Booking under: Keith
“Work hard. Play harder.” Those are words that I’ve always wanted to live by. And based on my commitments this month, I had the excuse to at least play as hard as I worked. My commitments were to:
- Find more fun – do favorite activities 3 times a week
- Go off the beaten path – take a lunch time walk to a new place once a week
- Interrupt negative thoughts – whenever they appear
So how did I do? Well…
1. Find more fun
Honestly, I almost felt a little guilty practicing this one. After all, when I’m home after a grueling day of work, you can bet I’m up for something a little more fun! For me, the challenge was instead to balance having fun with my other responsibilities. Tax season is here, so I have to sit down again with the good old tax form – and it’s just about as fun as you would have when you’re forced to hang out with someone you haven’t seen in a year. Besides that, a couple of other personal to-do’s ensured I wasn’t simply kicking back after work.
However, I discovered just how important it is to squeeze in some fun when I have the time. I managed to do a little bit of reading before bedtime and, to prep myself for the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse, found two evenings on which to revisit the previous installments of the trilogy – X-Men: First Class (one of my top three superhero/comic book movies) and X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Finding time to find fun has been great. As you would expect, it allowed me to take my mind away from all the work that awaits me the next morning. I also enjoyed being taken on a mental journey by the book I’m reading/the film I’m watching. And while having fun didn’t eliminate the other tasks I had to get done, it at least gave me more freshness to take them on. Here’s to keeping this commitment going!
2. Go off the beaten path
I was surprised by how this was harder to keep than I thought. Being a creature of habit, I enjoy going to the same few places for my lunch time walks – I suspect it’s the sense of familiarity and comfort that I get from visiting places I know.
But to be honest, it was fun to go in a new direction once a week and explore something new during my walk. Whether it’s taking a quick detour through the wet market or going to a new ATM, I enjoyed seeing new and being able to just observe other people go about their lives (in an un-creepy way. I hope). I also noticed myself being a little more alert, since going to a new place required me to keep track of where I was and how to get back to the office. I suspect a little bit of that alertness may have carried over to my afternoon work, and the results are definitely good.
3. Interrupt negative thoughts
I’ll be the first to confess it: this was tough. Having recently implemented a new work stream and now in the midst of the first batch of deliverables, I often found myself thinking “crap, how do I solve this?”. I wasn’t very good at reminding myself to be positive and it would take a while before I allowed myself to relax and gather my thoughts. This is clearly an area I need to work on, and I hope to practice this until it becomes second nature. Until then, I’ll mark this one as “work in progress”!
From Last Month
Looking back, last month had some interesting overlaps with this month. Re-framing a particular choice by deciding it is enjoyable is a lot like interrupting negative thoughts. I have made small improvements here but, as mentioned above, am far from done. Acknowledge the reality of people’s feelings was quite easy to keep. I find that this is because reacting to other’s feelings requires to pause and listen first. Perhaps if I took a moment to pause before reacting to tasks and tough situations, I’ll be able to react more positively too. As for taking time for experiences that will leave happy memories, I’m happy to report that Nicole and I have been doing well on that front. We recently checked out some nice cafes and museums near my place and will be running our first 10K race together this weekend! Dead legs aside, I know it will be a source of great memories 🙂
And that’s it for me this month. If anything, my biggest takeaways are that having a positive attitude really makes all the difference, and taking a moment to pause before reacting could be the key between staying positive and turning negative. I’ve kept two of my three commitments well, and will continue to work on them in the coming weeks and months. Thanks for tuning in this week and I hope you’re excited for Nicole’s piece next week! How do you stay positive and find fun? We’d love to hear you at firstname.lastname@example.org!