Making the Commitment to Live Life.

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An incredible skill that I have learned in recovery is commitment.

If you have had some trouble making positive commitments in your life, then stick around and read this.

My Troubles With Commitment.

Throughout my life I had a terribly difficult time committing to much of anything. When I did commit to something, I looked good out of the gates. Over time though my commitment quickly descended into oblivion. Addiction had a grip on me for way too long. The only thing I really could commit myself to was numbing pain with chemicals. By the time I used for my last time, even my commitment to using disappeared, thank god…

Of course, I don’t really call the actions taken while in active addiction, my own personal commitment. I didn’t feel in charge of that process. I was more like a crazed squirrel, foraging to gather enough nuts to make sure it doesn’t starve during the winter. It was pure instinct. Pure instinct to protect me from the perceived danger of coming down. Insane or not, my brain was doing its best to protect me.

In fact, the way I ended up getting clean was because my family contacted Social Services, they worked out the process of terminating my rights to do anything but go to treatment for one year.

I was insane. They all knew it. Though it took some time to realize how crazy I actually was.

Help Commitment

Thankfully someone else made that commitment when I couldn’t do it for myself.

It wasn’t until I began waking up from my fog in treatment and at recovery meetings that I began making the decisions that would lay the groundwork for making positive commitments.

The Turnaround for Commitment In My Life.

During my time in treatment I realized that even though I was under state commitment, I needed to make this recovery and my life my own. So, when they said I needed to go to 2 recovery meetings a week, I decided to go to one pretty much every day. And when I had to earn points to go outside by doing homework, you better believe I was all over that.

I went above and beyond, to show MYSELF that this was mine. That this is my life and I am choosing to live. And that I am not being forced to.

This is the type of mentality that has helped me to have the last almost 10 years clean! As well as accomplishing many lifelong dreams like being happily married, becoming a father, graduating college and owning a home.

The level of commitment I have for life has grown immensely over the years. And the stakes have gotten remarkably higher. Even though the stakes are higher, the process of achieving goals stays the same.  Plus, I don’t get to relax just because I have achieved a lot in the last 10 years.

Commitment to Dream

Being All-in With Commitment.

My brain needs excitement. And to feel like I am living MY OWN life, I need to live above and beyond my current situation, while working hard in my current situation.

This is how a mind stays connected to building a great future reality, letting MYSELF know, my RELATIONSHIPS know, and even LIFE ITSELF know that I am ALL-IN. When we show that we are ALL-IN with our commitments, the amount of blessings come into my world is tremendous!

Life can be amazing, not so damn boring. This takes effort though and consistent reminders to keep moving.

If you are struggling with feeling like your living your own life today, you have some decisions to make. Right here and right now you can make the decision to make your life more of your own!

It’s not like anyone else can do this for us…

In our next article we will discuss living life on default. Which  is neglecting to make enough positive commitment with our lives. Living on default has horribly negative effects. I will talk about them, then lay out some important guidelines for staying off default mode and finding a life worth living.

Thank you so much for stopping by, if you enjoyed this article we would love for you to do a few things for us.
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Much Love,
Travis H

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Hello, we are Travis and Casey Hagen the writer’s and owner’s of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds to find healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. There is plenty for us to share with you about finding better ways to live. So please follow us on our journey as we share what we know, and continue to share as we invitably learn more.

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Pushing positive energy through the negative.

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I am a strong believer in the law of attraction! I have also experienced how it works in my life.

When I put out positive energy I am met back with that same energy. Just the same as if I am putting out negative energy that is what I receive back. This has been a great thing for me to implement in my life and it ALWAYS works.

Lately even though I know it works, I have had an extremely difficult time putting out that positive energy, which is not something that you do just once at the beginning of the day. Rather, it is something that you continue to do throughout your entire day. That, or it simply will not be effective!

It has been very difficult to follow through on staying positive, as of late. I begin my day by thinking positively and feeling love for what’s to come, but when that first negative thought or feeling comes it can be easy to let it hijack my whole day.

One area that is hugely impacted is at work. I work at Costco, which I normally love, and I interact with people my entire shift.

I am sure everyone can relate to shopping and ending up with that crabby cashier which can put a damper on your whole experience! I never thought that I was the crabby cashier. Well, it turns out that I am more that person lately than I thought.

