My social media newsfeed is full of political posts. Some friends have a strong tie to one party or another, some to a candidate. Each is focusing on the flaws of the other.
They post memes making fun of the candidates downfalls, they point out where their words are incongruent with their actions and they look for ways to punch holes in every possible outcome of success for either candidate.
It’s exhausting and sometimes hard to stay above the fray. It made me start thinking about how we lead ourselves in our own lives.
If we were running for president, would we vote for us?
If you take a look back over the past year, past five years or even past ten, would YOU count you in for making your life great again for the next four?
What’s your current stance on health care in your home? Are you doing things every day that can improve the state of the health for yourself and your family?
Food is most often seen as a way to increase your health and your waistline but look beyond your diet. There are small ways to increase your health in other areas, they don’t take a lot of effort to begin and can have an incredible impact over time.
When we sit all day at our desks hunched over computers, we begin to develop back problems, muscle stiffness and our metabolism slows now. It’s the ‘new smoking’ and it can wreck havoc on our live.
Studies show that if you sit 8 hours a day, you are 40% more likely to die prematurely than someone who only sits 3 hours a day. Your risk of cardiovascular disease, some cancers and diabetes are increased.
For many of us, we have no choice. Our work dictates that we sit and work at our desks, but there are steps you can take. Set a timer and stand up for five minutes every hour. If you have the opportunity to stand while working, try to rotate during the day. Use either a specifically designed desk or by propping your laptop up to a comfortable height with books or a box while you work. This small shift of even five extra minutes each hour gives you an additional forty minutes of standing time a day. Over a week that’s close to three and a half hours. Not such a small thing now, is it?!
You’ve already heard the benefits of giving up soft drinks but you just can’t seem to stick with it. What if you gave up just the last few ounces in your can once a day? Those few ounces over a month could equate to 7 less soft drinks a month without you probably noticing.
Be creative with making small shifts in your health and you’ll be leading the polls on health care in your own life.
Living busy lives mean that many of us tend to do the friendly nod at neighbors and head inside our homes. We don’t take the time to get to know others outside of our immediate circle. This tends to limit our thinking and exposure to ideas that are different from ours.
Spending time outside, in our yards, or in common areas gives us the opportunity to interact with our neighbors. Sharing a note or bringing food to a new neighbor is a small way to be welcoming. Benjamin Franklin said that doing something for someone else actually encourages us to do more for that person because it causes us to like them! One small outreach may lead to more, expanding your circle and creating a warmer environment around you.
Think of ways in your day where you can try and meet one new person and strike up a conversation. Steer clear of conversations about the weather and ask something that will help you learn more about them. Asking if you’re having a good day can lead to, ‘what’s been the best part? Anything good?’ Who knows what they will share that can impact your life too. One new person a day may give you a whole new circle of influence by months end.
Living a life that is full and big includes sharing the experience with others.
If you are out of school, are you continuing to learn and try new things? Do you expose yourself to new ideas and remain open to hearing both sides of an argument before you decide what is the right path for your life?
Reading is a great way to get exposure to new ideas and learn more, but many of us feel like we just don’t have the time. We understand the importance, and reading sounds like a great idea, but where could we possibly fit it in?
The power of starting small works so well here. Find a book that really interests you on a topic you’ve been wanting to learn about. Before bed, commit to reading one page. Just one! One becomes 7 over the course of a week and within just a few months, you could read an entire book. Over the year, that’s about six new books you could consume with only that small change to your day. Allowing your eyes a rest from the blue light of technology does great things for your sleep cycle too.
Where else can you add learning into your day with a small shift? Try listening to podcasts in the car and audio books while you clean the house. These small shifts can help create a never-ending cycle of growth and new ideas.
Do you tell the truth? Every day? According to a 2002 study at the University of Massachusetts, 60% of adults can’t have a ten-minute conversation without lying. And the people in the study had no idea they were doing it! So why are we so shocked when politicians do it?
We do it to appear friendlier, funnier and more likable and every once in a while, we lie about more sustainable things. So if most of our lies are innocent, why should we stop?
Lying increases our stress levels, even if we do it unconsciously. And stress can lead to all sorts of health and emotional problems. Being truthful gives us self-confidence and life gets better when we feel good about ourselves.
Start small to catch yourself before you tell a fib. Slow down in your conversations. Look over that email before you send it. Consider your groups of friends and why you may be sharing an untruth.
If we expect it from our politicians, shouldn’t we also expect it in our own lives?
Gandhi challenged us that “if we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.” So maybe we turn our gaze from the candidates for just a moment and look at our own lives. “A man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”
It doesn’t take an act of congress to start working on your own campaign at home. Start small, with tiny shifts and you can begin living a very big life.