I am a fan of New Year’s resolutions, particularly if they are the result of serious reflection and written where you can be reminded of them. Often, however, resolutions, are so big in scope that it is difficult to find ways to make regular progress. That’s where daily intentions can be helpful. If you have ever taken a yoga class, you’re likely familiar with intentions, as a teacher will typically begin by asking you to form an intention for your practice (perhaps calm or patience or fun). I like to use intentions as a part of my daily routine. In the morning, I might remind myself that I want to be as good and kind as possible that day, or to avoid judgment or criticism. At the end of the day, I will revisit the morning’s intention to honestly assess whether I worked as hard toward that goal as I might have. By restating your intentions often, you make your intended behavior more and more a part of your daily life, moving you to become more of the person whom you want to be. One of my favorite yoga teachers used to end class by reminding us to revisit our earlier intention and assure us that “it is already happening.” I wish you the best for a year of goodness, kindness, laughter, joy and practiced intentions.
Don't spend much time thinking about what other people think; care about what you think. I was a big fan of Craig Sager and have been looking for a way to work him into one of my posts. If you don't know of Craig, he was a well respected and beloved NBA sideline reporter, best known for wearing outlandish sportcoat and tie combinations. After he lost a very public struggle with cancer last year, he was universally lauded by NBA stars and broadcast colleagues for his kindness, caring and courage.
Sure, Craig wore his crazy outfits to be noticed and have fun, but he didn't care whether others approved of his clothes. He cared about how he treated others, for the compassion and kindness for which he is remembered. Craig is a shining example of living your life and acting as you want and you think is right. And, he had a lot of fun doing it. Thanks for the inspiration Craig.
Nobody else can do your work for you. No matter what obstacles or challenges you face, only you can choose how to respond. No matter what goals you set, only you can take the action necessary to move toward achieving them. Don't blame a lack of progress on anyone else because you decide what you do every minute of every day. Decide to move forward regardless of any resistance or life turbulence that you encounter. It's your life. The buck stops with you.
I have always admired busy people who get so much done, still have time for friends, family and self-improvement, and appear tranquil. One has told me that the key is two-fold: (1) treating self-improvement as a life task, just like a job, and (2) steering clear of unnecessary tasks and thoughts. We all encounter facts, events and thoughts that are not important to what we are looking to accomplish in our day. Do we really need to spend time on them? If the answer is yes, then do so and move on. If the answer is no, then move on without wasting your precious time. Many resources are replaceable, but your time is not. Guard it wisely and you'll have time for the things that are important to you.
It is said that "still waters run deep." Think of yourself as those still waters under the surface of a lake - unruffled, calm, tranquil. You cannot control the ways in which daily life may make make the surface water rough and choppy. You can, however, remain confident and at peace that your true self is not affected by difficult daily events. Make a daily ritual of reminding yourself of who you want to be, how you want to interact with others, and how you want to react to whatever comes your way. Be resolute in your approach - goodness, empathy, integrity, dignity. No rough seas can deter you.
This pillow belonged to my grandmother, who was one of the most positive people that I have ever known. Her advice was simple - why complain when you can smile through anything to make for a good day? She was a wise 4'10" philosopher in brightly colored housecoats! She recognized that the only thing that we control is our attitude, not the events of the day or the actions of others. We can decide not to let things bother us and to look on the bright side of everything that we encounter. A "go with the flow", smiling, positive outlook will not only reduce your stress level, but will also brighten those around you to make your world happier. So, the next time you encounter a bump in the road or unfriendly person, choose a smile and kindness instead of a complaint or negative thought. You will be glad that you did, and feel in complete control of own equanimity!