Simple truths to get me through the year

simple truths

Years ago I read the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. In it, she made two lists of statements, of truths, that she lived by. She called them the "Twelve Commandments" and the "Secrets of Adulthood." They contained things like, "Be Gretchen", "Enjoy the process", and "Bring a sweater." These lists felt really important to me, so ever since then, I've been compiling my own lists of learnings to remind myself of what works in life, and what doesn't. I posted a list of things learned in 2014 here. Today I went through my list from 2015 and pulled out the best ones. These are simple things that, when I remember to use them, can make either a small or a monumental difference. Hopefully you find something useful here as well.

  • Don't check email or go on social media before 8am. I have learned that I am very susceptible to negativity and stress early in the morning. All it takes is an Instagram post of someone's success, or an email that makes me uneasy to throw off my day. With this rule, I'm able to wake up and hopefully accomplish something before I let the rest of the world into my head.
  • Projects only seem scary until I start working on them. Then things start to fall into place. Reaching out to strangers is scary until I do it. Then it's exhilarating.
  • Checking scary things off the list gives me a huge surge of energy and confidence. Working through resistance gives me strength and energy for other projects.
  • Staring at clouds or the sky helps me think bigger than myself. When I get stuck in my head the world shrinks down to just me and my problems. Looking at an expanse of sky (being up high really helps too) helps me open up.
  • Sometimes I need to show my community that they can help.
  • Instead of thinking, 'what did I do wrong', think 'what can I do better?' It's a subtle shift but it can make a huge difference.
  • Focus expands time, while bouncing from task to task shrinks it.
  • Strangers like helping. It makes them feel good.
  • The way I say it is often more important than what I say.
  • Making strangers laugh feels amazing.
  • I have more fire in me than I think I do. My acupuncturist said this to me during a session and I nearly burst into tears. I've always been a quiet, gentle sort of person, but I definitely have a fiery side. And it needs to be expressed.
  • When feeling envious, think about how that person did what they did and how can I get to that feeling. Ask them how they did it.
  • I need to remember that living the life I dream of will never be easy. I need to embrace the uphill climb and stop to take in the view now and then.
  • Focus on any good feeling, no matter how small, so that it can grow.
  • In the night roll over more slowly and gently. I tend to not sleep very restfully. I talk in my sleep, I have stressful dreams, and I wake up and move around a lot. I often wake up after 8 hours feeling like I barely slept. But I've noticed that when I'm awake in the middle of the night, if I roll over gently instead of thrashing around with frustration, I feel calmer and I sleep better afterwards. I've also started telling myself it's okay when I wake up instead of worrying about not getting sleep. It seems to work.
  • Christmas break is not the time to try to get work done. This was the second year I made the mistake of trying to fit in a ton of work over the break. I had eleven days so I figured I would get so much done. But between all the socializing with family and friends, the late nights and week-long hangover, and the fun activities like skating, snowboarding, and watching Star Wars, there was very little time left for working. I need to designate this period a fun and rest break only.
  • When a to do list seems overwhelming, break it up into days and priorities. Then I only have a few things to think about each day.
  • Just because I wake up feeling bad doesn't mean I have to spend the whole day feeling bad.
  • Watch when I'm saying to myself, 'I don't want to' or 'I can't' and see if it's true.
  • If I think I don't want to do the dishes, think about how much less I want to wake up to a messy kitchen.
  • Prioritize to dos so I don't get stuck wondering what I should to or arbitrarily putting stuff on the list.
  • Going for a walk on my lunch break, even when it's really cold, relaxes and energizes me.
  • There comes a time when I have to stop considering all my options and just get the work done. Done is better than perfect.
  • The only way to feel space is to be in the present moment.
  • Journalling and checking in on Sundays makes a huge difference on Mondays.
  • When something is really bothering me, I need to talk about it. And not in a casual, offhand way. I need to make space for a real, honest conversation. I want my friends to come to me when they're struggling with something. But so often I don't go to them, even though just telling them what I'm dealing with can help so much.
  • I need less food than I think I do. After growing too big for some of my favourite skirts and dresses, I decided to look at my portion sizes, which have been getting out of control in the last couple of years. I realized that many times, half of what I would normally eat is enough to fill me up and give me the energy I need. Now I (mostly) eat until I'm full and I'm back down to my normal size.
  • The only way to get over a cold is to sleep a ridiculous amount, and neti pot twice a day. I had a couple of colds this year and each time I abided by these rules I got better really quickly.
  • Even though the world sometimes feels small, it's really big.

What simple truths have you learned that help you get through your days? Leave a comment below!