It’s easy to get caught up in the moment when things are not going the way you would like them to. Problem areas are always more visible than what is actually working. We get more attached to the problems because they are at odds with what we intended. When we intend for something to go a certain way and the result is less than desirable, it doesn’t feel good. When we make plans and set out on a path, we are emotionally invested in that plan. Anything we spend time thinking about and make the effort to execute on is tied to emotions.
At the beginning of a year, it is easy to say that we are going to make this year different. Perhaps the previous year was ok, but we did not achieve what we had desired. Now that it is a new year, decide this year will be different. Just by doing that, we minimize what actually did go well that year before. It is very easy to focus on what didn’t get done, or what went wrong than it is to focus on what was great.
The last few years I have felt that I could be doing more. There are many areas of my life where I know I am doing more than average, but I also know that I being lazy in some of those areas. Here are a couple of examples.
I have not been consistent with my fitness for years now. I have made several excuses that mostly revolve around getting older and not feeling that great. I have had a few minor health issues that I have let affect me more than they should have. I have more responsibility than before, which requires more work, both at home and at the office. At the end of the day, I go to the couch and spend the last hour or two relaxing by spending time on my phone or watching tv with my wife. I often don’t end up going to bed early enough to get up and go to the gym before my family wakes up.
To start of 2016 with a bang, we received a 30-day notice to vacate the home we are renting. This came out of nowhere as we take excellent care of the property and have never been late on rent. A few days before Christmas we received a rental increase notice that was to begin on the first of the year. I contested the notice because 30-days notice must be given to increase rent. They then quickly responded with a 30-day notice to vacate. The 30-day notice to vacate is also unlawful because we have lived in the home over a year, which entitles us to a 60-day notice.
It is too easy to focus on the problems at hand and to file away the good things that happened. I often have to take a step back and look at the current situation from a different perspective. I try to think about it as if it was a year from now. I have had some hard situations in life and looking back on them from current day is a lot easier than it was going through them at the time.
It is now getting to the end of January and we have not been able to find a house similar to the size and location of the house we currently live in. We are looking at moving into a smaller home, or a rent increase of $400. There are not a lot of available rentals out there right now.
At the gym this morning, I was thinking to myself about my housing situation and I found myself being thankful. If my wife and I had done what most of our friends did right after getting married, which was buy a home. We would be paying close to double of what we are currently paying in rent for a home that we would have bought when housing prices were still quite high. We may have to move in the next few weeks into a home that is more expensive than our current situation, but that is still better than paying for a home that lost 50% or more of its value in the crash. Moving will cost us money, but we have savings that we can borrow from if we need to. It is all about the perspective you take on a situation.
There are silver linings in everything. I know that sounds cliché since the movie with a similar title came out, but it’s true. Instead of looking at the current situation and dreading all that is involved with moving, I am choosing to look at the situation as if it was six months from now. We will be in a home and settled in. We will have met a few neighbors and frequented the nearby park. I will have gotten used to driving a new way to work each day.
As far as fitness goes, I have to take the same approach. I am choosing to look at myself as if it was a year from now which includes being at my target weight, starting each day with a run and eating healthier. I am the type of person who makes a decision to do something and makes a complete 180 to get there if need be. The problem with making an abrupt 180 is that if you do it too fast, you get dizzy. If you get dizzy, you can’t focus on all that is required to sustain that kind of change in your life. Some can pull it off, but I now have the experience now that has taught me that it is hard to do with a family. You cannot disrupt everybody else’s schedule and diet just to change your own.
Though I have learned to see the silver lining in some aspects of life, I am far from being able to see it in everything. I am not the kind of person who worries about things, but I do carry some stress during situations inside of me. I need to be better at recognizing the positive aspects of a situation before even allowing the negative aspects to attach themselves.
What is your process for looking at the positive? What do you do to get yourself out of the funk so you can see clearly and focus on moving forward?