When you think about tomorrow, how positive is your view? Do you see a happy day at work, coming home to a loving family, enjoying a great meal, afterwards having a discussion with your children, maybe watching a little T.V., or reading a good book, then kissing your wife and kids goodnight. Or do you view tomorrow as “late to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise?” Too many of us see tomorrow as the latter. I don’t know about you, but I want my life back. In this fast paced world, filled with daily disappointments and setbacks, where do we begin to regain control? I believe that first we must clear our heads of the mental fog that society has bestowed upon us, by clarifying our visions of what we want instead of accepting what society dictates to us. I’m not suggesting that you take a motivational seminar or read a self-help book, or listen to a cassette tape of your favorite singer, but that would be a good start.
I’m suggesting that you take one day at a time and slowly begin to gain control of your life. Start by listing your priorities. Ask yourself, “What is the most important aspect of my life, my job or family?” Then ask yourself these questions: If I were killed accidentally tomorrow, who would remember me longer, the people at the office or my family? Who would grieve the longest? I hope you would agree that your family would.
As the sole provider of my family, for years I worked 60 hours a week, ignoring my family. I remember my wife’s occasional argument about why I should spend more time with the kids. I would justify my actions with a lame remark like, “I’ve got to pay the bills around here!” It’s easy to lose track these days. Once we clear our mental cobwebs out, then we must take the next step, which is to take a break from our busy schedule and figure out what is working and what is not, how to do more of what you enjoy and less of what you don’t.
You are saying to yourself right now, I don’t have the time. I promise you the time is there. Below are my five steps to a happier you. If you can accomplish these five steps, then you can begin to gain control of your life.
I am referring to your self talk. When it’s time to rest, stop carrying on that inner battle of guilt about saying I need to do that report, or call that client now. Practice effective time management. Learn to delegate, reschedule or discontinue certain daily events. Start by maintaining a daily business log. Simply write down what you are doing from early morning to late at night, then focus on the important projects you need to accomplish. You will find that many daily events were being done because that’s the way it’s always been done.
Invest and let your money work for you. Start with a small savings account and invest in mutual funds or a local stock. Pay off one bill, then take that money and pay off another one. Take time to balance your check book. Today, with self-help computer software and on line banking, there are no excuses.
Start by eliminating stress foods such as caffeine, sugar, salt and fats. Replace these foods with fruits, vegetables, whole grain, pure water and vitamins. Next, start an exercise program, one you can comfortably do. Walking or bike riding are great ways to get in shape. Exercise is the best anti-anxiety agent we have, and in addition, helps to reduce blood pressure, excess weight, and even helps to regulate blood sugar. Exercise is a must.
Take time out of your schedule to learn how to relax. Start by taking a class on: yoga, meditation, taebo, swimming or aerobics. Your body requires recharging and these classes can help.
In his book “Happiness Is A Serious Problem,” Dennis Prager says, “Not only do we have a right to be happy, we have an obligation to be happy.” He goes on to say, “Our happiness has an effect on everyone around us.” We must stop going through life waiting until something good happens before we decide to be happy. There is nothing more satisfying than helping someone who needs help. Learn to be part of something bigger then yourself. Give to your church and local charities, and you will find that the dividends will be well worth it.
I hope after implementing these five steps you will gain more control of your life and enjoy life to the fullest. Remember, life is not that serious, it’s only a temporary thing. Good luck!
Dr. Joel Desaulniers