When one unreasonable customer begins pushing my buttons they no doubt are feeling my “stabby eyes”, as my husband calls them. If just one of these customers comes around I can have a drastic personality change! And it will make it more likely that others after them will feel my wrath.

I am generally an upbeat and friendly person who never minds striking up conversation with those who come through my line. I smile and laugh with others and love to help cheer people up. Currently I am none of those things which has got me a bit down.

It’s not that I don’t want to be grateful, because trust me I do. I think that with all the changes that have come with being pregnant and being off one of my medications, that it has become a lot harder to manifest the positivity that I once had. This only increases fear and anxiety in my life.

I find it important to see exactly how this is affecting my everyday life. Gaining perspective on this is what drives me to make changes. What I know is that this issue has stopped me from fully being myself, leaving me feeling irritated and angry.

I am done hindering myself from having a great day. I am also done preventing myself from seeing all the positive things that are going on around me!

Although I am not trying to do it intentionally, I am making things harder for those I am working with. Ultimately, I am making it hard for anyone who encounters the negative energy I am fostering. This includes my family, friends, and even my cats!

positive.jpg

In my last post I mentioned how I would focus on bringing more gratitude into my life. This is something that can help me to attract positive energy, and not keep my day hijacked by the negative in my own head! Here are a few ways I have been able to do this!

1. Stop and list things I am grateful for in my head- This acts like a timeout if you will. Doing this at work helps to turn my mood around, even if for a few minutes.

2. I have a symbol to help remind me to be grateful- I picked this up from “The Power by: Rhonda Byrne.” I picked something that I love. Every time I see a turtle I stop and really invoke feeling of gratitude and love in my life. I see it in jewelry,on t-shirts, kid’s toys, and more. “Affiliate Link Below”

3. I take a moment to breathe- This allows me to slow down and relax a little. When this happens, I can focus on feelings of gratitude, and get back to my friendlier personality.

4. Putting myself in others shoes- At work I have found it helpful to think about how coworkers might be affected by my energy. I know that when I work with someone who is constantly negative it can take a toll on my mood and sometimes I find myself feeling negative right along with them.

5. Thinking helpful thoughts- When I can get outside of my head and think of helping others, that can keep me from treating them badly. Thinking of helping others has helped me to stop the negative thoughts and start thinking positive thoughts. Then I am able to laugh with and not criticize, to smile at and not scowl, and to love and not hate.

Each of these things helps me to incorporate more positive energy into my day, which is something that I really need right now. Actively practicing this is what makes for a good day and I become someone that others want to be around.

Well that is all I have for now! Thanks for taking a moment of your day to read this! Feel free to share if you found this to be helpful.

Also, look over to the sidebar and sign up to My Life Experiment’s email list to receive our free Therapeutic Writing Guide, and to receive My Life Experiment blog directly to you email!

I hope you have a great day!

 

positive.jpg

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Hello, we are Travis and Casey Hagen the writer’s and owner’s of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds to find healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. There is plenty for us to share with you about finding better ways to live. So please follow us on our journey as we share what we know, and continue to share as we invitably learn more.

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Relationships : About Contribution, Not Management.

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In this article are touching on the principle of contribution in relationships. This is a tremendously important aspect of keeping relationships healthy.

The writers of My Life Experiment are a married couple, myself and my wife Casey. We come from similar life paths, in that we have lived through the pain of addiction. And that we both found and have thrived in recovery from addiction. More often than not have been strongly supportive contributions to the fulfillment of each other’s ambitions. Through the duration of our relationship we have come to understand how important the principle of contribution is to relationship growth.

What is Healthy Relationship Contribution.

To contribute is to give. To give what? Well to enhance the healthy aspects of our relationships, we give what will benefit the growth of these healthy aspects. The contribution could be time, money, words of inspiration, honesty about hurt feelings, or anything else that is done in a spirit of goodwill for the relationship.

Contributing to the health of a relationship is about building the relationship up, rather than tearing it down. We can give a great deal of our anger to a close relationship of ours, this is also a contribution. But it is a contribution that will not lead to or enhance a long term healthy relationship.

 

Dock photo

What has worked so well in Casey and I’s relationship is that we have our own personalities, our own friends, and our own recoveries. I don’t feel the need to attempt to micromanage Casey’s life, and Casey has been able to do the same for me. Thank god!

