“Birds flying high you know how I feel
Sun in the sky you know how I feel
Breeze driftin’ on by you know how I feel
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life for me
And I’m feeling good”
I love this song … and not just because my name is in the title! These moving lyrics often run through my mind whenever I am embracing changes and new beginnings in my life. It seems appropriate to honor them in a new dawn of my own (this blog!), as we embark on a New Year – a time where people around the world decide to take on new beginnings, ditch old bad habits and step into all of their dreams. It is always a beautiful time for reflection and goal-setting!
So, why is it that New Year’s resolutions have such a high failure rate? As anybody with a gym membership can tell you, it’s tough to even find a parking space, let alone a machine or spot in class during the first couple of weeks of January when all the resolutioners are hard-at-work on their new bodies and lifestyles. But, whatever happens to all of these people by the first week of February???
The word “resolution” has a bit of a negative connotation to it. Just as we collectively resolve to make brighter days for ourselves, we collectively accept that it’s okay not to follow through with them — nobody else is following through with theirs, right? Also, many resolutions are just a wish and a dream (which is a great place to start!), but they lack the long-term planning and vision to carry them out for success. So, why not ditch the “r” word all together and commit to real change in your life, riding the New Year’s energy wave well into the next year?
As I think back to the song lyrics I posted at the beginning of this blog, it occurred to me that they have visited many times in my life, as I seem to be constantly evolving. Then, as I think of the many powerful women I know (many running businesses and households), it occurred to me that they too are constantly re-inventing themselves. Of course, our values or essence of being never change. However, people, places, things, ideas — these are constantly changing. (Not just on New Years Eve!) As the brilliant Mr Einsten said, “The only constant is change.” And, I think there is so much strength and beauty in that! It does not mean there was anything “wrong” in the first place. It just means that we are in tune with ourselves and know what we want and what we need to do to get there. It also means we are not afraid of taking a chance and possibly even falling flat on our faces in pursuit of our passion and purpose. We are constantly striving to be our best authentic selves, following our hearts and our souls. We know that when we let go of the status quo and dive into the unknown with gusto, that beautiful things often happen!
It sounds lovely, doesn’t it? But, let’s be real. In a fast-paced digital world full of obligations and distractions coupled with our own ego-minds (aka “gremlins” or “false mind”) chatting away at us, it’s not always so easy to be in tune with our calling, let alone devise a plan to pursue it with vigor. I get it! However, almost all successful people have found a way to tap into these very concepts of pursuing passion and embracing change … beyond New Year’s resolutions that are soon forgotten. Success as defined by me is living life fully & joyfully, in pursuit of your passions and purpose, and finding balance in all aspects of life including health, work, cash flow, family, friends, relationships, fun, and spiritual growth.
So, are you ready to embrace some real changes in 2012 that you will actually follow through on? Are you ready to put your BEST self forward and live it up with joy & love?! If you answered yes & yes (and I know you did!), then here are five strategic steps to help guide you down this path for the long haul!
1) Go inward and really listen.
If a desire comes from your heart and soul, there is a much better chance that you will stay in hot pursuit of it, as opposed to just mindlessly rattling off something from the top of your head because you feel obligated to do so, or even worse … because you feel like someone else wants you to do so. It starts with self-awareness. You have to go inside and LISTEN. Daily meditation practice is a lovely way to get to the core of our being. The process of silencing all the chatter in our minds, allows us beautiful glimpses of who we really are and what drives us. It’s about getting out of our heads, where limiting beliefs exist, and getting into our hearts and souls. Most people that don’t meditate say it’s because they don’t know how. But, it’s really quite simple. Just try sitting in silence for just 5-10 minutes at a time, to start. Close your eyes & just focus on breathe. (We all breathe, right?) Inhale deeply. Exhale deeply. Just breathe. Let thoughts come and go without judgment. You are training your mind to be more present and aware. Like anything, the more practice, the better you become. Set a timer and when it goes off, open your eyes and notice how you are feeling and what thoughts came and went. A whole lot might not come to you the first few tries. Keep going! Gradually increase your frequency and length of time. Over time and with practice, you will begin to come away from your meditation practice with beautiful insights and clarity. The answers are all inside. We just need to be silent and listen with our inner-ear.
2) Find your passion & purpose.
