July 26, 2013

The Revolutionized To-Do List: What Does Yours Look Like? ~ Andrea Jacobs

Ten Things My Shy, Stubborn A$$ Finally Did This Month that Made Me Feel Great.

You know all those things you have been meaning to do?

Like, in order to be a healthy, nourished, well balanced person?

You read lists on elephant journal that advise you to start doing certain things—lists of activities and ideas that some health coach or mindfulness expert suggests will improve your life.

You agree that they are probably right and bookmark the article. You don’t feel guilty about not getting to that list yet because you are about to soon…

Really, like, any day now…

Something finally tipped me off to start carving away at my to do list this month. Maybe it was because I was living alone in a comfortable living space for the first time ever or because the weather was exactly how I like it. My job and friends were very stable and the future felt bright. I suppose there simply were no excuses left for me to be careless, shy, stubborn or lazy.

The things on my list seem unrelated, but the truth is that each enabled the next to happen. It was not a coincidence but a positive attitude and an open mind which opened the door. Once I started feeling good, it gave me the power to do all sorts of things. A definite snowball effect!

Here are some things I always considered doing and finally did do this month. I’m also strongly endorsing them because, without a doubt, I feel healthier, happier and more balanced.

1. Journaling.

I always knew it could be good for my soul, but shrugged it off. I don’t have a notebook. I won’t have time every day. The thoughts are all there in my head. How much could it really help? Seeing what actually hit the paper made me see what was consuming my thoughts more than I realized, which was good for my perspective. I detached from the idea that the writing had to be a consistent format and schedule. My journal has thoughts, lists, maps, quotes and it is what it is. It’s not meant to be a beautiful book that someone will publish one day or judge me by.

2. Balanced meals.

Yes, self, the reason you’re still hungry after all that salad is because it was just a fluffy salad with lemon juice—of course you won’t be full. I’m trying to incorporate variety: a starter salad, rice and stir fried veggies—that’s a meal! Eating without balance leaves your body off balance. Just because I’m cooking for one is not permission to leave out food groups.

3. Gave up non-special dessert.

I have a bad sweet tooth. My plan was that eventually I would tire of sugar or wake up with super strength to just stop forever. But alas, it’s a commitment and lets face it, “eventually” never happens. I feel really good with less sugar in my body. I’m saving it for the raw vegan pie on my friend’s birthday. Yum.

4. SUP Yoga.

Doing yoga on a stand up paddleboard is not easy. The postures have to be simple. At the beginning of my first class I was like f** this; it’s too hard! But by the end, I was breathing in the fresh ocean air and raising my hands to the sky and doing headstands. So exhilarating. The paddling is fun too. It’s sad that I’ve been in many locations with SUP and never bothered to try it. This is a very specific activity, but it is representative of any new activity that you’ve been meaning to do!

5. New clothes.

When you think you’re on a budget, sometimes you just keep ignoring the wear and tear and the scarcity of your wardrobe, even embracing it because you are being hardcore non-wasteful. I took some time to evaluate what I actually wanted to replace, such as the worn pair of shorts and unraveling tank tops and I went to an affordable store with intentions. It worked; I found what I needed!

6. Sleep naked.

Seems like everyone was doing this but me. I usually have the issue that I’m always cold so I have to wear sweats and down comforters. But taking advantage of this hot summer. I frolicked around at night in just my skin. It definitely is helping me feel more comfortable inside of it.

7. Danced without drinking.

There’s a breed of us out there that “don’t dance.” Some of us manage to get movin’ on the dance floor after a few drinks though. I wanted to conquer this. With all the other great things this month, it just felt natural to move my body to good music. Finally.

8. Practiced yoga alone.

I have taken some recorded classes by myself, which definitely isn’t ideal. What I experienced in my solo Ashtanga practice was a breakthrough for me. I was in a perfect marriage with my breath. I didn’t miss the crowd at all.

9. Planned a party.

As a single, kid-free, pet-free 20-something, most things I do are, well, for me. As a traveler, people are constantly being so generous in helping me get what I need. It felt good to plan a party for my sister in honor of her wedding. I really enjoyed the task and wanted to make sure she felt special and got whatever her heart desired.

10. Re-fell in love with my job.

I love the yoga that I teach—that’s constant—but I felt so purposeful recently. Honestly, I could barely speak in class one day because I just looked around and loved everyone so much. There they were just standing and smiling back at me with honest willing attitudes and I had so much I wanted to share with them. I’m so thankful this career and I found each other.

I sympathize with the reasons why some changes will be hard to make based on what’s going on in your life at the moment. I’m not here to preach to you and say, “Start doing this today; it’s easy!” I think when you start to balance what you already have the time will be right.

I hope that hearing me tell you how these little things have helped me feel great will encourage you to return to your own to-do list or create one for the first time. Let your list be random: make sushi, go skydiving, eat at home more. The idea is that whatever ends up on your list is not as random as you think. You know yourself well enough to recognize what you need. When you get what you need, every part of life is so much better.


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Asst. Editor: Kristina Peterson/Ed: Brianna Bemel

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Andrea Jacobs