Do you remember how much fun it was to get out of bed as a child? You would almost bounce out of bed with excitement about what the day might bring and all the fun things you could do.
Then you became an adult and each day became so filled with obligation that getting out of bed felt like a chore.
As children, we are taught that living a life of obligation is the “right” and “best” way to live. We learnt this from all of our caretakers and if you ever care for children, I’m pretty certain you are teaching them the same thing. This is what it looks and sounds like:
“If you eat your peas first, then you can have some ice cream for dessert”.
“You can play ipad after you have done your homework”.
“We can go outside, but only after you have cleaned your room”.
Now this all sounds perfectly logical and reasonable, because we all have jobs that need doing and a child will do nothing bar play and have fun all day if we let them. They have no thought for how their teeth might decay without proper care, nor how funky things might grow in the house if they don’t bother to clean. BUT what we are inadvertently doing is teaching our children to prioritise obligation before their own happiness and mental wellbeing.
It’s quite a conundrum really….
Want to know why you sometimes hate to get out of bed or why you resent your life? Because you were unintentionally taught to put obligation first and by the time you are an adult, there is so much obligation that there is no time left for happiness.
Now I promised you the trick to re-discovering happiness in your life, and here it is:
PRIORITISE JOY FIRST
And I mean every single day.
What does prioritising joy first mean? It means tuning in to your body and your emotions and doing what makes you feel good first.
Yes, you will still go to work and drop the kids off to school and tidy the house, but you will spend more of your remaining time following your inner guidance by picking the most joy-filled option.
Some days you have the washing to hang and the dishes to do, but what you actually want is to sit down for an hour and watch a movie, or read a book, or go for a walk. If you flip the switch and put joy first (instead of obligation), you will happily pop up from your joy-filled time and do your jobs….but they won’t feel like chores anymore. Why? Because your cup is now full and you realise how good it also feels to have a tidy house.
On a busy work day where you have to manage school drop-off and work and the grocery shopping etc, the trick is to add an ounce of joy to every moment. Put on music that brings you joy while you drive, start the day with the coffee that you’ve been hanging out for, wear your favourite uplifting scent and take a lunch break rather than working through.
Over time, you will start becoming accustomed to joy over obligation, such that you finally take the plunge and:
- Move to a job that brings you more joy,
- Release joyless relationships that you have accepted for years, and
- Resolve all of those other seemingly large problems that actually have a simple fix when you approach them from a place of putting joy first.
So next time your heart sinks or your stomach clenches over what to do next, pick the joy-filled option first (not last). It will change your entire view of life and eventually, even your obligations will seem light and easy rather than a burden.
Give it a try and let me know how you go in the comments.