This goes along with bullet #1, but it invites you to go a little deeper. If you don’t know, that’s okay! Our passion gets lost inside of ourselves sometimes. This is what people are talking about when they say they need to “find” themselves. It’s normal. The fore mentioned meditation practice will certainly help you find it. But, there are also some great written exercises to get you there. Passion and purpose are wonderfully driving motivators. Writing is a powerful tool that can help you get a glimpse at what is really going on inside … at a deeper level. Try this! Get a piece of paper and pen and prepare to come up with 25 answers to each of the questions below. The first few answers will come very easily, but really dig deep for the full 25. It’s the stretching that is going to surprise you the most and provide you with the most insight about yourself!
Questions to Ponder your Passion & Purpose (Remember to try and come up with at least 25 answers to each):
1) Whenever I am ______, I lose all track of time.
2) If I had unlimited money, I would spend my days…..
3) If I had unlimited bravery, I would pursue….
4) If I only had 6 months to live, I would …..
This exercise can really help you learn a lot about yourself. What themes are you finding? What answers surprised you? I did a similar exercise 6 or 7 years ago when I was, you guessed it –contemplating change … and I still have the journal that I wrote the answers in. Whenever I go back and look, I get chills. It is uncanny how many of my answers then turned into my reality now. Powerful stuff!
3) Next comes vision. Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years? Write it!
It’s hard to get to any place unknown without a map! Your vision will change slightly from year to year, so you don’t need to write it in stone, but you do need to write it! And, just have fun with it! Imagine writing a journal entry 5 or 10 years out and reflecting back over those years. Where do you want to be in your life in the future? What was the journey like that took you there? How does it look, feel, taste, smell, and sound? Use all of your senses in your writing! And, know that if you can dream it, you can become it. Keep this story handy where you can revisit it often or even hang it where you will see it every day. You can even make a vision board where you cut out pictures that tell your story. Your vision story is so powerful that it will gently nudge and guide you along your path, even sub-consciously. The goal is to live each day from your vision (as my coach & mentor, Lorin Beller of Big Fish Nation always says).
4) And then comes … a big fat reality check.
Okay, so now you have come to terms with what your calling is and even have a beautiful vision story of where the next five or ten years shall take you. Now comes the tough part. Look around you. What activities or people in your life are not currently serving you or bringing you to the blissful place that you saw in your vision? What beliefs in your own mind are stopping you from experiencing pure joy and chasing your dreams? Are there certain people in your life that only take from you & never give back, or perhaps they have a negative energy that brings you down and no matter what you try, you just can’t seem to help them? Do you have bad habits that are stopping you from reaching your goals? Self-doubt? All of these and more are huge road blocks that won’t let you get to your happy place. Identifying them is critical, and, if you can’t do it alone, I would suggest hiring a life coach (possibly the best self-investment you will ever make), if you can swing it! If you are on a budget, no problem! Get to journaling for opportunities of self-discovery, get to reading to help you better understand whatever-it-is-that-you-need-to-gain-more-knowledge about, and get to networking with like-minded folks who can help you along your path.
5) Finally: A plan of action.
Now comes the really tough part – work! It’s time to “make it happen.” Put together everything you’ve just learned about yourself and come up with a plan of action. What do you need to change or do differently to get to that special place in your vision story? Maybe you have some major changes to make. Don’t let that stress you or deter you from your dreams. Rome wasn’t built in a day, you know. Just take one step at a time. What are a few daily habits you can change to get you on the path of your dreams? What are some tools or accountability systems you can put in place to set yourself up for long-term success? Start out with just one or two changes at a time. Be gentle with yourself if you get off the path. Just pick yourself up and start again. Don’t forget to give yourself credit for even the baby steps you make towards a new you. You’re doing it! The small changes you start to make in thinking, habits, energy and vibrations are going to set BIG, wonderful, beautiful side-effects into place. Warning: you might just find yourself overflowing with joy and all of your dreams coming true. Enjoy … you deserve it!
Happy New Year to you all!! I hope you have gained at least a little insight or inspiration from this blog, which is a new beginning for me! I absolutely love writing and helping people “tap into their light” so to speak, and this is a fun little side-project for me. “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” – Marrianne Williamson. So, this blog is a creative outlet that fulfills some of my soul’s work. Thank you for reading and helping me along my journey. I will be going deeper into these subjects touched on today as well as many others pertaining to life, health, wellness, business, yoga, meditation, spirituality, and all other aspects of living that make life so beautiful when in harmony. I always love to hear from you so, please feel free to comment or contact me, personally.
Until next time… much peace, love & light!
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