I think a lot of us have been struggling in the last few months. This has been a weird turn of the year. And a lot of us want to have a goal, or want to have hope. We want to make a resolution, we want to have a dream, but we feel like maybe it’s going to be so much more of the same.
If that’s the way you feel, you’re not alone; 2020 was a tough year. For most of us, it changed our lives, in one way or another, and has thrown us for a loop.
One of the things that we’ve learned, is that there is so much that’s out of our control. But I also realized, that’s always been true! We just never felt it to the degree that we felt it last year.
The one thing we can control, that we’ve always been able to control, is how we respond, and how we show up. We can control how we interact with what’s happening to us, no matter what that is.
I want to create more of what I really want for myself in 2021. I really love using this time of year to kind of get back on track, decide what I really want to create, and then go about creating it.
What a lot of us are doing right now is not controlling the one thing we can, which is how we show up to our lives. Instead, we’re trying to control everything else, and everybody else. That can send us into a spin of negativity because we can’t change so much of what’s going on.
We can’t change how things are unfolding in our world. But what we can ALWAYS do is, and what we have only and always been able to do is, control way we show up.
1. Create a vision for your life
I want to give you your power back. You still have so much personal power and personal responsibility. I want to help you cultivate a vision for your life that inspires you. You don’t have to spin in negativity.
What is your dream vision for your future?
If you could design your life perfectly, what would a typical day in your life look like five years from now.
What would need to happen to begin to design your life the way you actually want it?
What would the vision of your life look like if you had more control over it? (Spoiler alert: you do!)
I want you to think about those long term thoughts, and then I want you to ask yourself,”What can I do right now?”
I love brainstorming impossible goals, thinking of things I want to create in the world, and how I want to contribute. I also like to pick that apart and figure out WHO I NEED TO BECOME in order to be the person who can reach impossible goals, and really contribute to the world. That kind of narrows it down to what I can work on NOW.
Ask yourself, “What am I spending my time doing right now that’s really not that valuable? It’s not giving me the life I want, it’s not helping me show up in the way I want to, in order to contribute to the world.”
If we don’t give our brains something noble and good to think about, and to aim for, and to meditate on, they’ll just spin out in negativity.
Our brains will find everything wrong with the world, and you don’t have to look far these days. We’ll spin out in negativity on those things, and we’ll meditate on that day at night; which is called worry. We’ll live in fear.
Deciding how we’re going to show up, and getting curious about what we want our lives to look like, gives our brains something to aim for. It gives our brains something good and noble to think about, to reach for.
When we tell our brains what we want them to focus on, they will do that for us!
Sometimes, we’ll have to redirect our thoughts, and my best tool for helping me do this, is my bullet journal. I do a “lazy girls” way of bullet journaling here I think you’ll love!
Everything that I’ve created in my life for the last 10 years, was written down in my bullet journal first. I highly recommend that you have a place where you can write your dreams and your goals down. I use my bullet journal for everything in the world.
I often find that if I don’t have my journal with me, it’s really hard for me to let my ideas come out. We need a place to brainstorm about what I want to create in the world, how we want to contribute. I would say it’s the one tool I use in my life that has doubled my creativity, and doubled my productivity. It has served me so, so well!
Grab a journal and I want you to take some time today and figure out, “What do I really want in my life? What do I want to create? How do I want to contribute, to my family, to the world?” Let yourself really dream.
A lot of times, we find it hard to do this because we feel like it’s necessary to stay stuck in the fear and the worry. When we do, it’s not good for us, and it’s not good for the people in our lives.
Having a vision for your life, something to shoot for, to aim for, and to dream about, is really important.
2. Cultivate Healthy Habits
Nothing changes if nothing changes. You have this vision, this place you’re wanting to go, but then you have your current habits. I heard John Maxwell speak on this years ago and he said:
“You have uphill dreams and downhill habits.”
What we want to begin to cultivate are uphill habits, habits that are noble, and good, and worthy, and give us a sense of meaning, purpose, and accomplishment.
I’ve been working on habits for a long, long time. I realized, when I was thinking about what I really wanted to change personally this year, that I have a pretty downhill, as John Maxwell would call it, habit in the evenings.
I have a stellar morning routine. I wake up super early in the morning, and I get so much done before 7:00 AM! I’m the truest of all morning people, but at nighttime I cannot function. My family is always trying to avoid that time of night where I get, I call it slangry. I get sleepy and angry. I wanted to change that.
