How is your 2018 going so far? I can't quite believe it's already the end of January, the first chapter in our 12 part book is almost complete. Are you all managing to stick to your personal goals and resolutions you set yourselves as the sun rose on the new year? In case you're finding yourself slipping, I'd love to talk about the new way I choose to work towards my targets after some self discovery and new practices.
New goals should be like a little encouraging voice in the background of your brain gently leading you in the right direction. Maybe steering you away from the treat cupboard, or guiding you towards the gym. Or maybe as a gentle reminder to be kind or to regularly call your mum. I used to be guilty of letting a new target become all consuming. Especially if it was a career goal. Are any of you the same? Rather than a dim hum of background guidance, my goals used to play on loud speaker at the forefront of my brain at all times. This often led to piling up the pressure, raising the stakes and often creating anxiety around the idea of achieving my goals. I am the person who proactively goes after what I would like in my life, but I used to enlist my whole heart and soul and pin them all onto that singular dream, which in turn put me in a danger zone. A high risk candidate for feeling broken if all didn't go quite to plan.
Of cours eI'm not saying being passionate is bad, its a wonderful and beautiful trait. But when I used to attach my every wish onto one goal, the journey became less important and the endgame was the only thing that mattered to me. If en route I had made a billion brilliant breakthroughs for myself but I didn't quite achieve the ultimate goal, then id see it as a complete failure. Id feel very low and take time to heal and process while piecing myself back together.
I decided recently that exerting this kind of emotional energy at all times was pretty exhausting and that this constant roller-coasting process was also draining away my happiness. Of course I still make goals, and big ones....but I now make sure I break them into smaller chunks that I know i will be able to achieve on the way to the big end zone. I also now ensure that I make time to congratulate myself on even the smallest of steps in the right direction. The feeling of achieving and proving yourself capable is incredibly satisfying and also quite addictive. This leads to you being even more likely to strive forwards to reach your next marker on your goal smashing journey.
I read a brilliant book at the end of last year called 'The Miracle Morning' by Hal Elrod. In his book, Hal encourages people to make the most of the first hour of their days. He suggests using meditation, exercise, planning and journalling to kickstart readers energy and focus their minds. He explains that this is more likely to set people off on the best possible start to their days in the best possible mindset. As i said, I thought the book was brilliant, however setting aside a whole hour for myself every morning wasn't particularly practical, especially while on tour in Asia where travel or theatre calls could be quite early. So Ive made myself a new little regime which Im calling my 'Calming Hour.' Each night I settle down for me time, to refocus and be grateful. I light a candle, make myself a cleansing tea, and reflect on all of the positives from the day. Sometimes i jot them down, sometimes i journal and make a gratitude list, and other times I just make a mental note and store it somewhere internal. Its a tiny practice, but this time set aside for myself sends me to sleep feeling positive after reliving the days highlights. It also makes me incredibly grateful for the things and people I have in my life, and eases me into a peaceful, anxiety free sleep, meaning I can wake the next day fresh and ready to make more happy moments.
Its worth noting, that from a distance some days feel completely rubbish and we can't wait to end them and start again. These are the days where it is extra important to write a gratitude list. These are the days that try to tip us off our path and test our willpower. But if you search through the day with a fine toothed comb I promise there will be positives in there waiting to be found. So even if a meeting didn't produce the outcome you'd hoped it would, maybe you felt confident in your pitch, or your new outfit, or maybe someone told you you looked great. Or if you're really letting yourself sulk and struggling to see the sunshine, maybe your positives for the day are that you could afford the travel costs to get to the meeting. Or that you have clean water to drink, or family to call when you're down.......there is literally always a positive if you let yourself find it.
If you would like to introduce a 'Calming Hour' into your own routine I would highly recommend it. Of course you can make it as personal as you like, maybe yours could include doodling, or meditating or even some yoga practice. But whatever it is you choose to do, male sure you bring all of your focus back to you, calming your mind and being wholeheartedly grateful. And always, always acknowledge your progress and be very proud of yourself.