Change your thoughts and you change your world. Sounds easy enough, right? To change our thoughts, we first must be aware of them. Maybe not as easy as it sounds, but anything worth having in life is not always going to be easy.
Try sitting for 2 minutes and doing absolutely nothing. No phone, radio, or television; just you and the surface beneath you. Sit and observe your thoughts as they pop up. How many different topics entered your mind during those two minutes? Was it the kids? A project at work? Your partner, parents, friends or pets? Maybe it was the washing to be hung out, bills to be paid, an upcoming client meeting or that bird singing outside your window?
2 minutes doesn’t sound like long until you try doing it. As with learning any new skill, we improve with focus and consistency. I had been missing the latter. I found myself repeatedly thinking “I’ll do it tomorrow, I’m too busy today.” or “I’m too tired” or “I’ll do it every other day.”
Action changes things, so, at the start of the year I made a decision to meditate every single day for at least 10 minutes, irrespective of how I was feeling or what else was happening in my life on that day. Initially, it was incredibly difficult. My mind would dart around between (I am sure it was) hundreds of different topics, I would become frustrated and 10 minutes would feel like 10 hours.
However, I persisted. At the end of each 10-minute session I found myself feeling much calmer, more objective and open minded and I would carry this into the day ahead. Eventually 30 days had passed and I felt a fundamental shift in perspective and energy. Of course, I am certainly no monk and I naturally feel everything around me as though it is happening directly to me, so there were plenty of speed humps along the way to test me – some of which firmly face planted me, so to speak.
I persisted. Soon 60 days passed, 90 days and before long 180 days had passed. I wanted to share some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way in the hope it might encourage others to have a crack at it (trust me, if I can do it, so can you. Anyone who knows me well will appreciate this).
Experiences open doors to greater experiences. Like attracts like. After we have certain experiences that fundamentally change us, we will attract greater people, opportunities and experiences into our life.
Follow your intuition – when we are in tune, that gut feeling will never lead us astray.
Track what you think about often – This tends to be a real eye opener. Where our mind goes, energy flows. The trick is to ensure we are thinking about positive things that are moving us forward or making us feel good. If we find an unwanted recurring topic – we have to do our best to solve the issue or remove it from our life altogether. Of course, life happens and situations occur that we must feel and deal with that will be sad, heartbreaking or challenging - but on a recurring day to day basis, we have the ability to change our circumstances significantly.
Consistently ask ourselves “What is the greatest good that can result from this situation/experience?” If no good is to come from it, don’t do it.
Be mindful of our immediate environment and make changes to improve it. Little things like cleaning up our space, opening a window for fresh air, reaching across & holding our partner’s hand or turning on some music.
Value your time. Time is without a doubt our most precious resource, but it is finite, use it wisely. For example, if you want to be the CEO of Apple, it’s not going to happen if you spend 18 hours a week playing Angry Birds. You know what I mean?
Following on from the above - Don’t let other people take your time – set boundaries and remove distractions. It can be as simple as not answering a phone call from your mate who is only ringing to whinge for 30 minutes about their day just gone. Don’t get me wrong, be there for the people you love but know when to say no.
Allow for blocks of “focus” time. Blocks of time for nothing other than deep creativity and a state of flow.
Disconnect as often as you can. No phones, no email and no social media. Get out in nature and feel, breathe and allow for restoration.
And finally, it takes real courage to edit our lives. To cut small (or big) things out that no longer serve us. The old saying “nothing good happens in our comfort zone” is very true. The moment we confront our fears and step outside of our comfort zone is the moment we truly start experiencing the life we want. Personally, I am slowly learning to take comfort in knowing that everything always works out exactly as it is supposed to.
A little bit of reflection, introspection and chill time each day can have a really profound effect on our quality of life and overall wellbeing. Allowing for a richer, deeper and more meaningful way of living. Give it a crack and let me know how you go! Thank you for reading and have a good day mates.