Posted on / by Debra Alfarone / in General

Two simple tips that can increase happiness this year

At Mel Robbins daytime talk show

You want a big life. You have big dreams. You have a lofty goal. You want to do some awesome shit that’s going to have everyone saying, “oh damn, did you see the awesome shit Julie just did?” But, you wake up and just aren’t here for it.

It happens. It happens to me. It happens to EVERYONE.

Somehow, in this Instagram world of cutesy quotes (which I love, btw) and perfect hair and sunshine and rainbows and puppies (ALL of which I also love, btw) we’re supposed to #bossbabe up and #killit every day. But, the truth is sometimes we #don’tfeellikeit.

I’ve got two tips for you for when you just. don’t. feel. like. it. They work for me. They may work for you:

1 – Use the “5 Second Rule”

Don’t feel like getting out of bed? Going to yoga? Writing that blog post? The amazing thought leader and now TV show host Mel Robbins says do it anyway and do it within 5 seconds: “If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill it.”

Basically, this 5-second window is the difference between doing it and not. What you do is you count backwards, “5, 4, 3, 2,1 go!” and then make a move towards what it is you’ve committed to do.

It’s not just an idea. There’s neuroscience behind it. You can read it here.

2 – Make Your Own Smile File

As simple as this sounds, it’s just a fact that some things make us sad, and some things make us happy. Show my mom a video of a puppy, and she starts to laugh with glee. What makes YOU smile? I invite you to create a “smile file.”

What’s in mine? I save every sweet note or message I receive from someone thoughtful enough to take the time to say thank you or share that I had a positive impact on them. Whether something I said at a speaking engagement inspired one person to think of themself differently, or whether I encouraged someone through an IG story to commit to my #30DayBigAskChallenge and it brought about miraculous results. That shit motivates me. And when I’m reading it, I have no time to feel wishy washy about getting out of bed, I’m just instantly pumped and I know I have important things to do.

I keep my Smile File on my iPhone – as a folder in my Photos app. Here are some other ways you could create one:

An actual folder you can hold in your hand. What! A novel idea. Set aside an hour to print thank you emails you’ve received, love notes, pics of your puppy or kitten, anything that makes you smile. Label it “Smile File” – and pick it up any time you’re feeling crappy – rather than picking up that cookie dough ice cream.

A playlist can be a Smile File. We all have songs that remind us of awesome times in our life. For me, it’s Florence and the Machine’s “Shake it Out.” It reminds me of the beautiful summer day my friend Dave and I went to see Gabby Bernstein and Patricia Moreno give a day-long workshop at the Surf Club in Montauk. It was such an inspiring day, and Dave and I had both gone though breakups, were reinventing ourselves and needed some inspiration.

I will admit, sometimes some self-defeating thoughts take up space in my head. It’s up to me to call for a reset. My smile file and a little Florence always fixes me up right.

What do YOU do when you’re feeling blah and unmotivated?


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