We are able to have all of these things be separate, but still come together on enough things so that our relationship isn’t left to be too needy.

I don’t know about you, but I can get the feeling of suffocation quickly in any relationship. Without necessary space I am likely to freak out. I tend to be a bit of an introvert as I discussed a couple of posts back. That and I have had ample problems with other people’s expectations, and with those I perceive to be authority figures.

I remember one time when I was cleaning the fridge back at our old apartment. As I was cleaning, Casey walked by and said “Great job babe” or something similar. My immediate response was “you’re not my manager.” It was pretty funny to me, but I think it took Casey a little for bit for her to have the same sentiment for the comment.

Just so you know, I don’t believe my wife is my manager.

I have given ample thought to this situation and here is what I am concluding. Some unresolved stuff in me thought that she was trying to condition my behavior… So, I revolted!

I imagine this feeling is common place in relationships that require this amount of time to be spent together. Or maybe I am just justifying my behavior.

Despite occasional revolts from feelings of being controlled, thankfully Casey and I have worked well together! But it isn’t controlling each other that has helped our lives together grow so rapidly.

We certainly push each other, encourage each other, and compliment each other! We understand that in order to have a happy relationship, we need to change, grow, and find success in new territories.

Casey knows that my success is her success, and my clean fridge is her clean fridge. And most of the time, I stay reminded of the very same thing!

Team Players!

We understand that we are a team. We realize that the team needs the fridge to be cleaned, the litter boxes to be emptied, the dishes to be done, and so on and so forth with the never ending list of responsibilities there are to take care of.

Even though sometimes innocent comments about my cleaning performance can be viewed as attempts to condition my behavior, it doesn’t really matter because that is all part of the process.

To be in a healthy, intimate relationship, we must allow the other person to leave their mark on us. They need to know that their needs, are needs that not only they care about.

Now does it really matter that compliments may be a great way to make it more likely that someone will behave the way I would like them to? When it comes to having a healthy relationship, of course not!

Casey isn’t making me be in my marriage, nobody is making me show up to weekly baby appointments, and cleaning the litter box. Nobody is forcing Casey to make any contribution to My Life Experiment blog, or any of the thousand contributions she has made to my life.

We choose to be in this relationship. And we choose to make it a healthy one. Both individually and mutually making contributions to each other!

A big reason I have been able to keep my end of this relationship healthy is because I have kept my own mental and emotional health in check. This has come from me showing up for my personal recovery.

Another great tool I have is the Therapeutic Writing Guidelines we have developed. This writing process has made huge contribution after huge contribution to my recovery. If you would like to obtain a printable copy, go ahead and join My Life Experiment’s email list on the side bar! You will get a printable Therapeutic Writing Guide, as well as receive our new blog posts directly to your email.

Thank you very much for stopping in to My Life Experiment once again or for the first time. We appreciate you all for supporting this family endeavor!

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Hello, we are Travis and Casey Hagen the writer’s and owner’s of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds to find healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. There is plenty for us to share with you about finding better ways to live. So please follow us on our journey as we share what we know, and continue to share as we invitably learn more.

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Leadership with Healthy Expectations.

For as long as there have been leaders, the argument for how they have been made has probably been going on.

The argument goes like this. Are leaders born, or are they made.

Over the last 9 years I have come to terms that I am and probably always will be a leader.

Leaders inspire. Leaders push for movement towards shared goals. Leaders also make sure their expectations for what needs to be done are expressed to everyone involved with the relationship.

follow me

In order to make expectations for relationships I am a leader for healthy, I can clearly see some things that need to be in place:

1. Relationship Development- When I have managed at my job, people have needed to do what was expected in order to receive a paycheck and receive good reports. But most of the areas I lead in do not have a monetary reward for meeting expectation. To get people on board with my expectations, I need to develop rapport with them. And I need to give them a damn good reason to want to build something with me. Just berating people with my expectations without a mutual and enjoyable relationship, means that these people will probably tell me where to go (and for good reason)!

2. Reasonable Expectation- What I mean by this is that I need to get a gauge for what people can perform. I believe that this requires me to study people’s behavior, also setting a high bar for initial performance. Setting the bar higher at first can give me a gauge for how much someone can do and cannot. If I set the bar too low I may never get to know what someone is capable of doing.

