Shifting Your Thinking for a Better Life

We’re one week into 2017 and boy, has it not been what I expected. New Year’s Day, I woke up to a sick baby, who was congested and uncomfortable. When his symptoms worsened, we ended up at the doctor. He tested positive for RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) and developed bronchiolitis a few days later. As I write this, today is day nine of sitting in the bedroom all day with the humidifier running, doing breathing treatments and nasal suctions, a sick baby and now a sick mama. While it would be enough to make anyone at any time go stir crazy, it has been especially tough because I was ready to give my resolutions my all. I was so amped to work out and meal plan and even clean my house! But what started out as me being confined to our room for a sick baby has turned into me having to be confined for my own health, so it was all pretty much out of the question. 

The absolute most important thing that has come out of this time is my son’s health. He’s on the upswing, which is an incredible relief. But today, I also had a realization that has taught me something valuable. I sent my husband a text that said, “I really want to clean today but I know that I need to do nothing.” I probably sent him a dozen texts over the course of this week filled with similar thoughts. For some reason today, after sending that text, my thought process was different. Okay, I have to take care of myself and rest. What might I enjoy doing that would accomplish that? Gosh, I haven’t soaked in a hot tub since before I was pregnant. That sounds wonderful. And that’s when it occurred to me. Why can’t we make the things we want to do and the things we need to do the same thing?

I know that my example of the hot bath is an easy one. I needed to pamper myself. Woe is me. I’m not saying that it’s going to be easy to blend the want and the need. However, if you’re on a journey of self-improvement, like I am, then learning to want what you need will be life-changing. It will be good for both your physical and emotional health. I think that for a lot of us, the hardest part will be figuring out what we need. For some of us that’s because we’ve gotten so used to putting other people first that our behaviors are rarely ever very selfish. For others, life has become a series of actions without real purpose. Really listening to your body is a skill and if your goals include good health or emotional stability then knowing what it needs is really important.

If you’re wanting more practical application let’s look at other examples. You really want dessert after dinner, but what you need is to fuel your body. Look for a recipe that does both, like this one or this one! Or let’s say that you need to get some exercise, but all you want to do is go catch up with your friend. Make plans to have her meet you at the mall and walk around for an hour while you shoot the breeze.

While these couple of examples are more like quick fixes, the ultimate goal really should be to want what you need. I feel like it’s so engrained in our minds that what we need is a chore and what we want is a treat. I genuinely believe there is a way to blend them. The truth of the matter is that this is going to likely require an entire shift in your thought process. Mine shifted yesterday. It won’t be easy. However, imagine spending every day doing things that are not only good for you and improve who are, but that also bring you joy. I believe it’s possible. So let’s stop imagining and execute. My first step was a bubble bath. What will yours be?

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