Have you ever picked up a health magazine or clicked on an article that promises to help you get your ideal body by making changes that you won't even notice? One of those "Do this, instead!" articles? You know the ones.
When you're craving chips and queso, eat kale chips and salsa, instead!
When you want to go to happy hour with friends, meet up at the gym, instead!
I've seen some pretty good recommendations, but most of the ones I see are like the examples above. Yes, it would be better for me to eat kale chips and salsa. In fact, I like kale chips! However, if I'm craving chips and queso, I am most definitely going to notice if I eat kale instead. In fact, I'm probably going to eat an entire bag of kale and then still eat the queso that I am still craving, because the kale just didn't do it for me.
I saw something like this in a magazine today, and it made me think about actual lifestyle changes that I would say "do this, instead" about.
So here's my list of things to do instead for a much happier life.
I promise there's not a single kale chip to be found.
Be kind, instead. When unkindness is the easiest option, choose kindness. Be kind to others instead of being rude. React kindly when a situation is calling out the meanness in you.
Be positive, instead. When negativity is taking over your thoughts, choose to be positive. When you're itching to critique the things around you, look for the good and voice that, instead.
Speak gratitude, instead. When complaints slip out of your mouth without you even realizing, strive to speak thankfulness. Instead of talking about what you're lacking, or what your day is lacking, say the good things about life out loud.
Compliment someone, instead. When you want to roll your eyes at how long it's taking the cashier to ring up your four items, compliment their smile. Instead of telling a co-worker how they screwed up the printer, compliment them on their presentation.
Be generous, instead. When someone asks if they can cut in front of you in line because they're running late, let them. Pay for someone's coffee. Clean up for someone. Something I've learned lately--being generous doesn't have to be expensive.
Bite your tongue, instead. When you want to lash out at someone, choose silence. When gossip and stories about someone are bubbling on the tip of your tongue, bite your tongue and manage your regrets in the long run.
Forgive immediately, instead. When someone cuts you off in traffic, brush it off. When a coworker takes credit for something you did, deal with it immediately and then forgive them instead of letting it fester. When your husband forgets to stop by the grocery store, accept his apology and move on.
Focus on the happy, instead. When there's so much to be unhappy about, remember that there is so much to be happy about. When you have seventy-four problems, focus on the one thing that went right today. Find reasons to be happy every single day.
Small changes make a big difference.