January is all about looking at our lives and evaluating what is working for us and what is not. January is a time to bring into action this concept I refer to as “Mindful Living”. Namely, living in a way where we are intentional and conscious about how we’re spending our days. What time do we want to wake up? What do we want to eat for lunch? How do we want to feel like when we’re done with our days?

Intentional Living

Putting a little bit of time to think about the choices you make every day will bring a lot of ease and calm into our lives. Earlier this month I wrote about our mornings and how to set yourself up for success in the morning. Today, I am discussing broad ways we can approach our lives that, when done consistently, create big changes. Have you heard of the compound effect where finances and investing is concerned? That happens in our life too. If we consistently set an alarm to walk for 20 minutes, we’ll be in a much different place a year from now than if we consistently hit snooze. If we consistently have a cup of tea instead of a cookie at night, we will be in a different place a month from now. If we only say yes to things we want to do, we will be less resentful and strung out next year this time. I could go on and on. The point is:

“Pay attention to the Small Things You Do as They Add Up to be the Big Things.” 

Here are six things that Happy Moms routinely do: 

1) View Self Care as Mandatory

Happy moms take care of themselves. They view their self care as something they do for the family, not something done to the family. They understand that it is not selfish to take care of themselves but rather that it’s selfish not to take care of themselves. If you don’t yet prioritize your wellness and your care, ask yourself why. Usually it’s because we’re telling ourselves some variation of the story that our needs aren’t as important, that we “should” be stronger and able to handle scant sleep and crappy care. Sure, it’s important for our kids to eat whole foods, to get the sleep their bodies need, to spend some time outside, to limit their time with technology, but us?! Sorry mamas but the same rules apply. 6 Things Happy Moms Do Share on X

2) Say No

Happy moms say no. They are aware that their energy is limited and they do not do anyone any favors when they say yes to everything. You and your family are best served when you do what you want to do and say no to the things you don’t. You have certain skills and interests for a reason. When I say yes to the things that don’t light me up, I’m taking an opportunity from someone else. Further, when I say yes to things I don’t want to do, I don’t have the time or energy to spend on the things that I’m actually here to do. I end up bitter and resentful and no one wins. Choose to say no. Choose JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out) instead of FOMO for a happier year.

3) Give Without Expectation of Return

Happy moms give without thinking of what they’ll get in return. This goes hand in hand with saying no to the things they don’t want to do. Think about it: When we are doing the things we want to do (volunteering because we want to or helping someone because we want to help), then we don’t really care what comes back to us. On the contrary, think of when you say yes to something you really don’t want to do. Why are you saying yes? Usually it’s because we think someone else will be grateful for our actions or feel indebted and then help us when we ask for help. Sorry guys, it rarely plays out this way.

I see so many women who give, give, give to people who take, take, take. We teach people how to treat us. If we teach people that we will always put our lives on hold when they need something, we have no one to blame but ourselves when they do it again. And then, when we ask for help and they say no, we have no real right to feel the resentment and bitterness that we feel.

How to get around this? Say no when your inner warrior tells you to say no and then say yes when you feel lit up and excited about saying yes. 

4) Plan their work and work their plan

Writing down a plan for our days moves us from living a reactive life to living an intentional life. Get out your calendar and look at what your next day holds. Write down any tasks you must do in a time slot. I repeat: write down the things that must get done in a time slot. Why must we write them in a time slot? Because those “must dos” are usually the things we put off while we do the easier or “more fun” things. When we get to the end of the day without them done we beat ourselves up for not doing them, feel like crud, and then do one of two things. Either do them then (when our brain is tired and it takes us twice as long) or, we put it on our list of things to do tomorrow (not quite believing that we’ll get it done).

Further, I suggest picking one thing you want to get done each day and focusing on that. No, I’m not living in a fairy land. Like you, I also have 400 things I could get done on any given day. But I have trained my brain to prioritize and act on what must get done today. I ask myself: “What task can I do that, tonight, when lying in bed, I’ll feel happy?” I then schedule that in my day at a specific time. I choose to not let myself down. I choose to do the hard things and I encourage you to also. Put them in your schedule first thing in the morning and then move through your day with confidence.