3. Effective Communication- I know that if expectations are to be healthy, they need to be communicated. People need to know what I need from them. If I don’t communicate the expectations, I am probably going to assume these people know what I want. Then I will be frustrated when these people are not meeting my expectations. Even though these people never even knew what I was expecting in the first place!

4. Consistent Evaluation- When individuals have accepted my expectations for their performance, for whatever reason, I need to let them know what I think about their performance. I need to show them my gratitude for meeting expectation, I need to show my dissatisfaction for performance not being met. I have also found that when I am expressing my frustration, I need to do it in a way that respects the individual.

5. Continued Support- To me it is not enough to simply express what the expectations are and to give reports on whether they have been met or not. I also need to let people know that I have their backs. People that I am in a leadership role with need to know that I am willing to do whatever it is that I expect from them. And if I am not skilled enough to do what needs to be done, I need to be willing to help find someone who can.

Now BELIEVE ME… Being able to write this list has come from struggle. I have pushed on people too hard without having a solid relationship in place and pissed them off too much. I have expected too little from people and watched them get bored. I have assumed too much, I have expressed too little. I have neglected to practice what I preach.

I don’t say this to guilt myself, I say this because this is My Life Experiment! It is only by experimenting with life, and examining the results of my actions thoroughly, that I have learned the skills I have.

In the article about Hustling to Maintain my Sanity I talked about all the things I need to do to maintain my sanity so that I don’t fall into my old way of life. Being a leader is just another one of these things I must do.

I have also found that when this leader does not lead, stress builds, and so do the tendencies toward depression and anxiety. But when this leader does lead, I find that a natural skill comes out that has positive effects for helping any relationship I am a part of, find consistent growth.

I know a lot of people may argue that leaders are simply born, they are not grown. I believe that line of thinking is pure rubbish. I believe that if individuals truly desire to learn the skills that are involved with being a successful leader, that they can do so!

Sure, I do believe that some people may be more geared toward being leaders than others. I also don’t know where this tendency came from for me. Was I born with it? Or was it something I developed when I was navigating a world as an insane man that could not stop using mind altering substances?

Whatever the case may be, this trait is a part of my personality now. And as much as I would like to remove the leadership trait at times, I cannot.

I don’t always appreciate that one of my first tendencies is to nudge people into new territory and place expectations on them. But I at least have been learning how to get the most out of the leadership quality, and have been honing how to have, communicate, and get positive growth out of the expectations I am developing for people today.

I wish you well on your path of learning how to lea with healthy expectations. And thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment today. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us.
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Allowing Expectations for Our Success.

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There are Necessary Expectations

To have all the things we desire most, means hard work. It also means putting ourselves in the position to have other people help us. As well as allowing them to increase the amount of expectation they have for our performance.

Let’s face it, if people around us aren’t expecting much, this is a life snuffing ordeal. If people are not expecting much, then what kind of motivation will we get from them? Probably not much.

But I suppose this is only for the type of life I desire to live. Some may appreciate a life with as few expectations on them as possible. I have before as well, and still do often. I have also found out that the ambition coursing through my veins will not allow me to be comfortable with a life of low expectations.

Don’t get me wrong though, most of the time when realizing someone is expecting something challenging of me, I do have that initial thought of “who in the hell do you think you are.” Our initial tend to keep us engaged in mindsets and behaviors that resist change. So, when someone recommends we do something that challenges our mindset, a defense mechanism coming up is pretty normal.

resist man.jpg

Reactions to Expectations.

I tend to resort defenses like over-intellectualizing or sarcastic humor to try to avoid allowing the advice they may be trying to impart into my skull. I get the feeling I reactively avoid the advice because if I allow them to see it make sense to me, then they may EXPECT me to follow through. I don’t know about you, but I am not a fan of feeling that someone is trying to control me.

I laugh there because there is nothing about allowing the other persons advice to be logical, that says I need to do what they said. Let alone have it “Control” me. But I might need to do what they preach if I am going to receive the results in life that I desire!

I don’t know what it is in my brain that has me believing that if other people expect something from me, that they have some sort of control over me. But I am guessing that I am not alone. The truth is that there are so many people that know a ton more about every subject available, than ourselves alone. And if we want what they have to offer, we are going to be able to allow them to influence us.

