This past week has been one of those weeks, the past month has been one of those months, and you guessed it, this winter has already been one of those winters. It doesn’t ‘feel’ good to be a Minnesotan right now. As a native, you’d think that I’d be used to the overcast, cold, God-forsaken January days. Yes, I am. And also, no I am not. I think I have said at least 1,700 times in the past day, like a broken record, “so, tough day with this weather, am I right?” Actually, the check-out clerk at the grocery store beat me to it so it was technically only 1,699 times. January in Minnesota is not good. We are not ok, send hot beverages, cozy blankets, portable heaters, or a hot tub.
But you know where you’ll find me next January? That’s right. It’s 99.99% likely that you’ll find me right here next January. You’ll probably hear me complain at least one hundred and twenty million, thousand plus nine times (my kids are too grown up to mess up their numbers anymore when they’re exaggerating so I do it myself to remember how cute they sounded). This weekend I accidentally relearned a lesson that I needed to relearn. The lesson is very simple but profound. Feelings follow action. If you want to change the way you feel, you need to change your behavior.
Around here, you can complain about January (I’m obviously not above this strategy) or you can lean into January, which accidentally happened this weekend and retaught me this lesson. I wish I could say it was intentional, it wasn’t. Over the weekend, we literally wanted to change the way we felt, so we chose to change our actions. We chose to thoroughly embrace January. The boys went ice-fishing while I went for a long, wintery walk. They played SO MUCH pond hockey. We met good friends to go sledding. We ate homemade chicken soup. We snuggled up with a movie. We went downhill skiing. At the end of the weekend, I seriously realized how much I have to be thankful for and how seriously fun it can be to live in Minnesota when you choose to live and not just pass the time. I changed the way I was feeling by simply changing my actions.
When things get hard, when you don’t ‘feel’ good, you might need to ‘act’ differently until you feel the way you want to feel. You might need to be an actress/actor and play the role and do the things that someone who feels different would do, even if you don’t feel different yet. I’ve heard some people say “embrace the suck.” I don’t love that phrase. It’s so negative. Just because things are hard doesn’t mean they aren’t good for us. Most of the things we value most are hard to attain. Deep down you can find beauty and growth in every challenge if you look for it.
“Deep down you can find beauty and growth in every challenge if you look for it.“ENCOURAGEHERELENA.COM
I needed to be reminded that I can change the way I feel by acting differently. When I started noticing over the weekend the changes in how I was feeling, I noticed that it wasn’t just any behavior change that made a difference. The actions that made a difference were the actions that were totally in my control. I didn’t need to rely or influence anyone else to move the behaviors or actions forward. You’ve probably heard of the three bucket theory. Make sure your actions are within bucket one (things that you can control) and not in bucket 2 (things you can only influence but not control) or bucket three (things you cannot control or influence). If I’m feeling unhealthy, I go drink a huge jug of water or slip in a quick 30-minute workout. Those behaviors are in my control. I know I will immediately feel healthier. If I’m feeling anxious about my business, I start making calls to schedule new appointments. The behavior of making calls is in my control. While I can’t control if someone schedules an appointment, I have learned from past experience that the action of making calls reduces my anxiety. If I’m feeling disconnected, I immediately schedule a date night with Mike or 1:1 time with someone I love. Scheduling 1:1 time is in my control.
“The actions that made a difference were the actions that were totally in my control. I didn’t need to rely or influence anyone else to move the behaviors or actions forward.“ENCOURAGEHERELENA.COM
Is there something in your life that’s feeling off? Do you need to change it? OR, do you need to change the way you feel about it? First step is to make sure you slow down enough to understand how you feel. Don’t ignore it. If you’re feeling a negative feeling, anxiousness, shame, loneliness, discouragement, fatigue, indecisiveness, stress or overwhelm? Acknowledge it and name it. Do you need to flip the script? Do you want to change how you’re feeling? Can you choose to act differently until you feel differently? Changing your mind is hard to do but it can be done. Changing your behavior is something you can do right now. You might be wondering if a certain action or behavior will change the way you feel. Try it, and pay attention. And you know what? If you’re like me, you might just feel better.
Here’s to February 1st.
I see you. I love you. I’m cheering you on!