I hope you have had a great and happy new year! I spent mine at home planning for the year ahead. It's so great when we start a new year because there is a feeling we all have that evokes a sense of renewal in us all. We want to rip out the old pages and start anew. Put the finished book away on the shelf and begin exploring the new book's crisp pages and new smell. Wipe the slate clean and begin planning bigger and better things for ourselves! It's a great time of year indeed. While I was thinking about my own goals I thought some things would be helpful to share with you about how to keep your new mission of reaching your 2018 goals interesting, fun and reachable. Let's get into it!
1. Write your goals down.
No matter how many times you hear people say this and roll your eyes, it still remains to be good advice on how to reach your goals. Writing them down and planning actionable steps that can give you a clear route to meeting each goal is so much better and more realistic than just listing what you want without a plan. Don't roll your eyes too hard though! There are so many ways to do this depending on what you respond to. You can always list everything on a notepad or a planner that you will see everyday. You can get a big calendar that hangs on your wall and write colorful reminders on it. You can create a vision board, or two.... or three! Heck, make as many as you need. Go crazy! Get creative with how you see your goals and make your steps known. As long as they are out of your head and shown in a place you see them daily, they should help with your year long process of achieving them. I happen to be a "techy", so I have listed all my goals and intentions on my Trello app. That way I can see them on my computer, tablet and phone. I'm a visual person, so I have also created a vision board that I have on my book shelf in my office. I see it every time I walk in my office to work. If that isn't enough, I have also put digital forms of my vision board on my screen savers for my computer and phone. That way I see it again and again no matter where I am.
2. Clear out the negative energy.
This is another obvious one but it's very necessary to do. Possibly even more than just once a year. Negative energy, things, situations and people have a huge effect on you, your body and mind. Every little negative thing we choose to keep around us can possibly effect how our days go and how our weeks, months and years go as well. Get in the habit of setting boundaries and standards for yourself and stick to them. Don't ignore your boundaries for ANYONE... including friends and family. Those boundaries are there for a reason. To protect your energy and keep things positive as much as possible. We can't control everything, but we can decide what we will tolerate. We can also decide how we respond. For me this year, I have decided to strictly stick to my work hours and not answer work related things outside of them. I will also put my phone on "do not disturb" from 8:30pm to 8am to avoid social media notifications and calls, and reserve TV for my off days so I can focus on work or studying my craft the other 5 days. I also make it a point to only fill my social media feeds with positive content and inspiration. How do I do this? I'm picky about who I follow and why. Before I click the follow button I take a look at their Facebook or Instagram feed and if their feed shows things I don't want to see or engage in, I don't follow. Even if they are friends or family. If I see something I don't like from someone I already follow... I simply unfollow. No fuss. Look at your energy and your space as something you need to protect in order to keep good vibes around you.
3. Create a morning routine.
I started doing this in 2017 and LOVED it. It literally has changed my life. Am I laying it on too thick? I'm so serious though. Having a morning routine has changed the way my days go so of course they have the potential to change my year as well. There is nothing like having a good quiet morning to yourself (or with someone else if you prefer). I love the feeling of having my time to meditate, drink my water or tea, taking time to slowly eat and enjoy my breakfast, listening to nice morning music or a good podcast that gets me motivated, easing into my exercise routines and reviewing my intentions for the day. It is just such a great time to get my body and brain ready for the day I have ahead of me. Truly the only thing that sucks about it is the getting up at 5am part. Doesn't mean you have to get up that early though. I chose that time for myself because that is how early I have to get up and have time to do those things before my son has to go to school and my work day starts rolling. It really does a great job of setting the tone and the days I do this are always so much better than the days I don't. Of course, in order to get up early, I go to bed fairly early. Sometime between 9:30pm and 10pm. If I don't go to bed at a decent time... I can forget about even winking at 5am. Having a daily morning routine really does a great job of helping you become more disciplined, self aware and intentional about your plans. While you're at it, setting up a nightly routine wouldn't hurt either. They are both great to have in place.
4. Self care.
One of the things we tend to neglect to do on our long to do lists is taking care of ourselves. It's like we expect our bodies to put up with EVERYTHING from sun up to sun down, day after day, month after month without it getting some much needed attention. You have to think about yourself (mind, body and soul) like a car in a sense. You can drive your car anywhere you want for as long as want. If you expect to not get too many problems out of it, you ought to remember to give it gas and make sure it gets routine maintenance. Otherwise, your car won't get far. The life of that car will be cut short. We pretty much work the same way. Think about what YOU need in order to keep going and feel taken care of. For me, it's Sunday night baths with bath bombs, bath salts, spa music, a good facial... and hopefully some time on my xbox. (Yeah, I'm a bit of a gamer if I make time for it.) For someone else, they may need some family time or meditation. Some may prefer time with their faith or even a detox. It doesn't always have to be something you consider "big" either. Self care could be as simple as saying no to things you don't want to do or things you won't tolerate. Honestly, self care is whatever you make it and whatever you feel you need to keep you going and happy. You have remember, self care is a big form of self respect and loving yourself. Pay attention to yourself, listen to your needs and make time for them. Your overall health will thank you.
5. Make a happy jar.
Ok, hold on.... you don't have to call it a happy jar. That is just a general name for it. Mine is called my "Jar of Sunshine". It's a simple idea really. You simply take time to write down something to be grateful about every night, mention something awesome that happened that day or an accomplishment or goal you reached. You write it all down on paper, ball it up and put it in the jar. You do this every night. You can choose to go through your jar and review the contents once a week, once a month or every year. Whenever you choose to review, take time to really celebrate and be grateful for those moments that are often fleeting or forgotten without a simple thought to their importance. Congratulate yourself, have a treat, take in the feeling of knowing something great happened.... enjoy the small things! I personally write on little yellow post it notes (yellow because... it's a jar of sunshine people!) ball the paper up into a little ball and I look forward to reading it later. Later at a time when I decided to review my jar. Later at a time I decide to celebrate and treat myself. Even later when I am having a really rough time and need to remind myself of all the sunshine I have regardless of the storms. It sounds corny, I know but it is still helpful towards staying positive, keeping things in perspective and staying the course in reaching your goals.
So there they are! 5 things that can help you reach some of these goals. Things that are designed to help you stay positive, stay motivated, recharge and have a healthy mindset towards getting through the year. One more thing I want you to know and maybe we can call this a bonus one. Love WHO you are, WHERE you are RIGHT NOW. You may not be the person you want to be yet and you may not be where you want to be, but you are still a great person either way. You are still here which means you still have a reason to be here and I'm quite sure you aren't where you used to be if you have been putting in work to move forward. Love who you are through the journey. Each stage has its own importance and its own lessons that will make you into the person you are striving to become. If you would have met me 10 years ago... you may not have recognized me. I was a totally different person who had no clue what she wanted to do with her life and hadn't found her voice, let alone her passion. 10 years later... I'm not yet where I aspire to be, but I'm pretty damn proud of the person I have become during my journey. Be flexible with yourself. Don't be too hard on yourself if you make mistake or even fall off your goal wagon. Get right back on and move FORWARD. Love yourself through it ALL! You only get one of you!