It seems like an easy enough question. But you know what, most of us don’t think about the behaviors that help us have our best days. We feel good while they last, but we don’t really know how we can replicate them.
Some of us don’t even give ourselves fully to the good days and go to bed with a silent dread that tomorrow will bring misery or bad news. You’ll be surprised how often people say “I knew it won’t last” or “It was too good to be true” when something bad happens.
Living life at the mercy of external events is far from what autonomy is all about. We all want to feel we’re the author of our own life and living it at its best. We all want lives that make us feel productive, energized and in control. Its part of how we’re wired and what we seek.
But unless we pay attention to what helps us do so, we won’t be able to steer our lives in the direction we want.
So take a moment to think of some of your best days.
What behaviors were you engaging in? What were you doing that was helping you be productive, or happy, or feeling alive? Make a list of them all.
Identify the 3 or 4 behaviors that were having the greatest impact. It may have been eating on time, or taking regular breaks, or playing with your child…
How can you do them on a consistent basis? What daily habits will you build? What challenges may come up? And what will you do if they do?
It’s true that things won’t always go as planned. You may do everything possible, and still things will happen that are outside of your control. That’s because we don’t live in vacuum-sealed bubbles – and life events, other people’s moods and behaviors, and a hundred big and little things are forever rubbing against us, especially us women given the many roles we play.
But what I’ve found is that when we consistently engage is behaviors that fuel us, we stand the best chance we have of managing whatever life throws our way with as much grace as possible.
I used to get really worked up when my children had their much too normal share of sibling squabbles. And I would end up pulling my hair out because all my pleas, lectures and consequences fell onto deaf ears.
But when I looked at my best days, I figured out that they were the ones when I slept well, took regular breaks and ate at regular intervals. And I found that doing so helped me take their arguments in stride and keep their emotional temperature from heating up my own.
So again, look at what these behaviors are for you. And then include them in your everyday so you are the captain of your life – as much as is humanly possible.