I come first!

This will be a short post that addresses one of the main challenges that I have been working with since the birth of my second child.
When Ava was born, I naively thought that I could keep all my routines the same and still have the same amount of free time. I have learned that we can all have our own time if we want it, but you will have to make adjustments down to your unique life situation.
I remember reading an interview with actor Mark Wahlberg years ago when he talked about how he would hit the gym at four A.M before the rest of his family was awake. When I read that it seemed a little bit over the top. Now that I have children, my paradigm has changed and it makes perfect sense.
When I start my day by looking after myself, I feel better equipped to take care of all the other responsibilities I have in my life.
I like to have between 30 minutes and an hour in the morning before anyone is awake to do the following things.
Exercise
Read
Visualisation exercises
Meditation
I start my day in a much better state when I manage to do some or all of these things. Now sometimes, this time does get interrupted. Usually by my younger daughter who is only ten months old. Because I accept this and am prepared for it, it doesn’t upset me. Life cannot be so predictable and rigid and so neither can I. Trying to not see things in absolutes is one of the mental challenges I am working on in order to control my state of mind and level of happiness.
This sense of control then stays with me throughout the day, making me a more effective employee, family man and husband. I am also kinder to myself and catch myself when I fall into the trap of negative self- talk. I don’t let the misery man of the mind get his own way. I challenge him and tell him to shut up when I can feel him taking over and starting to make me worry and stress about the unimportant.
There is real value in looking treating yourself well and taking care of the things that will enhance you.
What habits do you find are your most valuable and cherished?
Are there any habits you would like to develop so that your life is better?
I wish you the best
Shaun

Post 002: The decision

I can remember the day when things started to take a turn in a different direction. We had recently moved house, and I had to catch the bus early in the morning to get to work. I woke up with a start and straight away it was happening again. I had a general feeling of anxiety and an overwhelming feeling that I was going to have a terrible day. Maybe it would be my boss looking over my shoulder and micro managing me to the nth degree. Maybe I would lose control of the day and it would all unravel into a horrible nasty mess leaving me looking stupid and unprofessional. My head was literally throbbing with the stress of the upcoming day and as I walked to the bus stop I decided that I had to write everything down. I was thinking about so much that I needed some sort of release. My bus drive was 25 minutes. The perfect amount of time to vent to the empty page.

As I started, the words were flowing easily and they were cynical, negative and problem focussed. I was blaming everyone, calling people out for how they treated me and then…………. I had nothing left. No negativity was left. I felt like I had been screaming at the page and releasing in a flurry of pen scribbles and rants and I literally couldn’t keep the intensity up any more. I realised in that moment that I could make a choice. The decision I made was a silly challenge I set myself called ‘Get happy or die trying’. The objective was simple. I wanted to create my own happiness and my own good feelings irrespective of what anybody said or did to me. The concept that this was even possible was exciting. I realised that this could be a major breakthrough for me. Each day, I was going to write about what my experience was and if anything had in fact changed for me.

Fast forward two weeks later, and I felt like a new man. I was enjoying myself at work again and wasn’t allowing others to negatively affect my mood. Ironically, this was something that I had been good at in the past, but had forgotten how to do. This was different though. This wasn’t the young, aloof, no worries mentality I used to have. I had transcended that and was trying to find a place where I became my own authority. In essence, I was beginning the journey of finding my own truth and creating a vision of my own life that satisfied me and would make me proud. Nothing to do with money. Nothing to do with status. Nothing to do with other people’s opinion’s. Everything to do with looking myself in the mirror and being able to say with confidence you are living life on your own terms. That peace of mind is now what I crave.

I kept up the daily journal in that style for a couple of months and it really helped me to remember all the incredible things that I already have in my life. I still journal, but in a slightly modified way. I suggest that having a journal is an excellent way to reflect on what is happening in your life and gives you the chance to learn from the lessons that life is trying to teach you that you may miss if you don’t reflect.

Till next time

Shaun