We need to allow them to expect some things of us and allow them to let us know when we am not meeting those expectations. This can be a very hard pill to swallow. Let’s look at some ways that we can help this pill go down a little more smoothly.

9 Habits for Allowing my Relationships to Have Healthy Expectations for me.

1. Stay on top of my decision making.

I find that it is easier to allow people to help me when I am consistently making the decisions I need to make. I tend to feel people are trying to control me more, when I am not feeling in control of my daily affairs.

2. Find Challenging People.

I find it important to have people around me that will help push me to be my most productive self. By having people that will help me actualize my goals instead of push their own on me, has taught me to have healthy relationships.

3. Find out Which challenge style works best for me

Some people may push their expectations for me like drill instructors, and others as gentle as can be. I tend to like a mixture of these, although I get annoyed at both. But if it seems like someone is trying to mother me, that is what I am looking for, the least.

4. Make sure the expectations are healthy.

I desire a healthy life so if the expectations people are having for me are not healthy, then I cannot meet them. I also will not be able to continue the relationship.

5. Follow people that care for me.

When I know that people have my best interests in mind, it definitely makes it easier to let them have expectations for me. Though sometimes these might be the ones I fight back against the most. But also, who’s advice I will likely end up following.

6. Choose credibility.

I find it easier to allow people to have expectations for me if I know they practice what they preach. If someone isn’t willing to follow their own advice they give me, it makes it much more difficult to follow their advice.

7. Stay Reminded of Rewards.

If I am having a hard time allowing someone to have expectation, I can keep myself reminded of why I am seeking advice from them in the first place. I am seeking because I desire something. Whether I am desiring the rewards I will receive from emotional support, business advice, parenting advice or whatever other advice I may seek.

8. Do Our Own Research.

Just because I trust someone doesn’t mean I should just be blindly following their advice. If I have extra questions for them, I ask them. If I need to do further research, then I do that too. If I don’t do my own research, I tend to blame the person I sought to help guide me.

9. Remind myself that its ultimately my decision.

No one makes our decisions for us. Even when we feel like they are. Reminding ourselves that we are not a victims to other people’s guidance, and that we ultimately make the decision ourselves helps a lot.

None of us have all the answers, but other people can help us get at least some more answers. But we need to allow them to challenge our current thinking and allow them to have some expectations for our growth. Their help is vital to growing in our own little worlds, but only we can allow them to help.

Never Stop Learning

That is all we have for today, and thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth. We wish you growth on your path of becoming better at accepting healthy expectations from others. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us.
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Welcome! We are Travis and Casey Hagen, the writer’s and owner’s of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds. Finding healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. We promote Healthy Life Experimentation Principles for connecting with ourselves, our relationships, and finding healthier ways of bringing about success in our lives. Stick around and pick up what we have learned. You will not be disappointed.

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Importance of Breathing Well in Staying on Track!

Good morning “My Life Experiment followers and newbies! You may or may not know that over the last five days I have been partaking an experiment I have dubbed “The Gratitude Intention.” I have been having some great realizations and have been putting together a list of tips on how to maintain a successful gratitude building routine, which I will write about in greater detail in the experiments conclusion article. One aspect in particular is what I want to touch on more deeply this morning!

There has been a constant aspect that has played one of the most important roles in keeping me able to be in a state of gratitude. That is my staying on top of breathing! It might seem a little obvious to some for me to say that breathing is important, but I believe it can be overlooked far too often.

I believe that because of the situations I put my body in for years while experimenting in dangerous ways, that my body tends to easily go into Fight or Flight mode when I am not paying attention to my surroundings. My understanding is that when in Fight or Flight, the body begins to shut down or slow down certain bodily functions so that it is better prepared for the danger it senses. That is whether the threat is real or imagined! So if a thought comes through my head about some “insulting” thing someone said earlier, my brain might take that as a threat to myself in the moment and begin to tense up to get ready to fight or get the hell out of here.

just breathe

There is no staying grateful when stuck in Fight or Flight mode. And it seems the only way to slide myself back into gratitude is to do some breathing to get relaxed. Then I can remind myself that I am safe by thinking about all the things there are to be grateful for. In my constantly changing world and the rough life I lived before recovery, my brain can sense all sorts of threats that have nothing to do with reality! Thankfully I have learned a technique to keep myself on track! None of this is possible if I fail to remind myself to breathe.

