This time of year is often characterized by both reflection of the past and contemplation of the future. Looking back on early 2014, I recall feeling like many aspects of my day-to-day routine were a real drag for me. At the time, I did not enjoy getting up each morning to go to work, coming home to then go work out and then ending up exhausted by the weekend. I sounded like a really positive guy back then, huh? I decided at that time that I was not happy with my routine and attitude I had developed, that I was in a position where I could take my life in nearly any direction I wanted and that I wanted to feel enthusiastic about the things I do daily. So I started asking the question “why?”
The question “why” does a nice job of forcing us to be reflective and honest. We have to really think about the reasoning behind something and if it isn’t a good one, we can immediately tell. I decided that from now on, I would take the time to define my actions and, if I am not enthusiastic about the reason for doing them, I would no longer engage in the activity.
A simple example: when it was time to go to the gym, I used to look for reasons not to go. “It’s too cold outside,” “I’m too tired,” or any one of a number of excuses. And it was because I was being reactive to the situation instead of perceiving the “why” of it. I changed my perspective, defined why I went to the gym – a desire to feel healthy and energetic, look good for my wife and increase my self-image – and I quickly overcame the immediate issue of not wanting to go. By lifting my focus from what was in front of me to the ultimate goal of why I was doing it quickly created an enthusiasm and drive to go.
I applied this to all aspects of my life where I found myself stuck in an unenjoyable routine. After joining our firm in July this year, I started to think about why I go to work– to provide for my family, working with people I genuinely enjoy and providing value for our clients – I found myself hurrying to work with enthusiasm for the day. This same approach has really helped me remove things from my life that I could not explain and made me more positive and enthusiastic for those I do pursue.
While of course there are aspects of my daily life that I feel more naturally enthusiastic about than others, I have found that I no longer feel so weighed down by a routine as I can easily identify why I apply myself to any task in my life and it has created a positivity that makes contemplation of the future something that I am excited about.