10 Things You Can Do Differently Today

By John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

7. Have some fun. Some of us are very good about having fun, and doing it regularly. But some of us, especially as we get older, forget to have fun. We think we’re having fun watching TV or playing a video game — and some of us really are — but many times we use these activities as stand-ins for actual pleasure. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that you should also make room in your life for real fun too! While there’s a time and place for taking life seriously, there’s an equal time and place for forgetting your troubles for a few hours a week and really enjoying yourself.

8. Enjoy the journey. Many of us are so focused on getting to where we’re going or where we think we should be going that we forget that the journey is often just as important (and fun!). Life is a full-time, 100% learning experience. Even when we think we’re in the midst of the most mind-numbing, repetitive and boring experience, life is trying to teach us something. The problem is that a lot of the time we don’t realize this. We negate the experience, and in the process, we negate a part of our lives. Embrace the journey, even if it’s just once in awhile, and understand that everything is a part of living a full and meaningful life.

9. Read an entire article. The Internet has been a wonderful boon to our lives, opening up doors and breaking down barriers that have plagued our society in so many different areas. But in one area, it has dealt us a bit of a setback — reading skills. The Internet values the interconnections (or “surfing”) one makes back and forth, all over the world, from website to website. But it doesn’t value sitting there and reading a full-length article from start to finish. Whether you do it online or in a local newspaper or magazine, sit and read an entire article, from start to finish. It teaches us to value good writing (rather than what passes for writing on so much of the Internet), appreciate the nuances of a well-told story and a very good writer, and often challenges us to think outside of our comfort zone. Skimming articles – what most people do online – gives us the gist of the information with none of the nuance or character of careful reading.

10. Try another stress relief. Like all patterns of behavior, we often adopt behaviors over time without giving them much thought. If it comes naturally, it must be okay. How we deal with stress is one of those things that we learn by watching others in our life — on TV, our parents, and our friends. We learn to do positive things, such as exercise or writing in a journal, as well as negative stress relievers, such as drinking too much or bottling it up inside ourselves, letting it simmer. Look at how others around you deal with stress and pick just one different, positive way of dealing with stress and try it out. It may feel a little unnatural at first, but give it a week or two and you may find it is another helpful alternative to place in your stress relief arsenal.

And remember to live. Aren’t we doing that already? How can I do that differently? You know, so many of us spend our lives in “quiet desperation.” That is, we live from day to day without giving much thought to our lives’ meaning. We yearn to do something more, something different, but most of us never spend much effort to achieving that. But you can take little steps, instead of giant strides, to live a life that has more meaning to you. What that meaning is, only you can decide. But instead of putting off getting to that meaning, you can make a start — today — toward it.

Perhaps you’d like to be in a different career, so start thinking about the careers that interest you. Perhaps you’d like to be in a new relationship, so start thinking about what qualities you truly appreciate in another person. Perhaps you’d like to be a better parent, so start finding little ways you can improve your parenting skills. Perhaps you’d like to write a poem or book, so start writing — it doesn’t have to have form or function, just desire.

Sometimes the greatest challenge we face in changing something about our lives is the actual act of doing. We put up barriers within ourselves to stop ourselves from even trying to do something different, because we believe we will fail, it is too difficult to change, or it will take too long. We never even start.

So don’t start today. Don’t start tomorrow. But start just one of these things within the next month, and you’ll find that you will succeed if you only try.

 

APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2006). 10 Things You Can Do Differently Today. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 30, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/10-things-you-can-do-differently-today/000784
Scientifically Reviewed
    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2013
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

 

 

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