There's a lot of goal setting going on this time of year. This year I'm taking a break from the vision boarding and breaking down what really makes me happy in 2018. I have a strategy of ways to break free from normal patterns. When I break my routine, life starts to show itself in unique ways I wouldn't have thought of. Goals feel less forced, and become more guided from a natural flow.
1. Break Up
WHY: Break up with anything negative from 2017. Stress is the new smoking. Stress shortens your patience, relationships, and most importantly your life. Simply by taking out small negative stimuli you can create space a happier mindset.
WHAT: Visualize your normal routine during the week. Go through each part of your day. What parts of your schedule bring you extreme stress?
HOW: Example: if your commute to work causes a guttural lump, think of creative ways to make it different. Can you carpool, walk with a friend, download 3 new audio books or podcasts, spend money on a cool music app (like rock my run), listen to Deepak Chopra meditations, uber twice a week to mix it up, take a different route, ask your boss to change your hours to off peak traffic hours a couple days a week, get courage to ask to work from a coffee shop one day, etc. Go through each of your days stressors and see where you can vary the routine. Ask a friend for help if you're stuck.
2. Break Free
WHY: Actually create "free time" in your week. I tend to over schedule as a default tool to keep me away from the present moment. To avoid sheer exhaustion and "netflicks zombie time" at the end of the night schedule "free time" for yourself (literally free from phone/internet/radio/computers)
WHAT: Visualize your Monday routine. Is there any space you can force yourself to not plan anything?
HOW: Example: If you have a 9-5 kind of job, see if you can actually schedule 10 minutes in your Monday to plan nothing. No phones/screens/radio. Personally, pretty much every day I have free space 1-1:15. I set a calendar reminder for "FREE SPACE" and just look up. Sometimes I sit on a bench, sometimes I go for a walk, sometimes I just sit in my car with my eyes closed and music off. Just that simple practice of freeing up space from obligations and screens immediately brings my mood to an elevated state of calm. If you want to take this to the next level, start to schedule pockets of 1-2 hours in your calendar for absolutely nothing. Only when you're actually at that moment, let your body/mind/spirit tell you honestly what it wants be it a walk outside, a nap, a good book, meal prep, drawing, be with your animal, etc.
3. Break Down
WHY: Focus on smaller bites of your goals. My to do list will never end. There will always be something to check off. When I focus on smaller scale goals, I allow myself a sense of self pride and respect.
WHAT: What are three things that if completed today you can call it a successful day?
HOW: Example: Each morning I wake up with an extra 15 minutes for me. I sit in bed, before I look at my cell phone, and decide what three things that I WANT to accomplish that day. The second you look at your cell phone, you are immediately reacting to your texts/emails from others. By deciding first what your priorities are that day, you set the trajectory to make yourself proud. To keep it easy, I divide it into three categories; mind, body, spirit. My personal list this morning sounded like, "Mind: I will practice Spanish with pimsleur method audible book for 30 minutes. Body: I will take 5:30pm yoga. Spirit: I will spend thirty minutes searching flights for my next trip." The best part is when those three things are accomplished, I immediately congratulate myself for doing the work that makes me happy. Granted, there are still dozens of things to check off the list, but I practice appreciation of myself. Watch your self esteem grow and your to-do list seem less important.
These three practices may seem small, but when put into practice (just try three weeks worth) I notice a measurable difference in my sense of calm and self respect. When you build these emotions within yourself, doors start to open in your life you didn't think possible. The big life goals like healthy relationships, strong physical health, and financial abundance come flowing towards you because you're at a vibrational state that's ready to meet them.
Katie Burke has lead several SYB adventures around the world including Belize and Cuba. Her next trip is to Costa Rica January 17-22, 2018.