Make your own weather

I originally wrote this post in 2015. The message still resonates with me, and I hope it does with you too.

The forecast called for rain. Opening the window this morning verified that for once the meteorologists were right. I decided to go for a walk/run anyway, figuring that plodding along for 25 minutes in the rain would give me a sense of accomplishment and would certainly make the rest of the day go more easily. It also meant I wouldn’t have to try to make up the missed workout later in the week. I'm recently back to walking/running (through the 5K Runner app) and I didn't want to take any chances of ruining the momentum I've been building.

That mission accomplished, I would love to tell you that I returned home rejuvenated and ready to make it a great day. But really, I was just wet, tired and cranky. I wasn't feeling particularly excited about heading into work either - nothing really exciting on the calendar, and rainy days at the office are the worst! I sit in a cubicle next to several huge windows - very fortunate on bright and sunny days, but very depressing on rainy days like today.

Keeping in mind the first of Steven Covey's 7 Habits, Be Proactive, I decided I needed to make my own sunshine to keep the day from going downhill. It worked. Here's what I did:​

Bright colors. I’ve read that when you wear bright colors, people are more likely to smile at you. I put on the brightest purple blouse I have. Still not quite feeling it, I put a hot pink sweater on too. I couldn’t help but smile as I looked at my reflection in the mirror, so I figured it was a good start.

Good music. I usually listen to – and enjoy – podcasts, but I just didn’t feel like thinking that hard today on my commute. Instead I put in a mix I had made for a friend of mine, and belted out a few great songs. Make that MANY great songs, since the rain added an extra 15 minutes to my typical 60-minute Tuesday morning commute.

Lunch with a friend. I left the house without packing a lunch because I knew I was going to want to get out. While stuck in traffic, I sent a message to a colleague with whom I really enjoy spending time. When she accepted, I immediately had something to look forward to.

Big win. Instead of starting with all the have-to-dos, I decided to get right to work on a big project I knew I was going to enjoy. I popped in my ear buds, put on some groovy background music, and dug deep into the project, which allowed me to be creative and accomplish something that's been on the to-do list for a while. With that success behind me, I was ready to tackle some of the less exciting items on my list. As a result, I accomplished more before lunch than I had in recent memory.

When the weather outside is unpleasant, it's easy to use that as an excuse to get less done or be in a foul mood. The same goes for Mondays, or if our candidate doesn't win the election, or if we don't get all green traffic lights on our drive, and so on. If we look for reasons to be down in the dumps, we'll find them. Yet there is much truth to the adage that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond. We are responsible for our happiness. It's up to us to make our own weather.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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