You Can't Have It With Hab-its

"The only person you are destined to become, is the person you decide to be." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

We've either been that person or know that person who says "I can't catch a break." "Everything bad happens to me." "I'm just cursed."

If there were a role in a movie titled "Victim 1," they would be cast sight unseen. 

I used to be that way. 

I would focus on why something wasn't happening or why the end result wasn't fair. I had plenty of reasons why it didn't happen but instead of looking at those factors for a learning opportunity, I let it weigh me down, be my crutch and give me the hall pass of not trying harder. 

It's ironic because as a child, I was obsessed with "Choose Your Own Adventure" books. I was truly infatuated with the idea of decision making and (implied) leadership and control over the scenario from an early age. 

It's that life status of being stuck. But I'm throwing you a rope right now: you can decide to not be stuck, not be a victim and control the outcome. If not immediate, then eventually. 

What those that play the victim role don't realize is that life is all about choices. What you do, how hard you work, who you surround yourself with and how you let others treat you are common decision paths that we all face. A writer that I follow, Kelly Exeter, outlines intentional living in a few different steps that I firmly believe in.

I love the different buckets of behavior she breaks this down into as they're the ones that impact most of what we're individually unhappy about.

Mind - I view this in a couple of different ways. One, I feel that anyone who complains about their job at all should 1) appreciate that they have a job at all and 2) choose a path of change instead of stagnantly complaining. Figure out what role you DO want, figure the gap between where you are and where you want to be and create a plan which will likely involve some education/learning. I've always wanted to be a nationally known speaker and/or a CMO of a company, neither of which I am currently. Instead of sitting idle and complaining that I'll never have a chance at either, I'm taking classes online, reading articles, practicing, strengthening my weaknesses and doing all I can to improve myself in order to reach those goals. 

Body - I talk about this topic quite a bit but it's been a huge part of my life. I view exercise as a fuel, a time to refocus and reduce stress. I love long runs because it brings my energy up and gives me dedicated solo time to think about things when I'm typically surrounded by distractions. I love how she mentions moving and stretching your body because yoga has been another version of what running is. I take that time to focus on my body and soul and relieve the physical stress that my day tends to bring and anyone that knows me always wonders how I do all that I do. Yoga is a big part of it. 

Heart - The other day I made a comment to a friend who had been struggling with disappointments in life to "Appreciate, don't anticipate." What I told her to do is to start everyday just being recklessly grateful for everything she had: her health, her family, her job, etc. From there, you establish the foundation of what you have which makes everything you add on top of that just all that much better (see also: cherry on top and icing on the cake) Don't mistake this approach for complacency because I also encouraged her to work her tail off to go after the goals she has set for herself, but by establishing that foundation of appreciation, you know that you had it great going into whatever you're pursuing.

Soul - I am a HUGE HUGE HUGE believer in meditation. By self teaching effective meditation, I have truly saved myself thousands in stress medication and counseling. In my own personal chaotically busy world, I sometimes have to remind myself to breathe. To stop amidst all the chaos and physically force myself to take a massively deep breath and let my stress go. It always brings me back to one of my life motto's: "There's always a way." Take these breaks to refocus on your purpose, status check your plan and reset your next steps. You can and will get back to the middle, you just have to check in with yourself to see what you need.

Bottom line: life is a series of choices we make. You truly choose how you want your day to go, what mood you want to be in and how hard you work. Challenge yourself every day to practice this behavior. Choose to be positive, choose to be accepting, choose to grow and to be a better person.

It's like the old saying goes "Leave it better than you found it." 

Are you leaving yourself better at the end of the day than you found yourself at the beginning of it?

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