Today’s guest post is AMAZING, guys! Hands down, one of the best articles I’ve read in a really long time. Especially since dude…it’s almost February! Like, where the heck did January go? I’ve had all these big plans for the new year, and I haven’t gotten around to doing any of them!
Reading Ash’s post was just the kick in the butt that I needed! Enjoy, and let us know what you think!
There’s no doubt about it; life is crazy. Technology has made it possible for us to be more efficient, but it also offers non-stop pestering and an infinite world of distractions. Managing dreams and goals with everyday craziness is much easier said than done.
I’ve had some big goals sitting on the backburner for a while. Every day I’d be thinking that there were things I should be doing, but all that anxiety and guilt never drove me to take action. I’m determined to make things happen though, so I took it upon myself to figure out an approach that can boost productivity and help me develop a plan of action that I actually follow through on. This is the process I follow to make life happen — on my terms.
Think (And Ink!)
It’s easy to think it takes a lucky break to make it in the world, but it really starts with knowing what we want. How many of us take the time to think about what we need to do to get what we want from life? More important, how many of us even know what we want?
We’ll never get to our ultimate destination looking at where we are. Moving forward requires looking forward and getting a sense of direction. The easiest way to do this is to sit down and simply think. Whether we immediately come up with an answer or we allow time for things to marinate, we want to find the mental zone of a blank and open mind. Once we have clarity and we’re open to all suggestions, answers and ideas can flow to us easily and naturally.
In short, taking the time to think about what gets us inspired is SO important. Understanding our desires and inspirations allows us to create decisive and meaningful goals. And just as important? Writing it down! Getting things down on paper gives us the structure and certainty that lets our brain switch off the anxiety. And once we have our thoughts compiled into a list, we have a reminder of what we want to focus and work towards. Sitting around doing nothing is drab compared to working on meaningful tasks and creating exciting opportunities. That is the kind of environment that gets us to make changes and actions that fulfill us and make our dreams a reality.
Consider The Shoulds
While we’re thinking about what we want, we also need to consider the things we know we should be doing. We can write lists all day, but we’re going to have to make changes to make our goals a reality. John Assaraf, founder of My Neurogym and contributor to The Secret, says that money and success is a result of behavior which is a result of our thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and habits. There are actions we know our goals require, but we’re not doing them because we haven’t developed the habits or the mindset. If we want to get anywhere, we’re going to have to acknowledge the things we need to be doing. Then we need to start doing them!
Aim For Wellness Over A “Quick Fix”
Feeling good means taking care of ourselves. If we put effort into addressing our well being, then we can expect energy and clarity in return. Take the easy way out with the minimal work of fake food and skipped meals, and we can look forward to a minimum return in our overall health.
We are what we eat, so the importance of balanced meals is a big one to tackle. In addition, we need to be listening to our bodies. And not applying band-aids with simple cover ups. Exhaustion probably warrants upping the z’s instead of adding more coffee. Stress and anxiety should warrant taking the time to unwind and gather our senses rather than piling on yet another task to the to-do list.
Things like coffee and pain reliever are really just little band-aids on an infected wound. Yes, we can keep putting on a clean one every time it starts to hurt, but the trouble isn’t going to stop until we address the infection. In fact, ignoring the problem with a band-aid is just going to make it worse. Obvious fixes lie in getting more sleep, exercising to destress, and minimizing our intake of foods that leave us bloated and lethargic. It’s not so easy to do overnight though. Luckily we have friends in the caffeinated yerba mate, the relaxing and sleep-inducing lavender, and quick metabolism-boosting walks. Healthier alternatives are always available, and making those kinds of changes will have a HUGE effect on our general well-being.
Kill Time With Inspiration
Candy crush beckons and Facebook whispers promises of new comments, but there are far better ways of spending our time. If we’re looking to pass the time then why not actually put it to good use? We could jot down blog to-do’s in Evernote, look for new posts from inspiring bloggers, read up on personal development, or find an article on a topic we’ve been meaning to learn about. Not only does this pass time, but it keeps our brain turning and exposes us to relevant concepts and new ideas. Education and inspiration are worth more time than social media (unless you’re building your network of course). Yeah, it doesn’t sound nearly as appealing as instant messaging, but think of it like snacking. Junk food sounds delicious, but if we’re not willing to snack on the carrot sticks sitting in the fridge then we’re obviously not hungry and we’re just wasting calories. Don’t waste calories on social media that would be better spent on something else.
Know Your Kicks
What gets you excited? What makes you feel down? It’s critical to know these things. As author Gretchen Rubin says in The Happiness Project, “What you do everyday matters more than what you do every once in awhile.”
Our productivity is determined by our everyday habits and choices. We need to know all the little things about us that impact how we are. There are basics we all need like say 9 solid hours of sleep, daily doses of sunshine, regular workouts, or taking a 5 minute break for every 30-60 minutes of work. It could be also be in the ridiculous like busting out a bathroom dance routine to boost our energy or sneaking in a YouTube cat video during lunch. Whatever it is, however mundane or silly, it’s about performing at our peak. If we can’t make things fun and pleasurable then we turn into zombies that age years without ever realizing it. Our daily kicks are precisely what need to be incorporated into every day.
All my thanks to Kayla for letting me share my ideas with everyone! Thanks for reading!
Ash Stevens is a mother, writer, and a wannabe shaman. She loves health, gardening, simplicity, culture, chocolate, and sarcasm. If she isn’t writing or talking family and relationships on her blog, then she’s surely playing badminton with the kids. Find her on Twitter or Facebook and make a new friend!
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