The Good Ol’ Days Are Happening Right Now

I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good ol’ days before you’ve actually left them.

Andy Bernard from The Office

About eight years ago, I was having lunch with some friends and I told them that I don’t want to look back on the past and realize that I didn’t appreciate what I had. The “Good Ol’ Days” are happening right now, and here’s why.

The grass is not greener on the other side—it’s actually brown.

We tend to be fearful that we are missing out on something better, but we don’t actually know that something else is better. For example, rich, talented, and gorgeous celebrity couples claim that they are the happiest that they have ever been—and then, one month later, they file for divorce. Exhaustion, depression, and abuse are common in our culture. Do you really believe that the life of Mr. and Mrs. Jones is as perfect as they make it look like it is on social media?

The difficult days will be over soon.

I heard someone say that everyone is either going into a trial, going through a trial right now, or coming out of a trial. When I was feeling really down, my co-worker told me that life never stays the same. This won’t last forever. I didn’t believe her at the time, but she was right. And when I look back at the “Bad Ol’ Days”, I am grateful for them because those days made me stronger.

If we believe that these are the Good Ol’ Days, then they will be.

Take one small step to change your circumstances. Reach out to someone for help. We don’t have a magic wand that will change our circumstances, but the mind is a very powerful thing. If you cannot change your circumstances, you can change your perspective. Every morning when you wake up, think of twenty things that you are thankful for. If you feel like you need to reflect on something negative, go ahead and do it, but only do it for a few minutes. Start the timer. When the timer goes off, force your mind to think of something good and go do something else. Repeat this until your good thoughts far outnumber the bad thoughts.

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Stop Living on Auto-Pilot Mode and Live with More Joy and Purpose

I recently lost someone dear to me which has made me think about how short life is. Everyone says that life is short–we all know this–but does this knowledge help us to change the way we live? The death of my loved one has made me realize even more that I don’t want to waste time. I don’t want to live on Auto Pilot mode–spending the little free time that I have on my phone or watching Netflix. (Did you know that the average person checks their phone 80 times per day?) I want to live a life full of joy and purpose. If that’s what you want as well, then these ideas might help you!

Always Have Gratitude

I try to think about 20 things that I am thankful for everyday and whenever I am feeling down. Thinking about the good things helps me to be content with my situation and it helps me to generate more joy and energy.

Know Your Purpose, Goals, and Dreams

My purpose revolves around my faith and passions. What is your purpose in life? What are your goals and dreams? When you are on your deathbed, what will make you feel like you lived the life that you were meant to live? Years ago, I found this great article by Bronnie Ware–a woman that worked in palliative care for several years. Here are five regrets that people have on their deathbeds. If you were to die today, would you have some of these regrets?

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Constantly Remind Yourself of Your Purpose, Goals, and Dreams

I read a great book called High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard. Burchard says that highly successful people are constantly evaluating themselves, and they are consistently thinking about how to reach their goals. He recommends setting an alarm on your phone that will trigger you to think about certain things to keep you on track. For instance, when my alarm goes off, I think about a Bible verse (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), the top five regrets that I don’t want to have on my deathbed, and the word Kind (I am trying to be more intentional about being kinder to my kids and husband).

If you don’t want to set an alarm, you could hang Post-It notes on your refrigerator or create a digital reminder and post it on your phone and computer. Vision boards can also remind you of your goals. You could buy a tack board and put pictures on it that remind you what your purpose, goals, and dreams are. Instead of a vision board, I have a digital notebook in my phone that has pictures of past successes and hopeful future successes. When I am feeling down, I look at the pictures and listen to a song that gives me motivation.

Make A Detailed Schedule

I love to read and have been reading self-improvement books since I was a kid. A lot of the books recommend making a schedule for maximum productivity. This is something that I resisted for so long–making a detailed schedule just seemed so cumbersome and oppressive to me. But, to my benefit, a couple of months ago, I finally made a detailed schedule of my week. I used Google sheets to plan out my week from the time I wake up ’til the time I go to sleep. It helped me to see that I needed to cut certain things out of my life, and it helps me to see when I am available for business calls. It helps a lot!

