The First Day of the Rest of Your Life

You’ve heard the saying: “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” But what exactly does it mean to you? And how can it make a difference in your life?

It seems that many of us are always waiting for a “special” time to start something new, even though we know it’s something that we need to, and even want to do. I won’t say “should,” because it carries too much baggage and turns a lot of people off, but the truth is… sometimes we should do things, for our health, our sanity, and our personal development.

But we don’t need to wait for January 1st to set resolutions, goals or intentions. And we don’t need to wait for September to start learning something new. Life is a learning experience, and every day is a chance to make a change.

In fact, not only is today the first day of the rest of your life — and the ideal time to start a new good habit — but the beginning of this next hour is a good place for a fresh start, too. If that doesn’t quite inspire you, the first day of each week or the first day of each month is a perfect starting line for whatever race or marathon you want to run.

If the thought of change, or trying to take on something new, stresses you out, there are a few things you can do first to get in a better, more relaxed frame of mind. The first is to do a simple deep breathing exercise. The second is to try meditating.

The third is more connected to physical than metaphysical reality, but can make a surprisingly big difference. I used to think that LifeSaver candies were named for their shape, but now I know that they really can be life savers.

Fred L. Miller, yoga teacher and author of How to Calm Down, suggests the following when you need to be saved, at least from tension or stress: “Pop a LifeSaver into your mouth. Focus on the fruity taste of the cherry, lime, orange, or pineapple flavor, and resist the temptation to chew. The longer you suck and concentrate on the flavor, the more calm and tranquil you’ll start to feel.”

I’ve found the same thing works with anything you normally consume orally. Whether it’s candy, your favorite food or a beverage, simply slow down, close your eyes, and enjoy the sensations it brings. Savor the taste, the texture, and the temperature.

Appreciate every aspect of it, and feel grateful for the ability to enjoy it. That will also amp up your positive emotions, which opens you to getting more of what you want.

For those times when you’re feeling stuck in a rut but not sure what exactly you can do to change things, writer and entrepreneur Nora Dunn offers a simple exercise with a premise that you have 20 minutes to change your life in 100 ways.

To try it, start by turning off all distractions, including the phone, computer and TV, and lock yourself in a quiet place. You need to concentrate fully on this exercise for it to work.

Then sit down with a blank piece of paper, and set a timer for 20 minutes. As fast as you can, write down 100 things you want to do, accomplish or experience, including people you’d like to meet. There are no limits here.

“Don’t be realistic. Dream big. Write down the craziest things you can think of, as well as the things that you don’t even thing bear mentioning because they are so simple,” Dunn explains. “Write it all down.”

Make sure you don’t spend time thinking about whether or not you should write something — it might not make sense, or seem like a good idea at the time, but the idea is to just keep writing in a free-flowing fashion until the timer goes off. After about 10 or 15 minutes, Dunn says, you really unlock your inner creativity.

Alright, so this isn’t exactly your bucket list… in other words, you’re not committed to doing these things because you wrote them down. But you might get an idea or two out of those 100 things that will really allow you to make a change in your life.

And then, choose a new day — or a new hour, week or month — to get started. Don’t just make a resolution, or a promise to yourself… but set a clear intention to get it done, and then actually implement your idea.

It’s the first day of the rest of your life, which you’ll no doubt enjoy even more afterwards.

Photo Credits

LifeSavers © Amanda Munoz

Writing ©

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