Small Changes. Big Impact.
Fed up with this pandemic thing? I sure am. Yet here we are back in lockdown mode, grinding through winter, waiting patiently for the vaccine. It is like we are walking up an endless flight of stairs and – just when you are about to take the last step – inexplicably you find yourself back at the bottom starting all over again!
As we approach the 1st Anniversary of the last time we shook someone’s hand, let’s pause to reflect upon all of the things we are doing differently as a result of the pandemic, and recognize how even the small changes we make – when added together – can have a lasting and positive impact on our state of mind and quality of life. So, let me share how a few small changes I have made are making a big difference for me.
Small Change #1: Start With Three Questions
How I start my day now is entirely different than before covid (‘BC’ for short). Back in BC times I would launch out of bed and promptly check the latest emails and social media feeds. Sure, the surge of dopamine was like a jolt of caffeine, but it was not conducive to an orderly and mindful transition to the new day.
Now, right after I kick the covers off, I first ask myself three questions:
- What am I grateful for? (my home, family, career, dog)
- What is one thing I can let go? (comparison, worry, regret, impatience, my ex)
- What is today’s intention? (mindful choices, finish a project, make a positive connection)
So, then what? Reach for my device, and log on you say? Not so fast! Which brings me to:
Small Change #2: A Non-Device Activity (‘NDA’)
Reaching for my device first thing would have been my choice in BC. But now, instead, I reach for my walking boots and head out the door with Arnie (my Covid puppy) for fresh air and exercise. This I do every single day – no matter what! It does wonders helping me to frame the day and bring a positive mindset.
The ‘New Start’ 30-Day Challenge
So, my challenge to you is to start your day with the Three Questions and one NDA of your choice. This I pretty much guarantee will get you to kick the covers off and set you up for success. Your activity of choice might be making a cup of tea and sitting quietly to gather your thoughts, or doing some stretching, or writing in a journal, or cuddling a creature. If you are having difficulty identifying what that activity might be, ask yourself:
What one thing can I do to bring more focus and awareness to my daily routine that will lead to improvements in my physical and mental well being?
Again, the challenge is this: decide on your NDA and commit to it for 30 Days. Be mindful of how it makes you feel. Is it making a positive difference to how you are feeling and how your day unfolds? If it makes you feel anxious, pay attention to why you are feeling that way. New habits and routines can be tough to establish, that I know! The only thing that matters is making the commitment and seeing it through so that it becomes routine.
I am hooked on the difference it makes; and I hope you will be too! (if you are not already doing it!)
The Choice is Yours
So, while we can’t control when we will get the vaccine, or how big the federal debt will be, or when we will be able to hug someone outside of our bubble, what we can control is attitude we carry as we move through our day.
Starting the day mindfully with the Three Questions and one Non-Device Activity will help ensure you can manage whatever comes your way with grace, balance and a mindset of resilience. In the words of Jon Kabat-Zinn:
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”