You fall in love with your spouse, now fall in love with your life.
You love your spouse. You love your children. You love your grandchildren. Hopefully you love yourself! All of this adds up to one grand opportunity: do you love life?
Studio 5 Marriage & Family Contributor Dr. Liz Hale has five small things you can do to feel a happier hum. Her challenge? To give yourself permission to dream with the lid off!
Get more information on Liz’s upcoming event at www.strongermarriage.com.
5 Ways to Fall In Love With Your Life
We are all one decision away from a happier life.
Sometimes we get stuck, or we feel down or discouraged, and we need to know how to change; how to fall more deeply in love with life?
Functional MRI’s show how the prefrontal cortex lights up like a Christmas tree when we’re doing something that requires courage, or a new way of thinking, or when we’re learning to do something new. THIS is where the magic is!
Set An Intention for the Day
I’ve been saying it more than ever: Every single day when we wake-up in the morning, make a conscious decision on how you want to show up that day. If we don’t consciously choose, decide, or set an intention of how we’re going to show up, then my habits, old patterns, and stress of the day will decide for us and we won’t feel that great zest for life.
As human beings, we are a ball of patterns. We learn patterns from other people, especially from the families we grew up in, and then we hit the repeat button. When we get stuck in a rut, or are overwhelmed, or are in a negative space, and we’re really tired of being there, the first step to getting the life we love is to wake-up every morning and interrupt the patterns and automatic nature of how we typically go through the motions.
The simplest way to do this is to wake-up and set an intention for the day. What mood am I going to be in today? How am I going to respond to others? Am I going to be disciplined? Patient? Present? Grateful?
Wake-up and set an intention: “Today, I am going to see the good. Today, I am going to be optimistic. Tonight, after I get home, I am going to turn off the tv and spend an hour on my dream or a project that brings me joy. Today, in my marriage, and with my children and grandchildren, I’m going to be more loving and patiently listen to them. I’m going to stop what I’m doing and look them in the eye.”
When you set an intention and decide how you’re going to show up and what’s it going to feel like to be you, you take control of the day and you give yourself an anchor to keep coming back to so that when things go south, as they often do, or you start to feel discouraged, you come right back to your intention. “Today, I said I was going to see the good. Today, I said I was going to be optimistic. Today, I said that no matter how tired I am when I come home tonight that I am going to turn off the tv and find an hour for me. Today, I said I was going to show up in my relationships and be more loving and more patient.”
It’s powerful when every single day you wake-up and decide who you are going to be and how you are going to show up. It is the first step in taking control and creating the life you love.
Keep the Promises you Make… to Yourself
The only person that can build your self-worth is you. There is a reason that the word begins with “self.”
Unfortunately, we don’t take action based on goals. We take action based on our feelings (which, sadly, means that too often we don’t do the very thing we say we want to do because we don’t feel like doing it). This comes from the work of a brilliant Neuroscientist from Brazil, Antonio Damasio. Roughly 95% of the decisions we make are according to how we feel in the moment. Oy. This is NOT good for me. And it can be our main stumbling block in creating a life we love.
Do I feel like having a particularly hard conversation? No, I do not. Do I feel like hopping on the treadmill? No, I do not. Do I feel like getting up in the morning? No, I do not.
However, I have learned that a great morning starts the night before. If you truly want to own your day and love your life, then you must first own the night before. Making decisions based only on my feelings will rob me of the joy and the opportunity to be the person I want to be; someone who keeps the promises she makes even to herself.
Laying workout clothes out the night before so that I’ll trip on them as I get out of bed, gives me a much greater chance of hitting the treadmill first thing. And oh how I love that feeling… AFTERWARDS. See what it is like to put yourself first in the mornings. It sets a trajectory for your day.
Change Up Life in 5-Seconds
Mel Robbins is a powerful self-help professional who is wildly successful. She is #2 on a prestigious list of who’s who among life motivators, with millions of followers. She is the most booked motivational speakers in the world. She discovered/created the 5-second rule in the middle of a life/ financial/marital crisis. (Do you mind showing “The 5-Second Rule” book cover since it has her face on the cover for interest? We referred to it over a year ago but I’ll keep it brief.)
