Knowing what you want to achieve is not enough. Achieving your goals and living your best life requires that you line up your daily habits with your goals and aspirations for the future. Think about the habits that influence your early morning time and the habits that color your evenings. Think about your spiritual, financial, marriage, parenting and fitness habits. And, most of all, evaluate your habits of thought. In this week’s episode of AchievingOPTIMAL, we mastermind about the repeated behaviors that are shaping who you are becoming.
You are the gatekeeper of your mind. To experience a life full of joy, you must reject the negatives and protect the positives God has placed or has promised to place in your life. Those who experience more joy don’t necessarily have more to be joyful about; they just think differently. This option is available to you as well. Here are three strategies you can use immediately to help you erect a fortress around your mind. Remember, every moment matters. Think of the habits described below as the guardrails of a joy-filled heart.
Habit One: Feed Yourself with Positive Mental Nutrition
To insulate your heart from negative messages that would deplete your potential for joy, you must feed your mind what I call positive mental nutrition. This refers to deliberate, 4:8-certified inputs that come from what you read, watch, and listen to on a consistent basis. To live an uncommon, joy-filled life, deliberately immerse yourself in wise, inspiring, and uplifting thoughts on a preplanned schedule. Ask yourself, “How are my reading, listening, Web-surfing, and TV habits different from those of non-Christians?” Start with the Bible and expand from there. Reading books and listening to CDs about faith, life, and love does more than expand your knowledge base. It also keeps your growth at the forefront of your mind, and growth contributes to joy. When you’re reading and listening to great ideas, then by default, you can’t be filling your mind with mediocre inputs.
Habit Two: Start the Day with Joy
Focus on joy the first fifteen minutes after you wake up. Think of what I call the First Fifteen as your “early morning joy ritual” (EMJR). What you do first thing in the morning sets the emotional tone for the entire rest of the day. Do you wake up full of anticipation like a little child on Christmas Day? If your morning doesn’t start with joy, you will find it difficult to make a comeback later in the day. First thing in the morning, before your mind gets cluttered with the busyness and obligations of the day, is the perfect time to work on your “joy software.”
Realize that everything you watch, read, or listen to either brings you closer to God or nudges you further away.
Habit Three: Seal the Day with Joy
Now that you’ve taken care of the First Fifteen, I want to encourage you to approach the Final Fifteen in much the same way. Your subconscious mind has its guard down and is very receptive to suggestive influences in the last few minutes before you fall asleep, so this is the second daily opportunity you want to take advantage of. Remember, what gets impressed in your heart gets expressed in your circumstances.
How could you use the Final Fifteen to exploit your potential for joy? Could you imagine your vision and goals as already accomplished? Could you study the Bible or read an inspirational book? Could you pray with or share a special kiss with your spouse? Could you review your victories from the day? If you did any or all of the above, just think of the kinds of messages would get impressed on your mind!
Many people think that WHEN their life gets better, they will have more joy. But the truth is this: When you have more joy, you have a better life! The 40 Day Joy Challenge is an online course that produces better habits, stronger relationships, and greater joy in less than 9 minutes a day. Sign up to begin your journey here.
This article is an excerpt from Tommy Newberry’s book The 4:8 Principle.