How to Enjoy Your Life More

How much are you enjoying your life as it is today?

In today’s episode, I talk about how to enjoy your life more, even as you plan to make changes in your life. 

The reality is that if you don’t know how to enjoy your life now, or at least SOME elements of your life now, you could change all the things in the world and still be unhappy.

You’ll learn:

– How to use gratitude to overcome negativity bias
– The importance of focusing on your progress
– Simple steps you can take to prioritize and appreciate the things that bring joy to your life 

Listen to the Full Episode:

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Full Episode Transcript

Transcript

Lynn Grogan [00:00:00]:

Welcome back to the Courageously Unconventional podcast. I’m your host, Lynn Grogan, and today we’re gonna be talking about how to enjoy your life more as it is right now. So for as much as this podcast is about changing your life and living true to yourself, a key component of that is knowing how to enjoy your life too. 

Because here’s the deal, if you don’t know how to enjoy your life now, or at least some elements, any elements of your life now, you could change all the things in the world and still be unhappy. So this is something I have been thinking about for a while, but over the past few days, this came up for me. Over the weekend, a new friend asked me, hey, what’s next for you? And to be honest, this kind of question, it used to put me into quite a tailspin. I know it seems like an innocent simple question. Hey, what’s next for you? And it is, but it also zooms me right back to my 20s and 30s to a time when I felt like I wasn’t cool enough or smart enough or accomplished enough as a person.

Lynn Grogan [00:01:02]:

In that era of my life, I spent a lot of time trying to do things that seemed impressive so that I could feel accepted and acceptable. I can see that now in my 40s that I was doing it then, and I felt like my answer to a question like that could make or break someone’s impression of me. So a lot of my goals and pursuits at the time were trying to do things that would make me seem like enough. I’ve gotten a lot of coaching over this over the past few years and feeling, like, I am enough and accepting myself, and it is something I coach on pretty regularly. It is such a human thing. So, anyway, he asked these questions, hey. What’s next for you? And after feeling a familiar feeling of the not enoughness panic because those pathways are still faintly there, I answered honestly that what was next for me was intentionally enjoying what we have created in life. Like, 2 years, maybe 3 years ago, what we have we, my husband and I have right now was just like a dream to us.

Lynn Grogan [00:01:59]:

Like, we wanted a group of friends on the road to travel with and share our lives with. We wanted a way to camp differently. We’re full time RVers, and, you know, we’re often camping in RV parks and state parks and things like that. And we wanted a way to camp off grid using solar power, which means we get to go to really cool locations 5, so that often meant 5, so that often meant I was at a desk on days when it was absolutely gorgeous outside, and I just wanted to be out in it. I have a lot of those things today, plus a lot more that I didn’t know I wanted. Late last year, we started learning to play music. My husband plays guitar. I play ukulele.

Lynn Grogan [00:02:41]:

We’ve been playing with people. I started this podcast where I get to share ideas, and I’m sure there’s a lot more that I haven’t even considered yet. So this is what I told him. What’s next for me is really like enjoying what we have created, but it did give me a pause. There was like this moment where I was like, is this enough? Like, really? I’m enjoying what I have created? Like, no big goals or flashy plans? But as I have been reflecting on the question and on my answer, it also made me start thinking about, like, how do you enjoy your life more? Because sometimes it seems elusive and hard to reach, and I think too that, like, if you’re somebody who’s always, like, pursuing big goals in life, like, this can feel a little bit foreign because it doesn’t seem like something you’d put on a billboard. It’s enjoying your life more. What does that even look like? Well, how tangible is that? So, you know, it can seem elusive and hard to reach, and that’s why I kinda wanted to talk about it today because there’s a lot of ways to be more present in your life. But if you’re not intentional about it, it doesn’t happen.

Lynn Grogan [00:03:42]:

So there are a lot of ways you can go about this, but I wanna offer a few today that you can put into practice immediately. And a lot of what I might talk about today might sound familiar to you, but you’ll notice overall a common theme, all of them include actively directing your mind on where to look and what to notice. And the reason I’ve picked these is that left to our default settings, we humans are wired to notice the negative. We have what’s called a negativity bias. You’ve probably heard of this before, but, just to recap, it is a psychological phenomenon where negative events, experiences, or information have a more significant impact on our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors than positive or neutral ones. So this means that we pay way more attention to negative events than positive ones. We remember negative experiences way more vividly. We react more to negative stimuli, and we give more weight to negative feedback or criticism.

