do you have a narrow definition of what your life should look like without first asking yourself if that works with your temperament, talents and dreams?
6. Why do you always reach for that particular coffee/tea cup? It doesn’t hold as much of your favorite morning hot drink of choice as you’d prefer and you tend to spill it as the handle is awkward. (I encourage you to see the analogy here for your social and romantic life as well.)
7. Do you have to see someone else do what you want to do before you believe it is possible?
For each of these defaults, do your best to catch yourself and ask, is this positively contributing to the overall quality of my life? Your life does begin with you. It begins with each of us getting to know and exercising who we fully are as we go about the day. It continues with honoring what we uniquely can share with the world once we discern our gifts. And it will be beneficial overall when we recognize that often the biggest obstacle standing in our way to reaching the success, the contentment and the peace of mind we are seeking, is the defaults we fall into within our own mind and behaviors we unthinkingly do each and every day.
As the first full week of 2019 hits the midway mark, I have found myself making a few adjustments after I addressed a particular few defaults that were not especially helpful or necessary: my phone remains off during the school day, checking my email only twice a day is saving me time and gradually making me more efficient, and the letting go of self-talk of criticism is not only saving me energy but uplifting my overall mood as well.
Each of our defaults will be unique to our circumstance, our life experience, our energy levels, those we model ourselves after and our self-confidence. But if you have found there is an area of your life that just isn’t working well or leaves you depleted once it occurs, examine it, and especially examine why you think having such a default is continuing in your life.
I am confident that by choosing to live consciously, the quality of our lives increases, and it simply comes down to living in the present, being aware of our thoughts and not accepting them at face value, but rather just noting them and only embracing them if they are helpful to the quality of life we wish to lead.
Wishing you a beautiful Wednesday, and thank you for stopping by the blog.
SIMILAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
~Doubt the Default: How My Trip to France Woke Me Up, episode #218