This is one of the most powerful tools of mindful living. The more deliberately I live my life, the less I feel like a crazy woman running around putting out everyone else’s fires Share on X Plan your days or they will plan you. Here’s a worksheet on scheduling that has helped many.

5) Manage their phone time

Happy moms are aware of how much time they want to spend on their phones and they commit to it. Set your intention for the day when you are planning your day and then include your cell or internet time on your schedule. Literally, write down when you want to check Facebook, Instagram and personal emails. Happy moms schedule these things after they’ve done the main things that need to get done for the day. [tweetshare tweet=”Checking email, FB or anything else before setting your priorities for the day allows other people’s emergencies and needs to drive your day.” username=”SusieBarolo”] It sends a quiet message to your inner warrior that your needs don’t matter as much as others.

cell free, phone, addicted to phoneAny activity that you haven’t consciously chosen to do negatively impacts your day, and your confidence. When I do check my email before I’ve begun my day, I get sidetracked and help others with their priorities before I’ve attacked my priorities. This increases my feeling of overwhelm and busy-ness. When I wait to check my emails, not only do I feel calmer because I get done what needs to get done in my day but even better, I usually find strings of emails with the problem already solved. Remind yourself of this: The more I email, the more email I generate. Checking email more frequently doesn’t make your email go away. In fact, it’s the opposite. The less you check, the less you have to do. It’s best to sit down and check email at a certain time for a chunk of time (versus toggling back and forth). Same goes for Facebook or Instagram. Choose to look at your feed one time a day and that’s it. Remove the option to check in numerous times a day. FB developers have studied how to addict our brain but you can fight back. If you’re used to checking your email and social media feeds multiple times a day, limit yourself to checking email twice a day and your social media once a day. and see what happens. Every single mom who’s done this comes back to me saying it’s made a fundamental change in her day, her attention span, and the overall time she spends on her phone/computer. The more we email, the more we email. The less we email, the less we email. It’s that simple. Things still get done. The Facebook feed will still be there. Problems still get solved. It’s up to you to decide how much of a role you want it to play in your life. You know what you need to get done and you know when you’re letting yourself down by not doing it.

Checking email more frequently doesn’t make email go away. The more I email, the more email I generate.

6) Sleep

Happy moms prioritize their sleep. This doesn’t mean that every day is an 8 hour, uninterrupted sleep night but it does mean that they are aware of  the benefits of sleep (beyond just not feeling like a zombie the next day) and they take steps to protect their sleep. As recently as 3 years ago, I used to aim for 6 hours of sleep. I’d consider 6 hours a successful night. I can tell you with absolute certainty that my ability to manage my moods, pay attention to my thoughts, and experience less brain fog, significantly increased once I committed to getting 8 hours of sleep. This is not easy yet I do it most nights.

Pause for a second and listen in to what you’re telling yourself. Your brain is probably looking for the out, the reason why Susie has it easy. Why she can do this but you certainly can not. BS. I’m not some special unicorn. I am the main breadwinner in my family, I have a full business schedule and then have teenagers at home who have daily needs.

So how do I get my sleep in? I’ll tell you what I don’t do. I don’t spend my sleep time watching TV or scrolling facebook. I don’t bring my phone in my room (I would be tempted). I don’t put off the major things that need to get done in a day so that it’s 9 PM and they aren’t done. I consciously and consistently schedule my days so that I am winding down in the 9 PM hour. I voice my expectations with my sons in terms of their nighttime routine and the noise in the house.

Bottom line: I make it happen and I know you can too. Ask yourself why you aren’t getting your sleep now? Those excuses are a great place to start. As you know, your thoughts create your emotions which drive your action. If you’re telling yourself you can’t, you can’t. Choose to tell yourself something else. 

What do you think warrior? Of those 6 things, which do you already do? Which are you close to? Are there any you might want to tackle in the new year?

Want to do it faster? See if the Love Your Life School is open for enrollment. I have set up that community and campus to be a place where goals are achieved and happiness habits are practiced!

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