It’s Monday afternoon and I am sitting on my couch with my hair twisted up in a towel from my shower, drinking hot cider from my mug, and watching the first Harry Potter movie. For me, the little things like this are the things I love and what helps enhance my happiness. They are not the source of it, but it’s easier to be grateful for the day when you have a perfect cup of cider next to you and the windows are open letting in the cool fall breeze. This may seem like how you would spend your day off or you may be thinking to yourself something like ‘if I only had time,” but I can appreciate putting my feet up and relaxing because my day didn’t start out this way.
It’s my day off like it is every Monday and all of the world is back at work around me and it feels good to be able to move along at my own pace. I slept in until 8:30 am and let my body move into it’s habitual mode of straightening up and making sure this most important aspect of my day is taken care of first thing. Spending an hour or so every day to straighten up not only starts my day out productively, but also helps keep it from becoming overwhelming. I have created a habit to where the stress of cleaning is never an issue. Creating a clean space is one of the most essential parts of my life because it gives me a space that is conducive to growth, health, happiness, and it gives me a clear mind to become who I want to be. I don’t spend the rest of my day dwelling on things like the laundry I haven’t done or the dishes in the sink because that would only bring down my mood and likely cause a bit of self inflicted shame. Having a clean home also helps fight off things like anxiety and depression.
Growing up I had a terrible habit of procrastination. I waited until the last minute to do pretty much anything and everything. I would sit around without accomplishing anything and then feel bad about it later when it was time to get things done. This bad habit lasted for most of my young life because it took me until I was in my early twenties to realize what it was and why it could be so devastating to the evolution of my life. I realized if I wanted to get anything done that was worth something, I had to get out of the habitual hole I had spent my life digging. I’m not sure at what point I changed my perspective, but somewhere along the road I learned better and so I tried to do better. I kept learning and I kept growing. Unconsciously, I worked on making my surroundings look like the life I wanted. Chipping away at life and lessons small pieces at a time. There were breakups and broken hearts, there were friendships lost, and there was hard times of hard soul searching.
When I decided I wasn’t the person I wanted to be, I knew I had to create the person I needed to be and it was going to be based on principles that would make the foundation of who I would become. No matter what I had done before, it couldn’t be anything more than lessons learned and experiences that would shape my future self. I built a specific vision of myself in my mind so I knew what she would look like. I kept that vision at hand so that every choice I had to make, I would ask if future Megan would do that and I tried every day to be better at holding myself to a higher standard than I had before. Of course sometimes I got anxious and fell into times of depression, but I used this image as a way of getting out. I knew that if I could just put my finger on who I wanted to be, only time would stand in my way.
As she became more well rounded and solid, my future self had a clean house and read as many books as possible. She worked to spend her time trying to be the best person she could so that things like keeping away from judgement of herself and people around her would be easier. She tried seeing as much good in the world and tried to muffle the sound of her previous self. So many things I visualized in the Megan I wanted to be and even to this day that is what I hold on to. I see what can be and what should be and I try more daily to bring these things to life.
No matter what your struggle is, whether it is as simple as being better at keeping your house clean or waking up earlier, try this technique. Visualize the best version of yourself. Picture things so specifically as how you dress and what you eat. Try and build a list of principles on which this version of yourself lives. Make lists, make Pinterest boards, breathe them in, and when it’s time to make a choice even as simple as what to make for dinner, ask yourself what would she do? What would future you do? The more you follow through with this it will become a habit, a habit that builds more positive habits. Does she get up early? Is she a vegan or does she work out daily? Does she drag herself out of bed and make some tea because she can’t let this weight of depression hold her down one more day? Make them whatever you want to create. She can even sit on the couch and watch Harry Potter on her day off, it’s all up to you. In the end, I can’t help but remind you that this life is only what you make it and it can be everything you make it.
Keeping my house clean is just an example of a positive habit I have created in my life and it may not be on the top of your list, but it’s important to make your list. Figure out what you want your priorities to be and what you want this week to look like. If you don’t know what you want your life to look like how can you find your way there? How can you get to a place where sitting on the couch feels good and not a bit shameful? Find what would make you feel proud to have accomplished on your day off and do that. Figure out what kind of person you want to be and be that.