“When you change you learn, when you learn you grow.”
I woke up one morning a few weeks ago and I was like, “I’m so frigging happy!”
I wanted to tell you this because working the work of feeling good, works. PERIOD! This stuff works! I want you to believe that you have the power to change your life if you are not feeling happy or fulfilled in one area, or all of them.
I know it works, because I have been working it like a full-time gig. If you read or watched anything from me in 2017, you’ve heard me say how much I couldn’t get my shit together. I was upset all the time – cranky, irritable, frustrated with my business, annoyed with my husband and my puppy, and this extroverted woman didn’t want to be around people.
I know that my problems are first world problems, but that doesn’t minimize how I was feeling. I was feeling unfulfilled. I was giving way too much energy on making everyone else’s life great and not putting enough attention on my own. I wasn’t surrounding myself with uplifting and supportive people. I wasn’t doing things that I loved in my business because I was too focused on the revenue. Meaning, I was doing lots of workshops that were not filling up my soul (energy vampire draining work), and this left me no time, energy or desire to create what I really wanted.
Sound familiar? I bet my story is starting to resonate with some of you.
2018 was a completely different story. Thank God!
One day after a terrible fight with my husband, all my fault, I said, “I am going to make 2018 different. I am going to make it the best year of my life. I didn’t work this hard to just revert back to feeling unhappy, so I am going to coach myself back.”And I did. I turned to things I knew worked, did some woo-woo new stuff that I wasn’t sure of but ended up being amazing, and I worked with my own personal coach for help as well. It’s great to have the tools that I have as a coach, but I also know the extreme value of working with a coach.
So for the entire year of 2018, I committed to working the work of being happy. Nothing else was more important. When I felt myself veering off, I would feel it, question it, and if nothing needed to be done with it, I made the decision to change my attitude right then and there. First, I went back to my own toolkit and I wrote out my vision – everything I wanted for my career, money, relationships, health, spiritual growth, business growth, and most important, I became clear on how I wanted to feel each and every day. HAPPY. That was and is the first and most important step. Get very clear about what you want and how you want to feel.
MY BIGGEST LESSONS
Many of you had an amazing year, and some of you may have had some ups and downs. Whatever your experience was, it was yours to have. There are lessons in both. If it was a great year, what made it so great? What worked? What can you take into 2019 to continue having such positive momentum? If it wasn’t a great year, and you experienced those ups and downs, struggles and possibly heartbreak, what caused it? What didn’t work? What do you intend not to take into 2019? What do you intend to do differently? What are your intentions for this next chapter and what can you do to make 2019 great?
Most of you have been here with me all year, following my journey that I’ve been sharing through my blog, social media, podcast, and weekly teachings in the Contagiously Positive Insider. My lessons have been plentiful and there are things that I’m leaving behind, but there is so much that I am taking forward with me. Today, to say goodbye to this chapter, before we all begin the next, I wanted to start the year off with my first 2019 blog by sharing my greatest lessons. These are the biggies that I’m holding onto as I step into 2019 with so much excitement. Some of these things I did almost daily to make the vision I created a reality. If there is anything here that speaks to you, give it a try and make a commitment to try it out for at least 30 days. If it feels good, keep doing it. If not, try something else.
Lesson 1: Feeling good is the work. By work, I mean what I believe should be our main focus each and every day. When we do things from a place of feeling the way we want to feel, it all flows together with so much more ease. When things do go off track, it makes it easier to recalibrate back.
That is how I felt all year. For me, my #1 goal was to strengthen my inner world. To work on my core desired feeling, which was to feel happy. To fully and completely feel it so deeply that love just oozed out of me in my relationships, with my clients and with all of you. Feeling good also helped me to make decisions with confidence and trust that I was doing what was right for me in that moment.
I am taking this intention into 2019 with a knowingness that nothing else is more important than how I feel because when I feel good, I can do so much good.
Q: How do you want to feel? What is that one feeling that would have a total domino effect on your entire life?
Lesson 2: This lesson is an extension of the first. To feel the way I wanted to feel, I had to set healthy boundaries. Not just with people, but also with myself. I worked on saying no when I needed (wanted) to say no. I worked on saying yes when I truly wanted to say yes (even if it was scary or uncomfortable). If an external circumstances or person that I couldn’t control (which we can’t) was pulling me into the negative vortex, I asked myself, “how can I react or respond to this in a way that serves me, in a way that enhances my core desired feelings, or in a way that won’t make me take up permanent residence in negative-ville?”Basically, I stopped trying to change them and started changing my reaction. When you set a personal boundary like this, what you get is emotional freedom.
