Do you occasionally find yourself wondering where your pizzazz went, your lust for life, your dynamism that lets you continue doing and learning things rather than just thinking about them?
Fair enough, sometimes in life it feels as if that thing called time just catches up with us, or one setback or another puts us on pause rather than on play. It happens to the best of us.
So how to keep the momentum, zest and inner strength so that we can actively shape our dreams into reality?
Have a simple game plan. These little tricks may help us to do just that.
1. Write a to do list.
A simple act like this moves stuff swimming around in your head and brings it into the real world, and oddly enough, everything seems achievable when it’s put on paper. Daily lists could be written the evening before and in that way you save yourself mulling over what still needs to be done when you put your head to the pillow.
A bucket list is useful to keep a wider perspective on what you’d like to achieve in this lifetime and help you to prioritise your brief time here.
Certainly I’ve found that life is more productive when there’s a “to do” list and it’s really motivating ticking things off!
2. Prepare your workspace the night before.
Now that you have your daily “to do” list, you can get everything ready for the things you need to get done the next day. You’ll probably find that if everything has already been laid out, starting the activity the next day is much easier.
3. Time yourself.
Do you ever find yourself procrastinating with homework that needs finishing or a house that needs cleaning? How about setting yourself a deadline? Write this predicted time down. Whether you do or don’t finish in this time frame is not the point, but setting the intention injects you with the mojo that pushes you to get results.
4. Consistency is key.
Don’t have time to dedicate to two hours of yoga every week? Or commit to full-time study when you’re working? Do a little bit each day and it will pay dividends. Decide on a bite-size chunk you could clock in each day or week and stick to it. Let’s do the maths: 20 minutes of yoga each morning, with a Sunday to rest will add up to two hours a week. What seems minor at the time adds up to a lot when done consistently.
5. Give up your vices occasionally.
By refraining from something we remind ourselves who is in control. Now by no means does this have to be permanent, but short periods of abstinence can help us to see our glitches objectively, why we have or why we even like them. Besides, it’s empowering seeing that you don’t ‘need’ this or that unhealthy habit to keep going.
6. If you fail, forgive yourself.
Failure is a lesson. It’s cliché I know but every success story is riddled with so many failures. It’s all a perception. So you can let the disappointment override you or you can forgive yourself, take honest mental notes about how to improve and then responsibly move on.
7. Don’t just “let it go.”
We all get those moments when we feel like hiding away from the world or are fraught with anger, jealousy or frustration. Rather than pushing it away, listen to it and meditate on it. Ask yourself why you feel this way.
If we don’t get to the root cause of our deeper issues they will keep coming back to us in different forms through varying negative emotions. Probe yourself and ask where this feeling is coming from. Only once we understand the origin of something can we then begin to let it go.
Remember: if we don’t learn the lesson the first time, life will present us with the same lesson again and again. Learn to become your own student. Question everything before you let it go.
8. Make a quota on thoughts that bring you down.
Just like eating deep fried food isn’t that great for the waistline, so negative thoughts are unhealthy for your inner environment. Every so often try to put a cap on how much you complain in a day, as this will force you to put a positive spin on uncool things that crop up.
If you’re trying to get over something or someone that caused you pain then don’t block those feelings but ration how much you can think about it. To once get over a relationship that went to pot, I began rationing how much and when I could dwell on it. I gave myself 10 minutes per day after working hours and that was it, no overtime allowed. It worked like a charm and it allowed more space for positive thoughts and experiences.
9. Do one kind thing for yourself every day.
I once met a man who cooked himself the most scrumptious and beautifully presented meals. When asking him why he bothered to go to all that trouble he responded that he felt he deserved it, that he was worthy of a “perfect meal” each day.
While we all may not be top chefs we can reward ourselves each day. Whether it’s having a candle-lit bath or reading a book you enjoy, do it because it makes you feel good.
10. Don’t put yourself down.
Because you are who you believe you are, tell yourself how awesome you are. Give your higher self the best opportunity to go out there and do cool stuff. Nothing and nobody is out of your range or all round better than you unless you believe it.
11. Learn a few things well.
Life is short. If we had to go with every whim we had we’d be running off everywhere. It helps to prioritise what you’d like to learn so that you can do it damn well. There’s nothing wrong with being a jack-of-all-trades but it may stop you from getting to the heart of your chosen fields or hobbies.
12. Do one thing a day that scares you.
You are only as great as you stretch yourself to be. If you call that long lost friend or smile at a stranger even though it’s hard, you are taking small risks everyday. This opens up new pathways of thinking in the brain which tell you that you are not staid and gradually it will become easier to widen the scope of risk-taking to tap into the immensity and the adventurer that is inside of you.
13. Don’t dress your age.
That’s a category and that’s boring! We need to express ourselves as much as we can in this life and clothing is just one of the many ways we communicate who we are. The more we express ourselves the more liberated we’ll feel, and that’s confidence boosting!
14. Be an intelligent listener.
Everyone is a teacher and being open to lessons helps you to grow as an individual. What we need to do is go beyond judging people and actively encourage them to be their true selves.
If you ask open ended questions you’re likely to get more interesting and expansive answers, like “Tell me about your day” as opposed to “Did you have a nice day?”
Asking closed questions calls for limited answers and so the flow of conversation is stunted, but when we allow the speaker to approach something more naturally from any point they choose, we see and hear them in their unbound state.
A good listener asks the right questions to bring out what people are really wanting to say. By encouraging more natural responses we open the door to more truthful and deeper communication and surround ourselves with more meaningful dialogue.
15. Do something selfless.
Life is all about give and take, the eternal ebb and flow. If you find yourself wondering why nobody is giving you what you want then how about practicing giving to others first? The rest will follow. Think of someone that would benefit from your help and support and extend out to them, without expecting anything in return.
16. Keep travelling.
Travel opens up the mind and lets us put on different spectacles in which to view the world. It teaches you geography, history, anthropology, public relations, tolerance, independence, languages and many more things to name. You can keep a map of the world on your wall to remind yourself of the vastness of this planet and how much more of it you still need to discover.
17. Remember to Carpe Diem.
Seize each day. You create your own future.
Author: Khara Burgess
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Author’s Own