You might be living your own version on the movie, “Groundhog Day”. Every morning the alarm goes off and you go through the motions of what seems like the same day, only to find yourself waking up to do it all over again. In the movie, Bill Murray is caught in a time loop, where no matter what happens, he wakes up on February 2nd. His lack of control over his life causes him to become very depressed and hopeless.
For us, the sense of living in a time loop is imagined, but no less dramatic. Many of us feel like no matter what we do, the days we wake up to are predictable and monotonous. To counter these feelings, some people feel that they must change everything in their lives to find any sense of fulfillment. To them, the sure fix is a new job, a move cross country, a new house, a new partner or all of the above. Only total change will help them find the joy they are missing.
In reality, sometimes, it’s the small shifts that can break us out of our ruts. A 10% shift in the way we do things can cause an even greater sense of life satisfaction. As we become older, we gain more responsibilities and obligations, and often lose our sense of ourselves. Ironically, at the same time, our values and interests become more important to us, even though we have less time to pursue them. Often when we can identify activities that mirror our interests and values and help us use our natural abilities, we find the inspiration and renewed energy that’s been missing.
I see these shifts everywhere I look. The businessman who always wanted to be a coach and influence young people begins to coach little league. Pretty soon, all the parents want their kids on his team and he enjoys his new identity as a respected coach. The corporate lawyer volunteers with mock trial at the law school and feels renewed at the chance to flex his oratory skills. The secretary commits to a Couch to 5K program and keeps going until she becomes a personal trainer and inspires others off their own couches. The variety of 10% shifts is limited only by your own imagination and your will to change.
In the movie, Bill Murray decides to shift his mindset and make positive changes in himself. Once he begins to use his situation to the betterment of himself and those around him, the time loop is broken and he happily decides to stay in Punxsutawney. You too may find a shift in your perspective and a change in activities may help you end your time loop. You might even wake up to a new day tomorrow.
-Kim Turner is a School Counselor with the Clarke County School District, a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Highlands Affiliate. For more information, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.