Hopefully most of you have at least one extra day off this week in order to spend time with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the biggest travel day of the year…so please be careful if you are traveling! This year I will be making the trip across PA to spend Thanksgiving with my mom’s side of the family like we have been doing for as long as I can remember. Typically my family travels Thanksgiving morning, but with my work schedule and my sisters both currently in VA, we are all traveling in three separate vehicles. This means 5 hours by myself across the state to take in the scenery and do what I do best–sing to any and every song I play along the way. I do not doubt my ability to sing the whole 5 hours, but I typically take out a few good books on CD from the library, with a few that are along the lines of self education/self-help (I know some of you are laughing at this) to get something from the extended amount of time in the car. Might as well do something productive right?
So my schedule will consist of getting up at 3:30am to coach, coaching 2 classes, working out followed by a shower (just in case you were concerned I may skip this step), private train a client, coach a nutrition challenge class, then hit the road around 12pm. Most likely I will start my drive with normal music, and then possibly switch to Christmas music–non stop singing of course. Then whenever I have to make my first “pit stop”, I will most likely get Starbucks (love the red cups). As I drive across the state I will be looking at all of what nature has to offer. Being a natural introvert (some of you may find this surprising), I will most likely be letting my thoughts drift onto the impressive number of topics my ADD mind can cover per minute. Some topics may be what I am thankful for (post to come this week), what God has blessed me with in my life, the obvious hand God as used to shape my life with job opportunities and the amazing people he has placed in my path, the struggles I have overcome and am still overcoming, what I want my life to look like 5 years from now, what kind of person I want to become, what I am doing to achieve my goals, how I am going to go about leaving an imprint on this world, etc. Don’t worry, there will most likely be some shallow thoughts interspersed (what I will be wearing that night/the next day, what I will or will not eat on Thanksgiving, why am I hungry again–you get the drift). Every so often there may be a negative thought in reference to where I am currently and how far I may have to go to reach a specific goal, but those are reframed into positive thoughts almost immediately.
I know you are probably wondering where I am going with this post, but here are two points I want to leave you with today.
1. Find happiness in life’s simple pleasures: Red Starbucks cups, Christmas music, nature, giving thanks for all that I have in life, thinking of meaningful gifts to get those I love, smiling at random strangers, watching parents herd their children like cats around the rest stop all dressed up…these things will make me smile on Wednesday as I travel. Maybe I am easy to please, but I believe being easy to please makes one happy a lot more frequently. If it snows come Wednesday when I am traveling, it would be easy for me to complain about road conditions or how miraculously people tend to lose the ability to drive in wet conditions, but most likely I will be thinking how beautiful the snow looks with a smile on my face.
“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”
2. Your thoughts shape your life: Where does your mind wonder off to when you have time to think? Thoughts comprise our attitude which affect our words and actions which greatly impacts our ability to achieve happiness. Are you unhappy a lot with life or do you find yourself always talking negatively? Well take a look at your thoughts. How many times do you notice a negative thought cross your mind and how many times do you consciously turn it into a positive? If you think about it, how can someone be happy when all they think are negative thoughts? How draining! So reflect this week on your thoughts and when a negative thought creeps into your mind, spin it into a positive. When you find yourself wishing you had something else, try giving thanks for what you have been blessed with. Instead of hating your current situation, focus on what you can do to accomplish your goals.
So as we near the holiday season that should be focused on giving thanks and love, spend time reflecting on the positives in your life. Let those special people in your life know what they mean to you. Look for the small things that make you happy.
Remember, happiness is a state of mind not a destination. Change your thoughts, change your world.