Lynn Grogan [00:04:35]:

So this bias likely started as a survival mechanism back in caveman days to keep us alive, but now in modern life, it can really just lead to more stress, anxiety, and an overall negative outlook on life even when positive aspects are present. So in order to have a more positive outlook on life, if this is what what you want, we actually have to intervene on those default settings. And one of the fastest way to do this is to practice gratitude. Okay. I know, like, this is probably something that has been on your radar for years, but it is popular, and it is everywhere because it is effective in raising our positive emotions. It’s one of the fastest ways to get there. From the book, Build A Life You Love by Arthur C. Brooks and Oprah, I’m currently reading this and loving it, They mentioned that scientists have investigated why gratitude raises positive emotions so reliably, and they found several explanations. One of which is that it stimulates the prefrontal cortex which is part of the brain’s reward circuit and, like, who doesn’t love being rewarded? Gratitude can also make us more resilient, strengthen our relationships, and improve health indicators like blood pressure and diet.

Lynn Grogan [00:05:44]:

And I mean, when we’re feeling grateful, think of how you feel and how you treat people. You’re probably a lot nicer which just feels good. So you can start practicing this immediately if you’re not doing it already by writing out what you truly feel grateful for in a journal or just reflecting on it. Make sure that it’s something that actually rings true to you. Like, no need to pretend if that’s not how you’re feeling. There’s no need to add a layer of positivity to something when you’re feeling just the opposite. Try this out and try to apply this to something that you maybe feel a little bit negative toward and just see what it does to your mind, see how you react. So I tried this the other day.

Lynn Grogan [00:06:18]:

About a week or so ago, my husband and I got stuck in the mud with our RV, and then I spent about 2 hours in the rain clawing ourselves out. We had these yellow blocks that kinda look like Legos that we had to just keep replacing over and over again and slowly, slowly, slowly moving our truck over them just to get out of the mud. It was also this you know, besides being tedious and very, like, hard on the body, it was also really scary because, having everything that you own start to slide on its own accord out of your control when you can’t do anything about it is terrifying. So let’s just say at the end of the afternoon, we weren’t the happiest campers in the world, and we were wet. We were covered in mud, and it just wasn’t a good situation. So, we decided we were gonna go to this RV park. There was one that was nearby that just happened to have availability on the last minute on a Friday afternoon, and when I called the camp host Linda, she was just so nice and sympathetic over the phone. She had zero judgment on how or why we got stuck, And when we showed up so frazzled to the park, she did everything that she could to help us out.

Lynn Grogan [00:07:25]:

And when we got settled in, nobody mentioned it again. It wasn’t like, oh, you’re the doofuses who got stuck. They were just so kind and so friendly. We would definitely go back there again. And And when I reflect on this, like and even just talking about it right now, like, I immediately feel better about humans in the world and grateful for their kindness. And I feel less negative about the whole experience, even though we don’t want to go through it again, and we’ll be taking measures to make sure it never happens. Like, I feel grateful that in the midst of something like this happening, there were really helpful humans out there. They weren’t the only humans that helped us out, but that was one that stood out in my mind.

Lynn Grogan [00:08:02]:

So for yourself, like, just take a few minutes to write out a few things about your life as it is right now that you feel grateful about. And throughout the week, just reread what you wrote, especially if you’re feeling down and negative. Create a regular habit of reflecting on what you’re feeling grateful for. There is a lot of scientific data if you’re still, like, I don’t know about this. There’s a lot of scientific data out there on the effectiveness of this technique. You don’t have to go far to look for it, but I promise you, like, if you wanna boost your mood immediately, find something you truly feel grateful about and just write about it. My second idea for you comes from the book, The Gap and the Gain. It’s by Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy.

Lynn Grogan [00:08:44]:

I recommend this book. It is all about having different ways of measuring your progress and success. So the traditional way that most of us will measure our progress, they define as the gap. So this is when you focus on the distance between where you are now and where you ideally want to be, whatever your goal or ideal is. When you measure your progress against these ideals though, this often leads to feeling of dissatisfaction and frustration, because ideals are often hard to reach, sometimes even unattainable. So when you’re looking at, like, okay, where I am now, where I wanna go, often this brings up a lot of negative feelings about that. So what they suggest instead is to focus on the gain. So this is when you focus on the progress you’ve made from where you have started.

Lynn Grogan [00:09:31]:

So you measure your progress against your past self instead of where you wanna go with things. This leads to feelings of satisfaction, motivation, and happiness because you recognize and appreciate the improvements and some of the achievements that you’ve made. So by focusing on the gain, how far you’ve come rather than the gap, the distance you haven’t covered yet and may never cover, you can create a more positive mindset and a greater sense of fulfillment and motivation. So you may have heard me actually doing this on the top of the show when I mentioned that I wanted to enjoy how far my husband and I have come over the past 2 to 3 years. Focusing on the gap in our lives would look and sound like, well, took you long enough. You’ve been on the road how long? You should actually be a lot further than this. You should have more friends. You should have a better solar setup on the RV.