Right track

I am truly grateful for this routine and how much the refining of it has taught me about staying in reality and staying grateful. My routine yesterday went very well, all of the different aspects of it were accomplished, but were not necessarily accomplished in there “correct” order. With that I am entirely okay. I spent much of my day paying attention to my breathing and saying I love you to the things that popped in my mind that I appreciate!

I am already on day five and that is pretty awesome! I am excited to go into my day today thinking about how important breathing is to my gratitude routine and basically everything I do. Hopefully I have sparked a it’s importance in your head as well! Well on to my day of living life and building gratitude. I wish you the best and most grateful day you can imagine! I will be back tomorrow to touch on what I notice today, so stay tuned!

 

 

Bibliography:

https://psychcentral.com/lib/fight-flight-or-breathing-right-the-choice-is-yours/

 

“The Gratitude Intention”, Going Strong on Day four!

Good morning folks! Welcome to the fourth day of my gratitude invoking experiment. For those that have been following my journey, welcome back! For those that just found “My Life Experiment” today, I am happy you stopped in! To get up to speed on what this experiment consists of please check out “Stay Woke with the Gratitude Intention.” There are also days one through three to read up on to get the full picture of what has happened during “The Gratitude Intention” so far!

Alright, time to get into how day four went down. In a lot of ways the day four was very similar to the past days I have written about. Though I find it important to write about it and read about it, even though they may look similar there are a lot of little details that are different. I find it important to notice these little details, because sometimes just the slightest detail can bring to light an aspect of the process that is of great importance.

I woke up pretty early on this chilly North Dakota Saturday, but i also had a recovery meeting to attend early this morning. I didn’t get a chance to write my gratitude list of ten things, I got 4 done in kind of a rushed way and I was cool with that. I can have a tendency to follow my routines a little too strictly and be too hard on myself when i don’t follow them “to the T”. But thankfully I have learned that it really doesn’t solve anything to beat myself up over “missing the mark.”. It’s like the dieter that eats a meal that they shouldn’t have (been there). What is best, to badger myself with guilt, or just move on and set my sights on getting back on track? I prefer the second option by a landslide!

stay flexible

My afternoon was geared toward appreciating the things around me. When I was driving around I turned off the music and was very mindful about how great my life is. I was breathing deeply, I was easily letting go of any stress inducing thoughts that arose. Moments like this are truly awesome, no fear, just freedom. I didn’t really find it necessary to stop fully and meditate on the things I was grateful for, since I was already feeling plenty of gratitude. But I did anyway, because that is what I set out to do in the experiment. I realize that even though I am only writing about this experiment short term (I think its temporarily anyway), that if the gratitude routine is beneficial, then I will be continuing it indefinitely. And if I am going to continue it then i better “weld” these steps into my brain so they become habitual!

My night at work went about the same way. Although my focus was more on taking care of the needs of my client than focusing on gratitude. Although when my client went to sleep I did take the opportunity to finish writing up the gratitude list I couldn’t finish earlier. It felt great to finish writing that, it led the way for some emotion to arise, and that is most definitely something I appreciate. Then I went home after work, cleaned out the litter boxes, chatted with my wife for bit, then went to bed. I was able to have a couple of minutes to meditate on the beauty of the day, but before I knew it I was waking up to the alarm.

Once again, thank you for checking out “My Life Experiment!” I appreciate all of you and my hope is for you to have a wonderful day that is full of awareness for the things to be grateful for. We are now over halfway through “The Gratitude Intention,” so my mind is busy thinking of the next experiment to begin. I don’t know what this experiment is yet but I do know it is going to offer me the opportunity to create important changes in my life. If you are interested in what my next life experiment will be please follow “My Life Experiment” and stay in touch!

 

Things to remember:

  • Everyday is different, and routines need flexibility.
  • Its never too late to get back on track.
  • I am trying to create a long-term habit here.

 

 

 

On to Day #2 of “The Gratitude Intention”!

DayTwo

Well everybody, we woke up again today and that is pretty darn good thing. I even woke up with a little energy to get into my gratitude routine! Thanks for checking out My Life Experiment to see what happened on Day two of “The Gratitude Intention.” For those that haven’t seen this blog before and want to be up-to-date on what is going on here then check out “Stay Woke with the Gratitude Intention.”