I also slowed down when I needed to slow down – which meant listening to my body and doing what I needed to do to recharge my batteries. When I felt like excuses were bubbling up as to why I couldn’t cook a healthy meal, or do a workout, I made my health a priority. I got into the kitchen and made food that was mouth-wateringly healthy (because food should always taste good). This is really important because when you don’t feel happy, it isn’t easy to find the energy to cook food that nourishes you, but I committed to it fully. I also made sure to get out into nature every single day for 1-hour and walk with my dog Axl. I am proud to say that I only missed a couple of these.
I also stopped coming down on myself when I didn’t do something or say something that I think I should have. No more should’ve, could’ve, would’ve. When I got off track, I reset and got back on. I set a boundary with myself that allowed me to be imperfect and that it was okay not to always be okay, which is another powerful way to gain emotional freedom.
These were all boundaries set in place that I can’t even imagine going back to my old ways, so I am also taking them into 2019.
Q: What are healthy boundaries that you need to with either yourself, or with others, to feel the way you want to feel?
Lesson 3: I set non-negotiable actions. I got very clear about what action steps I would take to feel happy and healthy and I made it non-negotiable. Meaning, I wouldn’t let anyone, including myself, talk me out of, or make me feel bad or guilty for needing to do these things. This is a further extension of setting healthy boundaries. A non-negotiable was changing the way I started and ended my day. I took 30-minutes at the start and end of the day where there is no rushing around. The way we start our day can have a massive impact on our entire day. If you are already stressed and in a negative mindset before you even get out of bed, I can probably guess that the rest of your day isn’t really going to be that great. Where your focus goes, your energy flows. So if you wake up and you are instantly focused on how late you are, how much you have to do, why it isn’t Friday yet, all the emails you have to respond to, how much you hate your job, guess where your energy is going to be flowing to? NEGATIVE-VILLE!
Here are my morning and evening rituals.
Morning routine: I wake up and write what I’m grateful for because gratitude is the best attitude. I make my bed because I like the feeling of having one thing accomplished before I start my day. I have a big glass of water, and I take time to cuddle with Axl, while having my coffee. And then I start the workday.
Evening routing: I only read something light and positive because even though we are asleep, our subconscious mind is still going, so I give it something good to dream about. I go to bed early so I get proper sleep because good quality sleep is everything. And, I write in my journal if there is anything I feel I need to release from the day, while also writing 3 great things that happened that day.
A side note to my evening routine is that I don’t schedule stuff in the evening every single night of the week. The biggest thing here is that I took control of my calendar, so that I would have the time to spend on myself, working the work of feeling the way I wanted to feel. It is really easy to come up with excuses when we fill every single minute of every single day.
Q: What can you do to start your day off more positively and how can you end your day (even if it wasn’t a good day) more positively?
Lesson 4: And, not last, but the last one I will leave you with today, is I stopped complaining. When I would catch myself, I would make myself stop and replace it with better thoughts. Sometimes just saying, “this is a first world problem, do you want this attitude to gain momentum and ruin your day?”Of course the answer was always no. Simply questioning the complaint made me think if it really mattered. I asked my husband to tell me when I was on a complaining rampage and didn’t realize it. This made a massive difference! If I needed to vent, I would do it with the intention that I needed to get it out so I could move forward in a more positive way. And, I always ended the venting session with a positive action or new perspective.
Constantly complaining about everything puts us on the fast track to moving into negative-ville. Not a fun place to live. And, the more you complain, the more you find things to complain about. Why? Because where your attention goes, your energy flows.
I’m not perfect at any of this, and probably never will be, but honestly, waking up a few weeks ago, finding myself saying, “I am so freaking happy” made it all worth the effort. I’m now entering into this new year with a strong foundation.
We get caught up in thinking that we need to have everything achieved when and how we want it in order to be happy. But this just isn’t the case. I didn’t even reach all the goals I set last year, but I am blissfully happy (even in challenging, exhausting days). What I realized is that all I (you) have is right now. Happiness is a part of the journey, not the end result of making a certain amount of money or achieving a goal. Be so happy now that even the tiny little things you experience make you feel incredibly blessed. Be so happy now that when something bad happens you still feel blessed. This is truly how we make happiness our permanent default setting. It feels so good to be coaching, teaching, serving and sharing from this place. This is the place that makes me a better teacher because I am being who I truly love being and doing (taking action) from that place. If I feel it, so will you. That is what makes something contagiously positive.
As you begin the new year, or a new day, set an intention for how you want to start out 2019, or even how you want to start out your day. Here are some questions you can ask yourself. How do you want to feel? What are your desires, dreams, goals and wishes? What do you need to let go of, and just leave behind? Who do you need to forgive? How can you bring in more love? How can you love deeper? What can you do starting immediately today to begin feeling exactly the way you want to feel? Who do you want to BE? What do you want to DO? What do you want to HAVE?
As always, I will end with my greatest wish for all of you – be happy, be healthy, and of course, be contagiously positive.
Laurie-ann, The Contagiously Positive Girl