Lynn Grogan [00:10:22]:

You should have seen and done a lot more, which makes me feel terrible. When I do the comparison, I’m like, okay. Well, where was my past self 3 years ago? Where am I now? And I look at how far we come, I actually feel happier. I feel more grateful, and I feel more inclined to do more of the things that got us here versus, you know, beating myself up about what we should have done instead. So take anything in your life that you’ve been working on and reflect how far you’ve come in the past few weeks, months, years. Look for progress. Look to see how you’re different. I promise you it’s there.

Lynn Grogan [00:10:52]:

And if you’re having trouble seeing it, check-in with someone you trust to see what they notice. Sometimes having, like, that outside perspective, somebody that knows you really, really well can help you to see it when it’s hard for you to see it yourself. So a third and final way I wanna offer to do this is actually just so simple. It’s just a simple check-in about what you want to enjoy from your life and how you’re gonna make those things a priority. We really just, like, don’t need to overcomplicate this. I recommend writing all of this in a journal or on the Notes app on your phone and returning to it regularly. So a simple check-in question might just be, what do you want to enjoy and appreciate more from your life right now and making a long list? I’ll share a few of my own from my own list. Like, I want to enjoy and make the most of our current travels.

Lynn Grogan [00:11:40]:

We’re actually gonna be stationary for most of the rest of the summer in Southwest Colorado, which is just a beautiful area if you haven’t been to this area of the world. I’ve been enjoying, like, a slower pace of travel. We used to travel a lot more quickly, and being here for an extended period of time means I can actually participate in the local community. That’s something that I have been missing in our travels. Usually, if we’re in a place for a week or 2, maybe you could go to, like, a meetup or a class or something, but it’s kinda hard because, you you know, you don’t really see the same people over and over again. So there’s an opportunity here. There’s a ton of hiking in the area, and, if you go far enough into the mountains, there’s cool weather. It’s actually kind of warm where we are, but there’s cool weather in the mountain.

Lynn Grogan [00:12:21]:

We’re also surrounded by a bunch of our RVing friends, so we get to spend time with them. So check-in. What do you want to appreciate and enjoy more from your life right now? I just offered kind of one thing, but you can make a long list, you know, of just things, Like, what you have created in your life, how do you want to enjoy more of those. And then the second part of this is how can you remind yourself of this on a regular basis? I think it’s really easy, like, when we get caught up in the weeds of our lives to just forget all these intentions that we had for enjoying our lives, but, if you can bake into your practice some kind of regular planning around this, this can really help. So what you might do is review your list and a plan ahead of time and put it in your schedule. Like, take a few minutes early in the week. Think about your list. Think about how you’re gonna include some of the things you want to enjoy in your life in that list.

Lynn Grogan [00:13:11]:

So maybe it’s penciling in time for that gratitude practice, maybe it’s reaching out to a friend to go hiking, maybe it’s even creating white space so you can have a breather and, like, reflect on your life and just slow down the pace. That question was how do you plan to remind yourself on a regular basis? The more you can intentionally include this in your life, the more you set yourself up to enjoy your life. Alright. So my friend, as we wrap up today and we head into the second half of twenty twenty four, I wanna encourage you to pick one of these things I’ve talked about today and try it out. So maybe you are starting a regular written gratitude list. This is something I definitely plan to incorporate more as I go along. I’ve seen how helpful it is over the last couple weeks, and I wanna put that into my life a little bit more. A second thing is you could focus on the gain, how far you’ve come versus the gap, how far you have to go.

Lynn Grogan [00:14:01]:

And the third thing was to intentionally make a list of things you want to enjoy more of and create a plan on how to keep these top of mind. Add these into your schedule. I am grateful for you for showing up and listening to the podcast. It has been so fun and rewarding to hear about what you’ve gotten from the episodes, and I’m especially grateful when you tell me that you shared this episode with a friend or colleague who may find it helpful. That’s how this show grows. If you would like to connect after this episode, you can find me on Instagram at lynngrogan or on my website at lynngrogan.com. You can find more details there on how to coach with me and how to connect with me. So I hope this podcast today helps you enjoy your life a little bit more.

Lynn Grogan [00:14:41]:

I will see you next week on the Courageously Unconventional podcast.

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Lynn Grogan host of the Reality Show Life Coach podcast

Meet your host

Hi! I’m Lynn Grogan. It’s my passion as a life coach to help you escape the status quo and live a fulfilling life on your own terms!


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