All right, this might sound a little bit crazy and seem too easy, but I’m telling you I have the secret to a good day and especially a great weekend.
The Zen Master’s secret to all days,
It’s real and I highly recommend it.
This goes for anyone, but this is a specific shout-out for my dads.
There’s just a lot going on in our life. We don’t have it nearly as tough as our wives, but if you are like me, we often have that nagging sense of guilt in the back of our heads.
“I should be spending more time with my kids.” Or when spending time that we thought would be with our kids, and our kids aren’t hanging out with us -thinking, “I should be at work.”
“There’s housework that needs to be done.”
“I should mow the yard.”
“I’ve been meaning to build that shed out back.”
If you’re like me, there is a continually expanding collection on your “To-Do checklist” of life.
There are many articles, stories, and blogs about changing your checklist – about finding and evaluating what is more valuable and meaningful in an attempt to streamline your life. The one minute rule, knowing when to say, “No” etc.
This is not that article. In fact, it may be a 90° angle to that article.
I think it is imperative to start out every single day, especially on the weekend, with some success.
Something you can say, “I did it.” and ride that dopamine boost for an hour or so.
It’s crucial that you check something off that list or simply complete an extra thing you just came up with to start out every weekend.
It sets the stage for more success;
and is like a kid going 4 for 4 at the plate in softball, You need to taste that first minute of victory to truly get the run going.
Over the years of running this experiment, I’ve come to the realization that it’s absolutely imperative to start with something easy like “Make pancakes and don’t burn them.” or “Hammer back in the nails in the fence that have retracted over the summer.”
You know…”Guaranteed Wins.” You need a meatball to hit out of the park so set yourself up. As you see small successes and start compiling little wins, pay attention to how they trickle into your life and make your entire weekend flow, only then should you tackle more significant projects.
Today, for example, I took down the Christmas lights.
and dug a hole halfway to China in a successful effort to remove a stump from a dead tree that had been mocking me for 18 months.
As I’m driving to work, I’m dictating this article.
Let me tell you. I know it’s summertime; the Christmas lights should have already been taken down, but that’s small fries and that’s not the point at all.
They are down now. Check!
The impossible stump is gone. Check.
A new exotic fruit tree is going to go on into that hole. Check.
And I haven’t even started my day yet.
Can you imagine how much better it is for me and how significantly better it will be for the patients I’ll see… that I feel successful?
My typical Weekend goes like this:
Sports are going crazy, we had to be everywhere 5 minutes ago, and shoes are still missing. Did you forget water? Gas? Shinguards? The lawn looks a bit shaggy; fishing, sleepovers, boat rides… You will have a dozen small failures. Bee stings, cereal for breakfast because you didn’t make anything worthwhile, your kid may strike out, ice cream flops on the floor, a mandatory party with your wife’s friends that you don’t want to go to.. lots of stuff.
So make sure that you control the start. Then, ensure that you have some success with something that says, “I crossed off something on my gigantic list of things to do.”
The only thing I will be sure to tell you is it must be something quick and easy with a very low failure rate. Make it a 10 to 15-minute project max.
Because if you have kids, you live in the same reality as I do. Suppose you decide to build a shed to store your lawnmower, kid’s bikes, and chainsaw. I can promise you things will come up during your day that stall or even completely stop your project. This leads to stress and a feeling of something lingering. We have enough things lingering as parents. So don’t start the day by adding another. Instead, start out with an Easy Win!
I’ve talked about it in a couple of different articles. We all have this idea of how the weekend will turn out. We have a plan. But nothing ever goes according to plan, and perfect is an impossible parameter. It just can’t happen.
Trying to get my fourth grader to read is a chore. He hates it. Yet last night, I caught him reading a newspaper. It was over an hour he did this, I think he read every single paragraph and asked me to read with him. Do you think I will tell him to stop or not pay attention so I can build a shed?- no way!
I’ve been waiting for this moment for ten years.
Nothing will ever go according to plan, so at least start your day with some version of success.
It sounds easy. It is easy. It also works.
It set’s the mood for a much better day and weekend. At the end of the day, small successes such as digging out a stump or making pancakes probably give the brain the same sense of accomplishment as finishing a masterpiece or rebuilding an engine.
So use this hack as a surefire way to set your brainwaves to smooth sailing and better days.
2 thoughts on “How “Starting my Day out with a Success” has become a rule.”
Read an insightful article and commit to retraining brain to focus on the small wins instead of the never-ending and outstanding to-dos. Win!
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They get exhausting and with no feasible solution – forget it. Let’s go with what we can win!