Honor your time and your life with activities that make you feel good.
This sounds simple, but most of us are so focused on our day-to-day to-do lists that we never take an internal inventory of how activities actually make us feel.
For example, you might think you watch television to relax. However, if you pay attention to your emotions as you watch, you might realize that the news actually makes you feel frustrated and disempowered, and some of the shows you watch make you feel anxious.
For another example, many people use social media to feel connected to their friends, but if they’re honest with themselves, it actually often makes them feel disconnected and lonely—like their lives are not as exciting as they could be and that they are missing out on the good stuff.
This is not to say that all television and social media are bad. The point is to make sure you are getting the emotional payoff you desire from the activities you choose to spend time doing—especially those activities you do to relax and recharge.
Relaxation time should feel relaxing. Inspiration time should feel inspiring. Connection time should feel connected, supportive, and uplifting. When you find that activities are not delivering what you want from them emotionally, don’t keep doing those activities out of habit, find another way to feel those emotions. It is the emotions that recharge your batteries, after all.
Time is precious and we waste too much of it on activities that do not feel good. Some of that cannot be helped, but much of it can. Even if you cannot spend less time doing a lousy-feeling activity, you can make a conscious effort to extract the best-feeling emotion from it possible.
Sing along with your kids during carpool instead of complaining about the traffic. Take two minutes to watch a funny video with a colleague at work to lighten the mood on a heavy work day. Talk about something positive at the dinner table.
Bottom line: Pay attention to how you feel as you go through your day and make choices that generate the best-feeling emotions possible.
If you are serious about feeling better, take one day and log your emotions. Make a list of the activities you do and the way each makes you feel. Then see if you can find one, small action step you could take to squeeze a few additional minutes positive emotion into your day.
Remember: Your life is a series of moments stacked on top of each other. Minutes bleed into days, which bleed into weeks, which turn into a life. Good moments pile on top of other good moments to create a good life. The opposite is true for not-so-good-feeling moments.
Improve your moments, and you will improve your life.