Maximize Your Free Time

When I have free time, it is tempting to go on Auto Pilot mode–automatically checking my email and phone throughout the day. I have found that this is not a good use of my time because whenever I pick up my phone, I see another notification or click on something that distracts me. So, instead of spending one minute checking my email, that one minute inevitably turns into 15 minutes or longer. If I continue to pick up my phone throughout the day, that eventually adds up to a whole lot of wasted time! So, instead of mindlessly picking up my phone, I have started to intentionally click into my schedule or think about the most productive thing–or the most enjoyable thing that does not involve my phone–that I can do next.

When Spending Time with Loved Ones, Spend Quality Time with Loved Ones

I know that I am harping on about the phone a lot, but when you are with the people that you love, put down your phone and devices. When you are on your deathbed, you are not going to wish that you were more engaged with your phone while you were alive. Loved ones that are right in front of you are more important than digital “friends” on your newsfeed. Spending quality time with loved ones and decreasing screen time will increase the amount of joy in your life. Also, Burchard mentions that multi-tasking is not very effective, and it stresses us out. So there’s another reason to put down your devices when you are with your loved ones–the multi-tasking will suck some of the enjoyment out of those few moments with your loved ones.

Rest

Burchard recommends a resting time after each major daily task. He calls it Release Tension–Set Intention. Here’s an example. When you are done with the grocery shopping and you are about to go inside to see your kids, stop for 1-3 minutes and do this.

  1. Release Tension: Close your eyes for 1-3 minutes. Breathe deeply in and out, releasing physical tension and negative thoughts. Say the word Release over and over again.
  2. Set Intention: Think about what you want the next activity to look like. Think about smiling when you get in the door and spending some quality time with the kids before you have to start dinner.

Closing your eyes gives your visual cortex and mind a rest. This exercise will help you to feel more energized and it will help you to enjoy your next activity or help you to be more productive during your next task.

In addition to this, I believe that every person needs at least one day of rest per week–one day when you can take a break from working. If this is not possible for you, I hope that you can find at least a few hours of rest from work.

What are your tips for living a life full of joy and purpose?

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I Want To Quit

The Temptation to Quit Will Become Greatest Just Before You Are About To Succeed

-Chinese proverb

When I heard this quote from my business mentor, my mind immediately thought of childbirth. Right before a mom has to push her baby out, she goes through a stage called TRANSITION. This is a very intense stage of labor when moms feel out of control and want to quit. According to my Bradley birth instructor, this is when a lot of moms opt for pain medication.

When I first learned about this stage of childbirth, I was really scared of it. But when I was in the midst of it, I was relieved because I knew that I would soon hold my baby and I knew that moment would be worth the diet restrictions, stretched out clothes, waddling, constant need to pee, consistent congestion, frequent visits to the midwife, skin rashes, (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy) stares from strangers, (is it just me or does everyone stare at the pregnant lady?) stretch marks, intolerable morning sickness that lasted all day for seven plus weeks, and physical pain of childbirth.

My mentor also said that if you haven’t felt like quitting yet, you probably aren’t working hard enough. So, if you have any goals–health, business, financial, or any other kinds of goals–and you feel like quitting, congratulations! Your efforts are moving you in the right direction. It is almost time to hold your metaphorical baby. Just don’t give up!

Entrepreneurship, Side Gigs, and Side Hustles

Remember the days when companies would pay for your healthcare at 100%? Remember the days when it was easy to buy a house? Remember the days when substantial pay raises and generous bonuses were commonplace? I don’t really remember those days because I was a kid. I’m no financial expert, but I think those financial golden years are gone and I’m not sure if they are coming back. That’s why it is important to diversify your career. To me, this is a fairly new concept. I started learning more about this concept from radio shows and I recently read a book entitled 10% Entrepreneur by Patrick McGinnis. It was a pretty good read.

Have you ever considered entrepreneurship or a Side Gig/Side Hustle? It seems that more people than ever have Side Gigs. These people include Uber drivers, Network Marketing Professionals, craftspeople, inventors, writers, dog walkers, social media pros, etc. I have a Side Gig and have some ideas for new ones. If I lose my 9 to 5 job, at least I will have something to fall back on. Side Hustles are often more fun than 9 to 5’s as well!

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This post was originally published on January 5, 2019; it was updated on September 30, 2019.