“Kindness is contagious. It’s an antacid for living in a toxic world.” — M. Bechtle
The power of kindness is great. Of course, it’s tough to be kind when we live in a hectic world filled with injustices and violence. But we need to remember how kindness works. It is an antidote to the negative. It’s about treating other human beings well. It’s about acknowledging that we are all human and have a basic need to be loved and cared for.
As you go about your day today, notice times where you have an opportunity to be kind. You always have a choice. Try being kind and see what happens. Practicing kindness doesn’t need to be complicated. It can be as simple as considering that the driver who cut you off may be having a bad day rather than cursing about how stupid they are. So give it a try, and notice what happens.
Life is challenging. It’s hard to fit in everything we want to. A constant friction between what we want and what we can have. The quality of your life lies in how you handle the friction. You can be angry, irritated and frustrated, or you can be flexible and open to what the day brings. Some of us fall into the first camp. Others have learned over time how to see things in a more positive light, despite the negatives and setbacks.
So how do we move from one camp to the other? It takes an ongoing desire to be positive, to be grateful, to live the best life you can.
Is there a first step? A simple first step is simply becoming aware of how you feel, how you react when things don’t go your way. The next time something happens pay attention to what you say, do, think, and feel. Are you clenching your fists? Cursing? Feeling like you are being slighted or the world is out to get you? Stop yourself. Breathe. Consider an alternate viewpoint. What if the world isn’t out to get you? What if things just happen? Will whatever happened to you really matter a year from now? How much time do you want to spend on this issue, in the grand scheme of things?
Life is our biggest teacher. Every day we have an opportunity to see things differently. So take a chance and consider an alternate viewpoint. See how it goes. You may find you want to try it more often. Taking the single chance will put you one step closer to a more positive life. Go you!
As the seasons change, we tend to change our habits. Going from wearing shorts and flip flops to wearing long pants and boots. Take the opportunity to make one more change for yourself as we shift seasons. What is one thing you want to do differently? What will that one thing do for you? How will it make you feel? Close your eyes and envision yourself doing this new thing. Now ask yourself, how can I weave the change into my schedule? What can I do this week to get myself closer to my goal?
What are your plans this summer? Have you been thinking about anything you would like to change? Anything you would like to focus on doing more of?
Now is the time to take action. Think about what it is you want, and consider the following elements for a successful goal.
Specific. Rather than a goal like ‘stop stressing out all the time’ think about something more concrete. Think about the broad goal, and what it really means. For instance, what is ‘stop stressing out’ all about? What is the root cause of stressing out all the time? Think about the ‘why’s’ for a few minutes. In this case, the why’s could include scheduling too many things, not getting enough sleep, and not having enough help to get stuff done. So you might pick something more specific as your goal, like ‘avoid scheduling too many things.’
Measurable. So if you wanted to avoid scheduling too many things, how would you measure that? You can think about the current state, and how many things you tend to schedule in a day right now. Maybe it’s 10 things. So your goal could be to reduce the number of things by 20%. Number of things you plan in a day is measurable.
Achievable. You want your goal to focus on things you have some control over. If you have zero control over the number of things that are on your calendar, then you probably need to focus on a different goal. Chances are, you have some things that must get done, like grocery shopping and paying bills and going to work. But you likely have choices about how much overtime you put in, or how many social activities you plan.
Realistic. It doesn’t make sense to say you will never stress out ever again. So take some baby steps first. You can always set another goal once you achieve the first one.
Time-Bound. You need to put a target date on the calendar to make yourself accountable. This will help you avoid procrastination and give you an end point to stop and measure your progress.
So let’s get ready for a great summer! If you would like to read more about goal setting, check out: http://topachievement.com/smart.html