Since the start of 2016 I have changed a lot of things in my life; reduced drinking, exercised regularly, evaluated the type of people I had close to me and I spent more time by myself. Those were all great, but it wasn't until the start of 2017 and while travelling that I started really thinking about how I wanted my life to be, and who I wanted to be in it.
I embarked on my solo traveling expedition with the goal of enjoying the whole experiencing but also learning more about myself than I have over the last 28 years. That was my intention. Which I feel I achieved. Each day was amazing, even the days where I was over it, tired and sometimes lonely, my intention of enjoying and learning from the experience was at the core, no matter what kind of day. My intention for my trip came through each and every day, because I was clear about it.
Towards the end of my trip, the vibe shifted a little and I was on a My Chi Journey retreat for six days. The retreat was focused on finding your balance and flow in the every day and creating a life that you love. It was time to revaluate exactly what I wanted my life, but right now, each day to look like. Each day, I want to experience:
Happiness and Joy - I don't want just fleeting moments of pleasure or small snippets of these feelings every now and again, I want it everyday. Obviously I will feel these feelings to various degrees on different days, but I want to feel them. Everyday.
Intent action - I want there to be a goal achieved or a 'win' for each day, no matter how small. I want to know that when I go to sleep, I lived that day the way I wanted to live it and that it was lived aligned with my values, which is driven by my intentions.
Compassion - One of the biggest things I want to work on is showing more compassion to the people in my life. I do not want to become consumed and overwhelmed by what is happening in the lives of those around me, but show love and understanding for their journeys and support them where necessary.
Growth - I want everyday to have an element of growth. This can be mentally or physically. Professionally or personally. I want to experience growth. To me that will be in various forms - writing this blog post and thinking about what it is that needs to shift in my life - getting through another deathly crossfit workout knowing I smashed those burpee box jumps (yeah right); or, taking a new job that will push and challenge me everyday, a job that scares me just a little.
Now this may seem like a lot to want to happen every day, but it's not when you shift small aspects of your attention each day.
For example: by knowing that my intention is to find happiness and joy in each day, I do things that I know will give me that. I find happiness when I spend time out and about with Duke, my partners golden labrador. So each day, I take him to the beach, or a walk or the dog wash (that was fun...), that makes me happy. I get to be outside in the fresh air, I get to watch a ridiculously happy dog sniff and take in every single thing he encounters, and that reminds me to do the same (not the sniffing part). It also means I get at least 15-30mins of exercise (even if just walking) every day.
Because I want to be more intentional about certain things I do, I've noticed that my enjoyment of binging on Netflix has decreased. I have lost interest in a lot of TV shows that I use to enjoy that let's face it, were mind numbing, time filling shows that I don't seem to want to watch anymore. Instead, I want to read (currently reading Conversations with God - I would highly recommend - it's not religious), I want to blog more and share the current journey I'm on, I want to exercise and get fitter, I want to be outside in nature, or I want to nap (which I truthfully find extremely productive and relaxing).
I have also noticed that I have more room within myself to be more mindful. I'm not finding things to distract myself or to fill time with for the sake of filling time. I'm learning about what I like, what I don't like, what I want to spend time and energy on and what I don't.
I honestly don't think I would be so aware of all of this, if I wasn't intentional about what each day looked like for me. If I just let each day consume me by what the world believes is important or urgent, I lose sight of what it is I actually want to do and focus on. At the retreat we did an exercise where we wrote down what our perfect day looked like, exactly how you wanted it to be. My challenge now is, to everyday live as closely aligned to that perfect day as I can.
The first step I took towards this, was understand what drives my decision making; then I broke down what I wanted to achieve to feel fulfilled, which then helped me set my above intentions.
I'll let you know how it goes after a couple of months as I can imagine some of these things will change as life continues to change.
If you're looking to start a shift within your life - my top tip to you is to first ask yourself this question:
What are the values that drive my decisions every day?