Sometimes we need a system to make our own comfort

Contributor photo of Geri L. Welker
Geri L. Welker

Remember life when you were a child? The wonder of awakening each morning in your warm cozy bed to the smell of frying bacon. There across the room, your clothes all perfectly matched up and laid out.

Someone made sure you brushed your teeth, tied your shoes and smoothed down that wild bedhead hair (yes, with the approved method of saliva on their palm prior to smoothing your fly away hair). They collected all of the things you would need for your day and drove you to wherever you needed to be at the appropriate time.

Growing up, my siblings and I took the spotless house for granted and, as teenagers, we complained when we were awakened by the sound of the vacuum being pushed under our bed. The structure we felt as children left us feeling smothered and confined.

Do you recall that “This is going to be the best day ever!” feeling? I reminisce and miss those carefree days terribly.

Doesn’t life change quickly? When did we lose that wonderment of thinking every day was the best day ever? Maybe we should all reclaim some of that childlike confidence and positive flow and awaken each day with the motto, “Today is going to be the best day ever!”

I confess, I try to have that outlook, but sometimes, life has a way of getting in the way. My world has been a little topsy-turvy lately; in the past couple of years, my health has not been at its best as my chronic Lyme has been creating some difficult days. I have lost my Granny, my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s with Lewy bodies and passed away. I have just lost my job and am seriously wondering what is next. I wish I could say my attitude is always positive and that “Today is going to be the best day ever” were the first words out of my mouth every morning.

I’ve said those words waking up from a great night’s sleep, when I had plans I was really looking forward to, but a great night’s sleep hasn’t been easy to accomplish lately.

I’ve also said them when I slept terribly and was anxious about something, or had a task coming up I flat didn’t want to do. So there they are … Today is going to be the best day ever … 9 short and simple words, but they can profoundly change how you approach each day, helping recalibrate your mindset throughout the day.

Of course, simply saying it isn’t enough. Turning them from a promise to yourself into reality every day, no matter what life throws at you, takes a system.

Systems are just a form of structure and, for those of us who need structure, that is great; we battle the things life throws at us as changes in our routine. Routine and good habits aren’t the enemy; they are the solution, the system.

Happiness doesn’t come from achieving huge pieces of great success, but from finding small advantages hammered out day by day.

I look back at my life thus far and realize the best days of my life weren’t necessarily the days something great or exciting happened. Rather, they were those days when I felt good about myself because I grew as a person; days when I grew mentally, physically and spiritually; days when I connected with someone; days when I helped someone.

I have goals in my life — for the person I want to be, for what I want to accomplish and give back to this world. The only way I could meet these goals was to develop a routine that would get me to my physical, emotional and spiritual peak each day, and keep me there. That’s how to have the best day of my life every day.

A recent study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that developing good habits is more important to meeting goals than self-control. It turns out we’re just as likely to default to positive habits, such as eating a healthy breakfast or going to the gym, as we are to self-sabotage.

As a result, I’ve I find I have attempted to build my life around structure. I need this structure to keep functioning at the highest level possible on all three planes of existence — mind, body and soul. I need it to make myself a better person. I need it so I constantly see opportunity and view problems as “situations.” In short, I need it so I can be free.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am still dealing with the grief of losing some family members that were indeed the “rock” of my existence. I am still battling a chronic medical condition. I am still unemployed. There are still mornings when I lie in bed with my eyes closed tightly, hoping to smell the scent of bacon and find my clothes all laid out for the start of my day.

My structure is ever-evolving, as I periodically review, assess and adjust it.

Email GERI WELKER at geri.welker@triad.rr.com.

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