"Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces up, snow is exhilarating; there is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. " -John Ruskin
As I mentioned in the introduction (which you should read if you haven’t already) lasting change is only realized when we work on both how we think and how we act. Many programs fail because they tackle only thought or only action. Often we try to compartmentalize and change just one area of our life. We might focus on communication or cholesterol or calories or cardio. However the areas of our life do not operate in a vacuum. Sure, we can maintain a compartmentalized change for a few weeks, months, or even years — but ultimately we must change the other components of our life to create lasting change.
For this reason, you will see that the CYCL works back and forth between practical action steps and practical steps to change how we think. Today we will take a simple step toward changing our thought patterns. This very simple assignment can work wonders in your life. Imagine this scene with me:
Your alarm goes off and you struggle to get out of bed on time as the electronic beeping pierces your eardrum. Your first thought is “When is daylight savings?” How you would love the extra hour. With the realization that it just occurred a month ago, you stumble to your feet and head toward the shower. After showering and dressing you go downstairs to find your family at the breakfast table. “Good morning, " you say as enthusiastically as possible for 6:00 AM. You are greeted with a few moments of silence, then a half-hearted “hello” before everyone returns to his or her breakfast bowls and conversation. You grab a cup of coffee and a muffin to have on your way to work. While driving to work your cell phone rings. It is your best friend from college. After a cursory hello she breaks into an auctioneer ramble. “I'm really in a jam. My babysitter called and she is sick. Can you watch my kids tonight for thirty minutes while I run and pick up Jacob's present?"
Always there for one another, you tell her you would be happy to watch Jacob before hanging up the phone. You get to work and find someone in your designated parking place. Frustrated, your “okay mood” is drastically deteriorating. You park near the back of the lot only to step into a wad of gum as you get out of the car. UGH, you think, it's going to be one of those days.
You shuffle into the office, passing the receptionist. Normally she welcomes you with a cheerful greeting, but today she is busy taking notes while talking on the phone and doesn't offer so much as a nod. You sigh again and trod to the meeting room.
Have you imagined this scene? Any idea what is missing? Two simple words: GOOD MORNING (backed by sincerity and enthusiasm).
The first thirty to sixty minutes of our day set the tone for the hours to come. Getting off to a cheerful start has a dramatic impact on how our day will flow.
Let today be the last day that you have not said “good morning" to yourself and the last day that you begin your life on “auto-pilot. ” Tomorrow when you awake, don't jump into a crazy-pace and forget the crucial step of giving yourself a “morning hello. " Before you even get out of bed, take a few deep breaths and say “Good morning. " Run through your positive qualities. Say a quick prayer. Focus on your day ahead and imagine moving through it effortlessly. Research has shown that those who visualize their day beforehand have a much better success ratio than those who do not. Look in the mirror and smile. While showering, think of five things you are grateful for. While getting dressed, develop curiosity about the day. Try saying, “I know something wonderful will happen today … I can’t wait to see what it is. ”
Try to spend at least three minutes each morning doing positive-thought activities. It might be awkward at first, but stick with it. Likewise, remember that you have a great impact on everyone around you — especially in the morning. Breakfast is considered a vital physical component of getting our day off to a good start. Likewise, a positive morning routine is vital to getting our day off to a positive emotional start.
There is an interesting phenomenon that you will likely notice when recollecting your life or examining the lives of others with whom you are close. If we think the day is going to be “not so good, ” we will likely be right. If we think the day will “be great, ” we will likely be right. Our thoughts about what is to come act like a magnet — thus the cliché “What we think about, we bring about. ”
Take a moment to reflect on your morning thought patterns. Can you detect a correlation between your thoughts and what is happening in your life right now?
This program is about change — changing our external environment, aligning our life with our priorities, and creating internal change to support the external. Feeling good about ourselves is a necessity for implementing any lasting change. When something makes us feel good we are much more likely to stick with it — that is why it's so important to focus not just on your external surroundings — but on your internal approach as well.
Brook Noel is the author of The Change Your Life Challenge: A 70 Day Life Makeover Program for Women. Her unique program has helped thousands of women “makeover" all aspects of their lives. Learn more at http://www.changeyourlifechallenge.com