Knowledge is not power, action is power.
This month as we discover how to bring more joy into our lives by savoring our lives we will develop one habit that supports us in this endeavor. Now I understand I am putting the cart before the horse a bit here. We will discover how to savor life more over the course of the month so by the end of the month you will know specific actions that will help you savor life based on your perspective of savoring. But I always believe that we internally know of at least one action that will bring us to a higher level of positivity, we just don’t always pause to claim that knowledge or remember to take action on that knowledge.
This exercise will help you pause to claim that knowledge and every Saturday of this month I will support you as you take action on that knowledge. By the end of the month, if you stick with me, you should have a simple action that has become a new habit that leads you effortlessly to more smiles.
Today I want to share an exercise I have heard in various forms, but have adapted from the book, How to Have Kick-Ass Ideas by Chris Barez-Brown. This is an Idea Generator that pulls the ideas out of you.
What is it?
The Back to the Future Exercise can lead to a powerful perspective shift that can create huge energy and clarity with regard to how to extend positive experiences. You get advice and ideas from an older you and a younger you.
Why it’s good.
We often get trapped in our routines, so much so that we lose perspective. Purely by remembering what is important and what makes a difference, we can break free from these self-imposed traps. Few perspectives are as powerful as those from near the beginning and near the end of your life.
Things you will need:
• Writing Paper
• Two Envelopes
• Pen or Pencil
Now Let’s Take Action.
Seat yourself somewhere comfortable and quiet. Imagine yourself to be much older and in the twilight of your years with most of your life lived. Now write a letter to you in the present time. This is a letter of advice, of perspective. Write whatever comes to you, whatever seems important. Don’t censor yourself, just write. Include a perspective on how you are living and enjoying life. Are there things the older wiser you advises you to stop or start doing? It will help to consider what you will be like by this age in your life, what you have experienced, and what you have learnt. When it feels complete sign off and put it in an envelope for the present you.
Now change rooms and kneel on the floor to write the letter from you as a child using the hand you don’t usually write with. Colored crayons can really bring this to life. Again, don’t edit yourself, but write from your heart, write from the younger you. Think about what is important to you as a child, what you love, what makes you tick. When you’re finished, hang out for a while, play a game, have some fun – you deserve it.
Take the letters into another room, pour yourself your favorite beverage, and read the letters. What ideas do these letters give you? Specifically in the area of savoring life, what messages from the older wiser you and the child within are you discovering? What are the simple daily actions that you could take that would help you extend the joys in your life?
Turn this Feedback into a New Habit to Create this Month:
If you are new to intentionally creating new habits, welcome. If you have gone through a new habit creation exercise with me in the past, welcome back. The older and younger you gave you some insight and advise into how you are living life currently and how you could change a few things to get the most out of the experiences you are having right now.
Identify three simple things you can do on a daily basis that would have you extending your positive experiences by positively anticipating them, fully engaging during the event, or prolonging the memory of the events of your life.
Here are some examples:
- To Positively Anticipate Future Events: Spend 5 minutes each day planning your next vacation, party, family gathering, or some other anticipated event.
- To Positively Engage During an Event: When at a meal with another person, put your phone away. Start jotting down notes of the things racing through your mind that distract you, once they are captured on paper your mind is free to engage in the current situation. Practice an active listening tactic until it becomes habit. Breathe.
- To Positively Prolong the Memories of an Event: Start an on-line or physical photo album or scrap book. Journal the day’s events and highlight in yellow those events that bring you joy. Start a gratitude journal to record the great events of your life and review it on occasion.
Over the next couple of days narrow down your three ideas into one simple daily practice that will have you building a life savoring habit this month.