Your responses to my letter last week hit me right in the heart. I cried responding to at least 3 of them. People shared stories of losing family members, the life they always loved, and their motivation. I cried because I understood and because there is a lot of pain in this world that I’ll never truly comprehend. I mourned for my own evolving life, too.
No one warns you about the two sides of change. The first is the highlight reel version, which people announce on social media and scream to the world. It’s before and after pictures, announcements, and declarations. The second is the reality of change - the daily steps and frustrations as you take tiny steps every day.
Most people would drop some cliche about “moving forward” and gratitude in the face of change. The reality is that when you’re buried in the shift, marching forward aimlessly is dangerous. We burn out, buried under the weight of always feeling like we’re doing too much or not enough to achieve the goal.
I feel that all the time, and I know I’m not alone. Change isn’t easy. That’s why people do those highlight reels on social media; change is hard. However, I don’t think gratitude platitudes and setting big goals will get you there.
In fact, I know it won’t.
I’ve set big goals and filled out gratitude journals, all while sitting with this unsettled feeling. Then a few weeks back, it hit me. I was focused on the big goals, not the one thing that would change my life: how I feel every day.
No, you can’t press a button to improve how you feel, but you can acknowledge alternative feelings. It works. I’ve turned that moment into a daily practice that has helped me to manage this overwhelming feeling from everything changing - at home, at work, and in society.
Here’s what I do. Every morning I ask myself, “how do I want to feel today?”
The answer doesn’t always jump out at me. I do a quick mental review of what I didn’t like about the day before and start there. On other days when I’m expecting hard moments, I’ll write words like “calm” or “focused.”
Today I wrote, “proud.” When the end of this day rolls around, I want to be proud, not frustrated that I didn’t get more done on a checklist.
By writing that down and making this commitment, I know at the end of the day there will be some tiny voice in my head that says, “be proud of yourself. You did well today.”
I hope today you’ll be proud of yourself, too. That you’ll take a moment to pick a word and see how it changes your day.
3 more posts I hope can help you below. Regardless, have a great 4th of July and take care of yourselves.