Change is ongoing throughout life. We will experience many ups and downs, bumps and bruises, most of which we take for granted.
It is when we encounter major upheavals and setbacks that it takes longer to get back on our feet. At those times we have the opportunity to reflect on what is working and what is not and explore new ways to improve our life and make our goals happen.
This month, we have been reflecting on how current habits can either help or hinder us.
Going through tough times can be discouraging. You find yourself becoming more and more critical of yourself and others. While each day offers an opportunity to work towards new solutions, our self-talk can become a major stumbling block.
When negative thoughts and self-imposed judgments are constantly repeated, they become an ongoing internal dialogue, like a recording set on auto-replay.
This recording only contains our failures, the times we have been disappointed or rejected. I call this on-going recording your “internal critic.”
Hard times bring up old memories; unpleasant or discouraging flashbacks from our youth.
There may have been traumatic times earlier in your adult life. Presumptions about who you believed you could become have been shaken. You might hear your parent admonishing you for not getting better grades or fighting with your siblings, unfair comparisons with a sister or brother or scolding for disobeying.
At such moments, we question ourselves.
Am I really that incompetent? Those old messages can erode any confidence you are gaining.
Anger, like all emotions, has a purpose. It is neither bad nor good on its own. When managed and expressed appropriately, it can be an important ally and friend.
The energy that anger creates can help us make important changes. When used as a motivational force it gives us the motivation to change our lives for the better.
Left unchecked, however, it simmers beneath the surface, ready to explode at any moment. Anger then focuses on everything that is and has been going wrong in our lives. It keeps us from seeing anything good.
It is to our benefit to find out how we acquired an angry-aggressive habitual response before it becomes a wildfire that burns everything in its path.
Focus on what you can do; don’t dwell on what you can’t do. As we age, there will be things we no longer can do and things we struggle to do. For example, arthritis can make it difficult to pick up objects or hold onto them, and we begin to worry about our abilities declining.
Worry can become a habit that eliminates possibilities. Do what you can and do it with confidence.
2. Acknowledge and accept.
It is hard to accept that we are aging. But each day is an opportunity to begin again.
What interests, passions, or things have you wanted to do but never had time for?
What is your daily time routine? Habits and time management go hand-in-hand. If you want to maximize your time, you need to put habits in place that will help you follow those guidelines.
Next week you will learn what keeps habits in place. But first, let’s set up a time management program that works for you.
Time management is more than making to-do lists.
We all make lists of things to be done and then either abandon them or become stressed in the process of trying to get everything done. And we tend to do the things we like doing first and then put the rest on hold until we feel like it.
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