So yesterday I woke up even earlier than I did the day before at like 7:30 am! Hey, I didn’t have to be awake for another couple of hours so this is a big thing for me! Then I got my coffee going, got the cats fed, got my to-do list done and moved on to my gratitude list. Yesterday I only made it to five things to be grateful for and WHY, today I didn’t quite get to ten, but I did get to eight! I guess ten is going to have to be something I work towards.

Writing the gratitude list felt great once again! I spent a four-year period writing these gratitude lists every day, which I stopped doing about two years ago. Sometimes when I was writing the lists it felt very robotic, and I didn’t get much gratitude out of them some days. It seemed like I kept rushing to do what I needed to do out of necessity, and didn’t “stop to smell the roses” enough. As I get back into this routine I realize that at least part of my mission needs to be about making sure that I am putting some emotion into them, it seems to be the only way I get the FEELING of gratitude out of the writing process! I can sometimes seem like a Stoic and unemotional dude to others, but my history of immobilizing anxiety says there is much more there than meets the eye. The list is a good outlet for the energy.

In the afternoon I did manage to set aside the time to get my 10 minutes of gratitude meditation in! I didn’t lay down for it or anything like that. What I did was simply turn off the radio in the car as I waited for a client to get out of school so that I could take him home. I think it is so important to realize that all it takes to meditate is a little time (which can be very little), some quiet, and the willingness to turn down the go-go-go mindset that is so easy to spend an entire day in. In the last post on day one of the experiment I mentioned that I did not MAKE the time to meditate, but simply spent many different moments to make sure I was breathing well. It felt like a new little accomplishment to get that meditation in, though I did make sure to use what I learned the day before, and tried to do some mindful breathing as much as possible!

It was so nice to remember throughout the day that I am currently in an experiment to see how a routine with the Intention for Gratitude effects my life. Reminding myself that I will be telling a bunch of people about this process kept me paying much more attention to what I was thinking than normal (in a good way). This kept me alerted to times when my thinking began to get me stressed out. Then I just took a couple of breathes, relaxing on the out-breaths, and I pretty easily got back on track.

Fast-forwarding to the end of the night, I did my little ten-minute meditation while laying down in bed. My mind was racing a little bit about some current responsibilities, but I was able to slow it down with breathing and putting focus on the good in my day. Before I knew it, I was sleeping, I assume I made the ten minutes but never the less I went to sleep in a good place!

Of course tomorrow i will be waking up bright and early to get into the routine, and to fill you all in on how today went! If you want to know more, stay tuned. I deeply appreciate the attention you have given “My Life Experiment” and if you have any suggestions or any other type of comments please write them below. Also feel free to share this blog with anyone you know. Thank you for your support!

 

New Things Revealed:

  • I realized that it is highly important to put some energy into my gratitude list to actually FEEL gratitude from writing them.
  • I got a new reminder of how easy it really is to find a time to meditate, even during the middle of a weekday.
  • I seen how simply knowing that I would be telling people about my day, kept me on track to keep myself grateful.

First Day of “The Gratitude Intention”!

Day one

Good morning everyone! So, if you read my last post you may remember that I set the Intention to cultivate gratitude to see if it helps me stay more alert and connected to my life. I decided that for every day of the experiment, I would also make sure to add a blog post the day after (hopefully first thing in the morning), to update any things I am noticing about the process.
Yesterday I spent my first day writing my morning to-do list and gratitude list, and taking time outs for gratitude meditation. I ended up waking a little earlier than normal to write my daily lists, I was somewhat groggy, but brewed up the coffee, fed the cats, and got down to “brass tax”. Generally, I would like to sleep in for as long as I can in the morning, because it feels great! Maybe the other reason is like my wife says, “because we will be parents soon and we won’t be sleeping much anymore!”
While I was writing the lists, I had a familiar feeling but a very good one. First of all let me show you an example of the first gratitude I wrote. “I am truly grateful that I get to wake up in this beautiful new home of ours every morning! I adore living here. As I walk around to our different rooms and see what Casey and I now own, I feel a ton of gratitude. It is such a gift to live here”. Suffice it to say after writing five of these (note that I set out to do 10), I was feeling comfortable and ready to start my day.
You may have noticed that I didn’t end up writing as many things to be grateful for as I set out to do. I am alright with this because even writing just five of them worked very well for me. I also didn’t find the time to take my ten to fifteen minutes to meditate in the afternoon. Although I did find little moments throughout the afternoon to take a few deep breaths, relax, and think about what there is too appreciate! That worked great, but I will be getting to the routine as planned, tomorrow. Though by going off track from the routine I was reminded how powerful taking a couple of good breaths is for getting myself back to the moment!