Because of Mel’s work, thousands of people all over the world are putting into motion her principle of counting backwards, 5-4-3-2-1, and then doing the action they already set a goal to do, like shooting out of bed like a rocket as soon as the alarm clock goes off. Or speaking up in a large group, even if their voice shakes. Or pulling themselves away from the dishes in the sink to go sit on the floor and play a game with the grandkids.
5-4-3-2-1 awakens the pre-frontal cortex. Your mind is socialized to hit the go-and-do button when you count backwards. It doesn’t require any focus. You act before your mind can think and talk you out of your goal. Counting up doesn’t work. (Your mind knows counting up all too well.)
When you count backwards, there is nothing more to think about – there is only something to do – there is only some action to take that you’ve already decided upon. You act before your mind talks you out of it.
Use this principle to incorporate what brings your heart and life more joy.
Give Yourself Celebration and Support
Staying with Mel Robbins for a minute, amidst all of her high, highs and success (as well as her low, lows and bottom-dropping failures) she touts that the single most powerful thing she’s ever discovered is a self high-five in the mirror. And may think I am a fruit loop for sharing that this can also be a useful tool for falling in love with life, but again it has taken the world by storm. Why has giving oneself a high-five in the mirror caught fire? It is something very simple that stops the old patterns and starts something new. It is impossible to high-five yourself in the mirror and worry about all the to-do’s on your list and how many more wrinkles that seemed to show up overnight. Your mind associates a high-five with a celebration; a victory; and a win. And your brain is hit with a surge of dopamine. Research in neurobiotics shows that high-fives in uncommon situations, such as after brushing your teeth, can make your brain form new neural connections more easily. The message you convey to yourself is: “I see you. I am here with you. I believe in you. You got this. Let’s go do this thing called life!”
The habit of worrying that normally hijacks your brain when you start brushing your teeth – “how am I going to get my presentation done and get my mom to her doctor’s appointment on time” – gets silenced by the act of raising your hand.
We often really aren’t there for ourselves. We either ignore ourselves or tear ourselves apart. I asked my husband, Ben, how he would feel about giving himself a high-5 in the mirror. He said he didn’t want to smudge up the mirror!
Have you ever gone to give a high-five to someone and you both missed it or it felt limp somehow? It’s so unsatisfying that I usually insist upon a do-over as if it were a bad omen or something. To give a good high-five, you’ve got to concentrate on the action and the intention. You must be fully present. If we’re going to do it we may as well do it with some gusto, right?
Visualize the Hard Steps Along the Way
Give yourself permission to want what the life you love, value, and desire. Our minds are more powerful than we give them credit for. Neuroscience research has shown that visualization makes it easier to achieve your goals and dreams because it helps you spot opportunities that match the picture you just created in your mind.
Research out of UCLA shows us that in order to make visualization really help us achieve our goals, we need to visualize ourselves doing the hard, annoying, small steps along the way in order to reach our dreams. In other words, NOT just basking in the glow of the finish line!
I said recently to someone, “I’m fairly certain I manifested/visualized Ben and marriage into my life at 50.” I remember wanting to have a healthy relationship beyond what I had known. I was finally at a place where I was willing to do what it took; set up a dating profile; meet a lot of people with whom there would not be a match. I was willing to have my heart broken, again and again, until the timing and match was right. I was willing to take the leap of faith of marriage when that moment came, knowing that there may not be any guarantee. Love and marriage is a risk; there is no other way, and I knew I would always wonder, “what if?” if I didn’t jump. I recall even saying, “I want the highs and lows, the good times and tough times that typically come with marriage. I want the growth, love, and partnership.” I wanted it all.
These small changes listed here aren’t just to help you create the day and life that are more productive and that you love. These practices are far more extensive. They will quiet your nervous system, focus your mind, and support you.
Each and every day you wake up, (what a gift a new day is) celebrate life and yourself, draw the kind of joy you want in a life you love.