From resolutions to bucket lists, we so often review our priorities and set our intentions for the kind of lives we want to be living.
Our goals might be career-related or health-focused, but the difficulty isn’t with setting goals at all; often, the true difficulty is maintaining the consistency to achieve them. I have found certain life hacks that have helped me to be more consistent in meeting my goals.
When I wanted to train for a half marathon, I had to finally stop talking about doing it and actually register for one. I paid the fee and had a clear date in mind for when I needed to be ready. Having that date on the calendar provided motivation for me to train each week. It was no longer an idea; it was an actual event that I needed to prepare myself to run.
I did this again with trying to learn to speak Italian. I love the sound of the language, and I’ve always considered languages to be something at which I do not excel. I downloaded an app and chose a training schedule that was possible given my time constraints and that would alert me daily to hold me accountable.
There are so many ways that we can take our ideas for what we want in life and turn them into actual things that we’re doing to achieve these goals. Setting the intention alone isn’t enough. Nor is it enough to talk about what we want without putting in the necessary effort to achieve it.
What is helpful is having a reasonable plan, action steps to take, incremental rewards along the way, some type of accountability, and continued motivation. However, I find that it also helps to start each day focusing on our intentions and recommitting to our goals.
There are several morning routines that can help us enhance our focus on these intentions. That focus can be a motivating factor to keep us on course as we attempt to complete the tasks we’ve set for ourselves. Our goals don’t even have to be grandiose. We don’t have to see all 50 states in the USA, or travel to 20 countries, or climb Everest. Sometimes, our goals can be as simple as being a better parent, learning new skills, spending more time on self-care, or even reading more books.
Whatever it is that we want from our lives, a morning routine can help us achieve it—even if we don’t consider ourselves a morning person.
Gratitude. Starting out each day with gratitude acknowledges the blessings that we already have in our lives. I feel that this is an important way to start. So often, when we’re working toward a goal, we can become frustrated about what hasn’t yet happened for us, rather than focusing on the good things in our lives in the present moment. Sometimes that attitude can lead us to feel discouraged. Starting with gratitude can help us remember that we already have so much we can appreciate. Saying a prayer or simply sending out positive energy into the universe can be a wonderful way to get started.
Mindfulness. As we are getting dressed and getting ready for the day, we can bring in mindful attention to what we’re doing. This gives us a great opportunity to check in with our bodies, our emotions, and our thoughts to see how we’re feeling and if we have any needs that should be addressed. If there’s an area of discomfort in any of those areas, we can take the time to look more deeply into that while we’re showering, brushing our teeth, or selecting clothes for the day.
Coffee or tea. Starting out with a hot morning beverage is often so routine that we can take it for granted. But when we have goals for our life that we’d like to achieve, we can use the time that we’re making and drinking that first cup of morning coffee or tea to focus on our intentions. What is it that we want? Why is it important to us? Focusing on this while we have our regular morning drink can serve as a daily reminder of our priorities.
Meditation. I can’t speak for everyone, but mornings in my home can be hectic. Sitting down for an early morning meditation is not a thing that can regularly happen. With two small children to take care of on my own, I usually spend the mornings getting ready myself, dressing children, making breakfast, packing school lunches, and readying backpacks for the day. I’m fortunate if I have time to sit down to drink my coffee and have a quick bite on many days. I can empathize with the difficulties and time constraints of a busy life, but I do feel that if we can find even five minutes in a day to clear our minds, it will help relieve our stress and better focus on our goals. Just having a little quiet can help us gain clarity.
Morning pages. From The Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron, morning pages are when we write three pages first thing in the morning to express whatever thoughts and feelings happen to be on our minds. This can be another way of clearing out the detritus of our minds so that we can enhance the focus on our intentions. While this can also take up some of our time in the morning, it can be a wonderful way to sharpen our focus. We can also use this time to remind ourselves of the progress we’ve already made toward our goals to help remind us of how far we’ve come.
While our intentions alone can’t create change, they are certainly important. When we pair those intentions with clear, decisive actions, the lives that we dream of can begin to become a reality. Instead of allowing discouragement to creep in over time, we can do our best to start each day with positivity, gratitude, and mindful focus on who we want to be and how we want to live. Every day we do so, we’ll likely be one step closer to living out our dreams.
Author: Crystal Jackson
Image: Unsplash/Quincy Alivio
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Copy Editor: Callie Rushton