At the end of my night I got back into the experiment as planned. I laid down, closed my eyes, did some relaxed breathing, and for roughly 15 minutes I allowed the things I appreciated about the day to flow through my mind. It was a great way to end my night. When something came to my mind that felt like it added more pressure to the moment (such as scheduling issues, money issues, etc..), I reminded myself that I would get back to taking care of that issue tomorrow. I ended my day grateful, then dozed off and slept like a baby!

So day one was a positive experience, I seem to be honing my routine still, which is good. Today I am off on the right track and I will tell you more about it tomorrow! Thanks for checking out “My Life Experiment” once again or for the first time! Now here is a recap of some of the benefits I noticed from this process yesterday!

Benefits

-I woke up early just to get my lists done.

-I found myself naturally coming to use my breathing to keep me in the moment.

-I found myself thinking of more ways to be grateful for throughout the day.

-I was generally in a pretty good mood.

-I slept great!

 

Getting Results with the “Compliment Experiment”!

the experiment picture

Welcome back to My Life Experiment! If you are returning to read this blog, you may remember that I decided to partake in a “Compliment Experiment.” If you have not been here before and want to know what I am talking about, please check out the last article “Time to Open Myself Up with the Compliment Experiment” to get filled in. I wrote the “Compliment Experiment” article 5 days ago, that gave me 5 days to focus on giving more and better-quality compliments to people around me.

During the 5 days of the experiment I did find it was easier to compliment others at times, and at other times it just wasn’t going to happen. There were times where I simply could not think about anything else other keeping myself from freaking out (let alone compliment someone)! There were other times where the compliments came out easily, with a smile. As well, a couple of times I worked myself through with a struggle and came out feeling great!

Just yesterday I finally found out that the lady that helped me total my car, in fact, does not have car insurance. After getting that news, I found it very difficult to give any compliments. I was pissed off. Offering pleasantries felt against the grain, but I kept the experiment in mind and started looking for some opportunities to give compliments. I complimented a friend of mine, my wife, and then I just started complimenting myself in my thoughts. What started out as a very difficult emotional state, eventually worked into me feeling great.

In the last article I mentioned the process of saying three positive things after saying something critical about somebody. As I paid attention to myself I found that I critique things pretty much constantly, much of the time out loud to people, but far more often inside of my own skull. It is actually pretty overwhelming to think how often my mind goes for the negative (for whatever reason that is). Pointing out too many “flaws” in people (myself included) doesn’t really lead to very happy relationships! That probably isn’t a shocker to many people, but hey I guess I am a slow learner at times.

 

Compliment picture

I feel that this experiment has helped me see a method for developing more appreciation for any relationship that I am a part of with others, myself, my job or life itself. This experiment did not tell me that I shouldn’t be critiquing any person or thing in my world (since a critique can help see something that needs to be fixed). But it has shown me that if I desire to be a grateful person, with happy relationships, that I better be filling up my relationships with appreciation for the qualities I enjoy.

The experiment also showed me a high-quality method for processing my emotions and keeping myself healthy, growing, and becoming more efficient. As well, it showed me that when I’m alone with myself and talking about myself, that it is just as important to be giving myself enough compliments. Quite often, I am definitely my own worst critic, and that it is much easier to notice the qualities I enjoy in others when I am grounded in the recognition of my own. And last of all, sometimes I am not going to be able to see the good in hardly anything but I don’t have to be too harsh on myself even if I cannot..

Pat on back

Thanks for checking out “My Life Experiment”, I feel that I know myself a little bit better after writing it. And now you probably know me quite a lot better! Now stay tuned because there is always something new to work on, and I look forward to having you read about my next challenge! If you have any questions are insights feel free to leave a comment!