We all know that feeling of being “in the zone” for our workout. We get sorer, we feel stronger, heck we even feel smarter. Why are some days like this while others aren’t? Is it possible not only to be “in the zone” during every single workout, but in every aspect our life? Today we bring you four ways that we can maximize our life, all by bringing our attention inward.
1. Be in the present moment
As we all know, life changes often. We never know what will come next, yet we spend much of our time trying to figure it out. Imagine you just got big exciting news but it requires you to move across the world, leaving your significant other, your family, and your friends. Looking back on the past week, do you wish you would have engaged in more meaningful conversations with your loved ones instead of staring at your phone? Often, we take much of our life for granted because we are not living in the present moment. Next time you feel your mind wandering out of the present moment, bring your awareness back and focus on your senses. If you struggle with this, a really good tool to use is your life force – your breath. This can be as simple as sitting or lying in a comfortable position, closing your eyes, placing a hand on your belly, and listening. Listen to the rhythm and feel the warmth of your breath as it enters and leaves your body. Feel your hand move up and down with your deep-belly breaths. Stay here as long as you would like, even a minute can be beneficial. Once you begin to live in the present moment you will see your life completely change, things will slow down, and you’ll enjoy your life even more.
2. Whenever you engage in an activity, ask yourself why
People are focused on the word what. What do you do for a living? What did you have for lunch? What are your hobbies? Now, say all of those questions again, but replace what with why. Why do you do that for a living? Why did you eat that for lunch? Why do you have these hobbies? I’m sure you can imagine how different these answers would be. Realizing the purpose behind what we do (the why) is the single most important step towards feeling fulfilled in life.
When the US was working on putting a man on the moon, President Kennedy visited NASA. During his visit, he asked a janitor, “What are you doing?” The janitor looked at President Kennedy with a smile and said, “I am helping to put a man on the moon.”
You probably feel really inspired right now, right? The question is, what makes this so inspirational? The answer is simple – that janitor knew why he was a janitor and found a higher purpose in his job (outside of cleaning toilets). Every job that exists, exists for a reason. Finding your why is much more complex than finding your what. Ask yourself the following questions to start your exploration:
- Why do I work here?
- Why do I get up in the morning?
- Why am I feeling this way towards this person?
Once you begin analyzing and looking at your actions through the scope of why, you will begin to find purpose in all that you do. When you find your why, you will be able to wake up every single morning feeling inspired and excited for the day ahead.
3. Realize that the ONLY person in this world you can change is yourself
We are constantly changing every day. We change our mind, our temper, our clothes, and our expressions. But, always remember, the person making these changes is you. Yes, a friend can suggest a cute outfit to try on, but you are the decider of whether or not to actually try it on.
Similarly, when taking a class, a professor can give you all of the information and be available to discuss the content one on one in office hours, but unless you decide to consume the information and go to office hours, you will not learn anything.
Everything you do in life is done because you chose to do it. You have the ultimate say in whether or not you are making that change.
So why is this important? Well, a lot of us try to change others: their attitude, habits and how they live their life. Instead, we must begin inspiring, laughing with, and supporting one another without the underlying goal of changing that person. Just as you are the only one who can change yourself, they are the only one that can change themselves. We must begin realizing that it is not, and never will be, our duty to change someone else, because, well, that is impossible.
4. Take responsibility for your thoughts and your reactions because ultimately that is your life
There are many aspects of life you cannot control. What you can control, however, is how you react to life. From big life events to little things you experience daily (e.g., how you view people when you first meet them), our actions (aka reactions and thoughts) are in our control. Interested in learning how to better control your thoughts and actions?
Begin by creating awareness of your thoughts. When we go through life, we have so many day-to-day thoughts yet we never listen or reflect on them. Once you begin listening you can ask yourself, is this thought challenging me to be better or am I thinking negatively? After you’ve attained awareness, begin to replace the negative thoughts and reactions with positive ones. For example, instead of feeling guilt after eating a cookie, allow yourself to feel satisfied; doing so will help prevent overindulgences and unnecessary anxiety. Once you become aware of your thoughts and reactions, you will be able to change them, which will lead to a more peaceful life.
“What you do to improve yourself, improves your surroundings, improves the world” – Unknown