A lot of times I wouldn’t fully clean my kitchen. I would just do the bare minimum, get everything in the sink, some of the stuff in the dishwasher, and then I would call it a night. I also got into the bad habit, of taking my computer to bed with me. I would finish doing work and watch YouTube videos. I got into bad nighttime habits, and I wanted to start to change that.
One of the small little goals that I made was, and this may seem so dumb and stupid, but no dishes in the sink, and no computer in the bed.
I wrote down all the things I wanted to cultivate at night. I wanted to start reading actual real books again, instead of just listening to everything. I wanted to get back doing my meditation. I had a whole list of things I wanted to do, but I thought those two things would motivate me.
When you’re cultivating a new habit, practice the belief that you want to believe. I decided, I cherish my nighttime routine. Now, right at the current moment, that kind of feels like a lie, but I’m going to keep practicing that.
I put some things in place make it more fun.
I had read the book “Becoming Mrs. Lewis” about the life and love story of CS Lewis and Joy Davidman. I love CS Lewis! So I decided to order Joy Davidman’s book of sonnets, and every night I just read a sonnet. That just little treat, and then doing a short little meditation, gets me excited to do the other things that I don’t want to do.
Often pairing the habit you want to create, with some kind of little reward, is really powerful.
Maybe there’s something you know you need to stop doing, that you know is getting in the way of you creating the life you want. I knew that bringing my computer to bed at night was not a good idea, but it’s so hard, y’all!
The first night I did it a few nights ago, so many times I wanted to run back downstairs and get it. I thought,”This is crazy, how I feel so attached to it.” But after just a few nights, I thought, “What a relief? I don’t have to answer emails at night.”
It’s been really, really good. You might think that’s a crazy thing to want to cultivate, but for me, I know I want to be the kind of person who does those nourishing things at night.
I want to be the kind of person who doesn’t have the computer in bed, and who reads poetry. I want to be the kind of person who leaves no dishes in the sink, and who gives herself the gift of a beautiful sparkling kitchen the next morning, the kind of person who goes to bed reading love sonnets. That sounds like a pretty awesome thing!
The tool I use for developing these nourishing habits is Google Calendar. I just put it in my calendar every day to do my nourishing night routine. That’s a reminder to me, and I’ve even started doing it earlier so I leave myself plenty of time. I’m seriously a granny when I start my nighttime routine at 7:30, and that’s okay with me!
“You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” ~Aristotle
3. Keep your promises to yourself
One of the things that keeps us from keeping our promises to ourselves is, we tell ourselves, “I’d never follow through.” Stop saying that and start saying, “I love how I follow through.” What will happen is eventually you will follow through if you keep telling yourself you follow through.
Find ways to make it fun! Ordering a book of love sonnets, to me makes my new little ritual fun.
Being really careful what you make failure means is also a key. What if I don’t do my routine tonight? Am I going to make it mean that I’m just destined to be a person who doesn’t go to bed with a sparkling kitchen, and read love sonnets at night? No, that’s the person I’m cultivating, the person I’m becoming.
I just make that failure mean, “What can I learn from that? Why did that happen? Was that because I went out to dinner and I got home later?’ And if that’s the case, I just give myself some grace. Be careful what you make failure mean, and find a way to make it fun.
What is the one thing you need to change first, in order to begin to create and design the life you want?
For some of you the answer will be a habit you need to get rid of, and for some of you the answer will be something you need to cultivate. What I want you to do is write your dream down.
What’s your dream?
My dream for the next few months that I’m working on is to have nourishing nighttime habits.
You could write down your short-term dream, you could write down your long-term dream, but write down something that you think would get you closer to the life you envision for yourself.
There’s so much power in writing it down. Get yourself a bullet journal and write it down. It’s so powerful because your brain kind of perks up, and notices. It’s going to think, “Oh, so we’re the kind of people who have nourishing night routines. Yes, we are.”
The other thing I do is use a sticky note to write the sort of beliefs that I want to practice. I’ll just write them down every day. Or I’ll write them down, and I’ll move the sticky note from day to day in my calendar.
I just keep practicing the things I want to believe, until I create the life I want to create.
Using these 3 tools you can design your life on purpose!
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