"What did I come in here for?" I asked aloud to the empty kitchen. It was a brief lapse of attention, but also a moment of clarity. Until that instance, I had been breezing through the workday like a pen listlessly moving over a blank page, making marks yet accomplishing very little. It's the same feeling induced by an LA commute home; thoughts and worries would run amok while I drove, and an hour later I'd find myself home with no memory of the scenery.
But the question offered a greater realization than just a momentary game-plan: What if we could ask ourselves back into presence and awareness? What if just a few simple questions could make a profound difference in our every day lives?
Asking yourself the following questions will do just that: clue you in to your own behaviors, positive and negative, and help you see where you can alter your life in little ways that will make a big difference. These questions will make you keenly aware of how you use your time, your energy, and your intention, and the answers can potentially offer guidance for your best year yet. They are inspired by Benjamin Franklin's daily planning framework, a practice that is both insightful and motivating.
1. "What is my intention today?"
The moment you wake up, consciously and with enthusiasm create intention for your day. This intention will set a precedence for your end results. Do you want to be more positive or have a better attitude when problem solving? Is your intention to make others feel good today, and be someone your friends and family enjoy being around? Is your intention to stay grounded, humble, or strong and fearless? A warrior never enters the battle field without knowing what he's fighting for. Take a moment in the morning to ask yourself what kinds of energy you want to bring into the world with your words and actions, and make a commitment to stick to them.
2. "Why am I doing this?"
It's easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day minutiae. Be sure, even in your everyday habits, that you are acting with a sense of purpose and an eye on your life goals. Why are you still in this job; is it because you enjoy it or because you're afraid to take the leap to somewhere new? Why do you participate the workouts you do, or lack thereof? Asking why you're doing what you're doing will not only clearly identify the path you are currently on, it will give you a chance to reevaluate whether this path is still right for you.
As with all things, purpose and passions change, a topic we discuss in this article on HerAfter.com. Make sure you are taking time to converse with your heart and mind, and know that you feel good about where you are headed.
3. "Why am I eating this?"
Mindless eating at the desk, the table, in the car or even at the table is a major cause of unwanted weight gain, not to mention a source of uncomfortable bloating and those guilty feelings we all dread. Eat with awareness; decide with your mind and heart -- not just your taste buds - what to eat at every meal, and make sure you're eating to be kind to your body. While a comforting bowl of mac and cheese can help a broken heart, eating it all the time isn't a recipe for success. Honor your body by giving it food to fuel your life, and help it feel clean, happy, and energized!
4. "What am I sharing?"
Whether a social situation with your friends, or a conversation at home with your spouse, ask yourself what you're sharing with those you love. That means what ideas and dreams you are bringing to them and recruiting them in, and what kind of attitude you offer them in your interactions. Are you being the kind of person you would like to know and love? Are you bringing them your best self? Or are you taking them for granted by bringing your daily woes to the dinner table? You get what you give, as they say, so bring a happy, loving, caring person to your relationships and friendships, and open up to them about your wildest dreams. It will help make you be accountable to your goals, and let other encourage you along the way!
5. "What am I proud of?"
What did you do today that you are proud of? What did you accomplish or share or give or decide that makes you feel proud of yourself? There's enough shaming and negativity in the world; it's important to build into your life little moments of celebration and pride, simply saying "good job me!". Take the time to look back on the day, offer gratitude to the good moments, and forgiveness to the bad. And celebrate your victories big and small.
Getting caught up in the rat race of every day to-do's is the easiest way to kill happiness and awareness. Get conscious to your own actions and thoughts every day, and you'll tap in to the infinite power you have to create a full, rewarding, and productive life brimming with all the best that life has to offer.