Updated: Aug 22, 2021
Sometimes it takes a crisis for many of us to wake up and pay attention. But what if we dealt with the seemingly small habits we kept on ignoring? What if we woke up just a tad bit earlier to get a head start on our day instead of sleeping in? What if we took just one minute to tell ourselves just how amazing we are each morning? What if we were intentional with the people we let into our space and into our lives? If we just paid attention to the little things, we would change the quality of our lives for the better.
It is so easy for us to get caught up in the rat-race of life. The demands of work and personal life are enough to send our blood pressures through the roof. The deadlines, the job-market uncertainties, the bills, our finances, the kids, education, health issues, safety and security concerns, the future, the present, the past, are all things that compete for our attention every minute of each day. These pressures often leave us feeling exhausted, anxious, depressed, overwhelmed, and with no time for anything else. Sooner or later, it becomes difficult, if not near impossible, to be laser-focused on any one thing at the risk of ignoring the other(s). You might not be able to change the issues, the situations, the demands, or other people's expectations, but you can sure change how you do things starting now.
Be introspective. Ask yourself, is what I am doing now in alignment with who I am and what I am working towards? if the answer is no, leave it alone. Over the years, many of us have become nothing more than habitual people pleasers. We have never learned how to say no to unnecessary or unimportant demands. Every request made of you does not require a yes. A firm no is enough. I have repeatedly asked myself whether my penchant for saying yes comes from an innate need to be accepted. I concluded that it was true. I also discovered that the underlying issue was low self-esteem/lack of self-worth. How one perceives oneself corresponds to the way he or she allows him/her self to be treated. Do not confuse this oft-ignored habit of people pleasing with being a supportive team player or with being a nice person. It is not, especially when deep down, you know you should have said no. It is, however, something that demands your immediate attention. Saying no to someone or something might not be the favorable or the desired response when asked, but it sure could be the one thing that gives you peace of mind (and maybe lots more time to do the things you were supposed to be doing in the first place).
Be organized with your time. Have a personal schedule that works for you and is uniquely aligned with what you are working towards. If you are a morning person like myself, then start your day early. Do not hit the snooze button! Get up! I like to be up at 4am and head to the gym before the crowd arrives. I am home by 5:30am and normally get into the swing of things by then. Getting an early head start on your daily routine during the quiet hours can be very productive as there is less distraction and more stillness. If you are a night person, do the things that require more concentration when everyone else is asleep or after all the daily chores are done. But whatever your preference is, plan your day and know the things that need to be done. That way, you will be able to decipher what is necessary, what is important, and what is urgent to/for you. Some tasks can be delegated. Some do not need your immediate attention. While others are critical and must be immediately resolved.
Learn to affirm yourself each day. A good mindset can take you far. Life is not often fair, nor is it often kind, likewise, people. You may never get a pat on the back so expect nothing. In fact, you are owed nothing by anyone except that which you have earned as a daily wage. But you do, however, owe yourself loads of kindness, love, forgiveness, and attention. Learn to be your most faithful and enthusiastic cheerleader in this game called life. That is your biggest investment. Pay attention to your flaws but learn to celebrate the successes along your path. Take a minute out of your busy day to remind yourself just how awesome you are even when you do not feel that way or feel like it. That's the time you need to the most. Stand in front of the mirror and believe it when you say, 'I am powerful, I am strong, I am worthy, I am a winner, I am happy, I am a go-getter!' or whatever your affirmations may be. Know who you are! Believe in who you are! Accept that you are enough. And you are off to a good start!
Be intentional with who you let into your life. A friendly face does not need to be rewarded with your friendship. A cordial hug from someone does not mean that you must now divulge your secrets. Neither does their warm smile mean that you must now invite them over to dinner at your place. An associate at work can be allowed to be just that - an associate at work And an acquaintance can be permitted to just walk on by. What I am saying is that we must all learn to distinguish and accept the purpose of those around us and the role(s) they play in our lives. As a young adult, I never understood the power that proximity wields in a person's life. Aligning yourself with someone who has nothing (positive) to contribute to your life can be the greatest sabotage one can inflict on him/her self. Sometimes the damage is long-lasting, even fatal. It is far better then, to be alone, than to let negative energy into your space. (Note carefully, that, being alone does not have to mean being lonely.) Be discerning and also reject those who only take - these are emotional vampires. They leave you hollow and miserable. Sometimes, we innately sense who these people are, but we choose to look the other way for the sake of our fragile egos or to avoid the personal work that our life requires.
SO PAY ATTENTION, IT'S ALWAYS THE LITTLE THINGS!