It may be the season of love but February in Michigan gets cold. VERY cold. It can also be pretty dark and gray outside. This combination can create cabin fever for many, and Seasonal Affective Disorder for some.
In my last post, I mentioned how we tend to associate warmer weather with happier times, and how this is symptomatic of our cultural penchant for overemphasizing the big experiences of our lives over the small, seemingly mundane moments.
Feel like you might succumb to cabin fever boredom and start counting the days until spring?
I’m offering you a three-part series with alternatives to bring out the best in you this winter!
The Value of Embracing the Mundane
There’s nothing inherently wrong with goals, aspirations and looking forward to fun experiences–it’s what helps us endure the cold winter months that often extend into April.
But I’m convinced that the real key to presenting the best version of yourself, creating lasting change, and living purposefully lies not in the magical, but in the ordinary moments of our lives.
Here’s how author Paul Tripp puts it:
The reality is that few smokers have actually quit because of a single moment of resolve. Few obese people have become slim because of one dramatic moment of commitment. Few people who were deeply in debt have changed their financial lifestyles because they resolved to do so as the old year gave way to the new. And few marriages have been changed by means of one dramatic resolution. The point: True lasting change is more of a mundane process than a series of dramatic events. Our lives don’t lurch from big moment to big moment. We all live in the utterly mundane. So don’t devalue the little moments of life – the true character of a life is not set in one or two or three dramatic moments, but in thousands of little moments. The character and wisdom that is formed in those little moments shape how we respond to the big moments of our lives.
Part 1 of this series highlighted the benefits of celebrating small wins and featured the four categories of leadership expert Craig Groeschel’s “win buckets.” If you haven’t already, check out Part 1, then come back here for Part 2.
2. Disrupt your Routine
As I shared in another recent post, one of my favorite books of 2019 was Playful Intelligence which explores five attributes of what author Anthony DeBenedet describes as “living lightly.”
In the chapter on spontaneity (#4 on the list) he shares how, according to research, breaking our routines can contribute to a greater sense of presence and engagement in our everyday lives.
Research shows that when you disrupt your daily routine, from going out to dinner or to a movie in the middle of the week, to small things like taking a different route home, sitting in a different seat at the dinner table, even brushing your teeth with your opposite hand, you are becoming more mentally flexible and agile in your thinking, which elevates your enjoyment of life.
And the more data he gathered, the more he noticed how spontaneity shows up as something he calls “psychological flexibility,” which is a consistently flexible mental state that allows you to mentally ricochet in fresh directions when something unplanned happens — and to enjoy it!
What are some ways you can “change things up” during these winter months? I’m looking forward to your feedback.
Stay tuned for Part 3, coming soon!