8 Principles for Living Each Day with More Contentment and Happiness! Part 1

Part One of Two

Have you ever climbed into bed wondering, “Where did the day go?” Have you ever felt you were on a treadmill–trying to a “somewhere” that never arrives? In our busy world, we often find ourselves living on auto-pilot with one day blurring into the next.

Several years ago, I implemented “8 Make Today Matter Life Principles” into my daily routine. These Principles take very little time and are so simple to implement–you could start using them tomorrow if you like. The Principles have allowed me to realize great contentment, happiness and meaning in every day. The days of auto-pilot living have been replaced by purpose-filled living through the application of these “Make Today Matter” Principles.

MTM Principle 1 ~ Good Morning:
The first thing I do after opening my eyes each morning is say (aloud or to myself): Something great is going to happen today–I can’t wait to see what it is! When I started this practice, it was a bit awkward–perhaps, because I was at a low-point and didn’t fully believe the words. I said it anyway. Everyday. Soon after, great things started happening. Why? … because I was looking for them.

If we awake thinking about stressful events, the tough day ahead, everything we need to get done, we start the day “on defense.” We prime our life for a stressful day–we expect it–and we usually find it. Even when little or large blessing bestow us, we often miss them. After all, we aren’t look for blessings–we are looking for stress.

Starting my day with this affirmation has proven an effective method for turning my attention to blessings instead of barriers.

MTM Life Principle 2 The 3-Step Action List: For those who have read the Change Your Life Challenge or taken part in MTM Online, the 3-Step Action List will be familiar. Each day, I choose three tasks to complete during the day that will MAKE TODAY MATTER… even if everything else goes astray.

We all know how life can interrupt our well-made to-do lists. Narrowing our focus to three priority action steps helps us focus and prioritize our day. The items on this list needn’t be mountains to overcome or extremely time consuming; … they simply need to MATTER and move us forward.

I began this practice when I realized how busy my life had become. I was always BUSY! BUSY! BUSY! Boy was I busy. What was even more amazing than how busy I was…..is how LITTLE I was getting done! We often confuse BUSYNESS with ACTION! We can be very busy and not move forward…. (just look at a hamster)!

When we carefully choose 3 things that matter each day…we end up with over 1,000 things done each year! Things that matter! How many people can say this confidentially: Last year I completed over 1,000 task that mattered or moved me forward… and I am doing it again this year.

You can have a mile-long to-do list if you like, but mark three things! Stay focused! Life will interrupt and when it does, you will be ready for it!

People often ask–what about when you are sick or not feeling well? I still have a 3 step list. Every single day. On those days, examples of 3 things I might choose to make the day matter and move me forward might be:

1. Take my vitamins
2. Get extra rest!
3. Feel good for taking care of myself.

MTM Life Principle 3 Each Day, LEARN or TRY something new.
This “something” can be little. You don’t have learn a second language or anything, but each day learn something new, try something new, or see something you have not yet seen.

Examples include learning…
* a new word…
* a piece of trivia…
* see something you haven’t seen before on the drive home….
* try driving a different route,
* try a different store,
* try a different recipe,
* try a different type of book,
* read a book on a topic that interests you,
* do something fun–finger paint,
* color
* make a snow angel
* stop and look at the sunset versus walking (or driving) past it
* go stand under a tree in your yard and look at it from below
* make up a constellation, try to find it every night

We often get caught up in the same ol, same ol, and forget about how exciting each day can be (if we let it be)! When we learn, try or see something new, we awaken our senses to gather many of life’s riches.

MTM Life Principle 4 ~ Say YES! At least once each day or twice if you are a parent, say YES instead of NO, or I CAN instead of I CAN’T.

NO and I CAN’T have become auto-responses for many of us.

Can you come make a snow angel?
No, I can’t.

Can you play a game?
No, I can’t.

Can you meet me for dinner?
Sorry, I can’t, I’m busy.

While it is good to say NO to those who cross our boundaries, when we are with those in our inner circle, or with our self, we need to let go of these auto-barriers and say YES and I CAN!

I discovered this principle because I actually became tired of hearing myself say “no” to my daughter when she was younger. When she went through her “threes” she would ask if she could do something. I would say “no,” on autopilot. She would ask: Why? I didn’t have a good answer. Since “NO” didn’t seemed to be a good reply, I tried “yes” instead.

By really being present and adding daily spontaneity, my life changed. What a magical world kids (and pets) live in! I was so happy to finally climb down from autopilot world and see that perspective!


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