Life is so cool. Seriously.
Take a deep, cleansing breath to let go of the day.
Now lets talk about how to make life even more awesome.
Here are 3 practices that have made an incredibly positive impact in my life. In fact, my life would probably look a lot different right now if it weren't for these things. I'm not saying I'm perfect or do all of these things all the time without fail; it's definitely a work in progress. But these are all things that have hugely proved their worth to me by improving my life in a big way.
So here goes.
1. Have a morning ritual.
Having a morning ritual is a great way to habitually get yourself into a great state at the beginning of each day and get ready to tackle the day ahead. Your ritual should look more or less the same each day because the whole point is to make it a habit so that it becomes like second nature. After a while you don't have to try to do it, you just wake up and do it. Aristotle says, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit”. I love this quote because it inspires me to create positive habits in my life. They say it takes 30 days to create habit. I find that even after the first 2 weeks it becomes easier and easier. If establishing a morning ritual is something that you want to add to your life then I’d recommend first establishing a ritual that works for you personally and then committing to a 30 day morning ritual challenge to really kickstart this as a new habit. Then see how much it makes a difference in your life to constantly start the day off in a way that makes you feel amazing, clear minded and focused.
This can be as simple or as lengthy as you want it to be. Maybe you have a 9-5, Monday to Friday type job and your ritual is a a quick 10-15 mins to quietly sip on your coffee, meditate and set an intention for your day. Maybe you work from home and have the flexibility to add a workout or yoga practice to your ritual. Maybe you want your ritual to include a 5 min journaling session or maybe it’s really important to you to eat a nice big breakfast. Include whatever you want to in order to put yourself into a positive state and feel prepared to start the day strong and focused.
Take control of how you start your day. Don't let how you start your day control you. - Jason Zook
Going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time each day is also a great habit in addition to a morning ritual, but for me I find this so difficult since I don't have a consistent schedule. As a film industry worker and free lancer, the hours I work are all over the map so although in some ways it would be nice to have a little more routine in my life, I love the excitement of my job and find that I can just do a little short 10-20 minuet version of my ritual on days when I have to get up super early or just don't have as much time. My ritual always includes making my bed, coffee (ahhhh coffee), a few minuets in front of my planner to make an action plan for my day and determine what my priorities are, and some form of breakfast because I absolutely must eat or I’ll get hangry and thats not a good look. Also if I have to commute that day I'll listen to an audiobook or uplifting podcast in my car on the way to work. Now I'm using that time stuck in traffic productively and I'm enjoying my commute more. Boom! Getting 2 birds stonned at once!
2. Write down your goals.
In 1979 there was a study done at Harvard that proved the power of goal setting. An entire graduating class was asked if they have clear, written goals for their future and if they had plans to accomplish them. As it turns out 84% had no specific goals at all, 13% had goals but they weren't specific and weren’t written down and only 3% had clear, specific goals that they had written down. A decade later the class was interviewed a second time and the 13% who had set goals were on average earning twice as much as 84% who didn't have goals at all. But the 3% who had set clear goals AND written them down where earning on average 10 times more than all the rest of the grads.
If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten.
If you don’t have clear, written out goals for yourself then I’d highly recommend you set aside some time to really think about what you want out of life. Think about what you’d ideally like to be doing for a job, where you would ideally live, if you have a certain car you want to be driving or a fitness goal you want to achieve. Then set incredibly clear, time bound goals for each area of you life. I categorize mine into Health, Personal and Career and I set 10 year, 5 year and 1 year goals.
The more clearly you can visualize your goals the better. If you have a super clear image in your mind of what your ideal life looks like then you wont be able to help but consciously or subconsciously take little steps towards that each day. Of course actually having a plan to accomplish your goals is amazing and you should definitely do that too but having that clear vision is half the battle. And don’t settle. You are amazing and you deserve to live a fulfilling life that makes you happy. Go for that.
Meditation is amazing and there are so many different ways to do it. One of my very favourite ways to meditate is by floating, which is a practice where you spend 90 minuets in a sensory deprivation tank floating in the pitch black in really salty water so that your body is super buoyant and you can completely relax into the water and not have to try to float. Then you just close your eyes and literally do nothing. You just relax. You focus on your breath and try to quiet your mind. It’s an incredible experience. I find that the first 20 minutes or so my mind is still very active (especially if I haven't been meditating regularly) and I need to gently remind myself more then a few times to let go of my days events, let go of my stresses and let go of my problems. They’re not important right now. Time to just re-focus on my breath. Try to find bliss in the quiet. In the “in between” moments. Try to find bliss at the top of each inhale and the bottom of each exhale. Then….. THEN the magic happens. I start to remember the bigger picture that can be so easy to forget in my day to day life. I remember whats really important and how little these “stressful” problems in my life matter. I think about my purpose in life. I think about how I can love people better. I think how I can use my life to make a positive impact in this world. It’s absolutely amazing.
I realize that not everyone has access to a sensory deprivation tank. Although I would love for it to be a more regular thing for me, it’s pricey and more of an occasional treat, but thats ok because it’s really just a tool to make meditation easier. Meditation is absolutely free and anyone can do it. You can find a comfortable seat on the ground, sitting on a pillow or on a chair with a straight back. Or you can lay down to meditate. I don't recommend you use you bed though or your brain might automatically go into sleepy time mode. Then just close your eyes and start my focusing on your breath. If thoughts enter your mind just let them move through your mind without judgment and then lovingly remind yourself to re-focus on your breathing. Inhale, Exhale. If your intention is to meditate on something in particular (maybe to access some creativity, or maybe you want to meditate on a mantra or particular thought) then I like to introduce this after I’ve already been meditating for a little while and my mind is already calm. Especially if I’m trying to use meditation for creativity I find it super helpful to first slow down my brain for a decent amount of time. Then once I’m in a very calm, stress-free, blissful state I gently allow my mind to begin to wander and thats where the creativity happens. Actually, this blog probably wouldn't exist at all if it wasn't for this type of meditation. I absolutely love it. Meditation has been such an incredible tool for me.
So there you have it! My 3 favourite practices that have really upgraded my life over the last few years. I highly recommend these things to anybody because I think they are all such valuable tools if they're used correctly. If you have any questions or want to chat about these things more, feel free to leave a comment below!