When I woke up this morning, I found myself worrying about where I was in life.
It’s been a chaotic few months. We had a family holiday in Yorkshire. We’ve been doing a major house renovation, where we had to move out for 6 weeks. We moved back in now, but we’re still living in a partial building site. My daughter Fearne started school. And, I’m holding down a fairly ‘full on’ job in London.
I’ve found it a struggle to get, and stay in my groove. My environment has been all over the place, which makes it hard to stick to my habits and routines. It’s a reminder that these habits and routines are the foundation for how I organise my life and get things done.
As I sat there worrying and beating myself up, I remembered two things – which helped knock me out of it.
1. I need to be kind to myself and show self compassion. There are valid reasons why I’m not in my groove. I need to lower the expectations I have of myself temporarily. Beating myself up will only hold me back from making a change.
2. I need to let go of the macro. It’s not useful to focus on the big picture when I’m feeling like this. It can only make me feel bad and anxious. Instead, I need to switch to the now – today. What can I do today to put a step forward in the right direction? And then build on top of that. I can feel the pressure and anxiety start to fade, when I think about it like this.
Most of the time when I get into a state like this, it’s because I’m thinking too much about the future. It’s why I let go of goals a long time ago. On balance, I think they’re more harmful than useful. It’s much better to have broad (and non specific) focuses, and let go of the expectations.
So, I switch my focus. I stop worrying about where I should be, and where I am. I have 17 or so hours in front of me today, and I have a choice. I can either put a big step forward, I can stay where I am, or worse – go backwards.
I start to map out my day. When and how I will eat. Walk 10K steps and put in some mobility work. A call to connect with a friend that I haven’t spoken to for a while. Write something (this post). Read something. Some time to connect with Ella. Go to bed early, so I can wake early tomorrow and feel rested.
I try and keep it simple. The fewest things I can do, that will make an impact and make me feel better.
I ask myself how I will feel at the end of the day if I did these things? Happy that I took the first step to get back on track, and also that I put myself in a good position to tackle tomorrow. Nothing earth shattering – just a good step forward. And that’s what I need right now.
This is a good strategy for getting out of a funk. It’s also a good strategy for being happier in general.
It’s useful to think about the future and have expectations of yourself. But, it’s also easy to fall into the trap of spending too much time on it, and trying to be too specific about it.
Ultimately, you have today in front of you. You are in full control of what you make of it. Put a good step forward, and be happy about that. And then repeat. When you do this, the future will take care of itself.
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