A new year comes with a lot of excitement, resolutions and hype. I love this part of the year and every year I embrace this next chapter with that new year’s glow. But a week or two into the new year, excitement turns to overwhelm and anxiety; and rather than feeling ready for all the things I’m going to do, I feel defeated, not knowing where to start.
Sound familiar? This used to be my story. Every year, the pattern would repeat and I would feel powerless to follow through on the goals I’d set. This year, however, I feel different. It’s well into January and I still feel ready and I am busy executing my plan. I am actually following through. BOOYA!
Full disclosure, I had a 2-week break and only started my business year on the 10th of January. I had no computer and went completely offline for the entire trip. (I can already hear the gasps.) I know, it’s a little crazy for a blogger, but guess what, I had zero stress. I planned for it, made arrangements and scheduled what I needed to. I arrived back, relaxed and energized for the next part: taking my business and my life to the next level in my journey.
On our trip, we visited Spain and I snowboarded for the first time in my life! This was something I honestly, never thought I’d do. I just thought it was way too badass for someone like me, but nevertheless, I did it, and it kicked off my new year with a capital K!
I’ll be honest, I fell a lot. I mean, A LOT! I fell forward, on my back, on my butt, I tumbled and I struggled to stand up on the board. Every time I fell I half expected myself to get fed up and quit, but instead, I became kind of excited. I thought, “Oooh, that hurt. So, don’t do that.” Then I got up and tried again. Falling hard on the ice, makes you realise that you’re not going to break, making the entire concept of falling a lot less scary. I didn’t see it as embarrassing or sore, but almost like a badge of honour. Like, “Hells YEAH, one fall closer to a clear run.”
I just believed that I would be able to do it and eventually I could. I didn’t quite get my perfect run, but I don’t care. I can snow board, and I have the bruises to prove it. The most surprising thing was discovering how much fun I had and now hubby and I planning to make it an annual holiday.
Quite a jump, right? I had no idea I could do this, and now it’s a sport I want to include into my regular life. I’m thinking about future holidays with friends, picturing myself getting better and gliding down the slopes with a little more grace each year. Imagine I hadn’t tried, that I had given into fear and frustration. I would never have known how much joy this new activity could bring into my life.
The experience was more than fun. The intense physical activity of learning a new skill set my mindset for a powerful year. I’ll break it down into three steps:
1. Decide what you are going to do:
Make a plan and commit to it. Towards the end of last year, I had planned to get my new year organized before going on my trip. I kept pushing it out to meet deadlines and before I knew it, I only had a week before my trip, with zero plan for 2018. It was anxiety-city over here, until found a 4-hour workshop to plan my entire year! It was incredible. I blocked off my time, and got it done in those 4 hours. Resulting in a completely automated business during my trip and a calendar that lives right next to my desk, telling me exactly what I need to today, so that I keep moving forward.
Business aside, what is the thing you want to do for yourself this year? Why not choose the biggest, craziest goal? How can you surprise yourself? How do you want to grow this year? Go on, pick a challenge and decide with every fiber that you will do it, no matter what it takes.
2. Do it. Every single step, just as you planned:
Nothing happens without follow through. If you make a plan, you have to follow the steps. You’ve made your list, you know what you need to do, so do it. If you make a mistake, that’s okay. Remember you’re simply learning another way it’s not going to work, allowing you to move on to the next step or to find an alternative route.
The trick is to get up, dust off and try again as fast as possible. Remember that you committed to this goal. Refuse to give in to frustration and excuses and you will get it done!
3. Believe and repeat:
Now, I know a year is a long time and it’s hard to stay 100% into it 100% of the time. When you hit a low moment, honour that feeling. Give yourself a little time off and then get back up. You must keep going, keep believing and trust that you will get where you’re going.
If you get way-low and you’re struggling to get up remember that you are attracting what you feel. Do something that makes you feel good, and you’ll start feeling ready for more. For a crash course in upping your happy-levels, do this free Happy Habits Audio Workshop. As soon as you feel great in you’re here-and-now, you will get closer to even more of what you love and what feeds your joy.
You got this lady! Remember that when trying something new or pushing for a new level, you will fall, a lot! But you won’t break. You are stronger and more resilient than you know. The more you try, the more confidence will grow from within and before you know it, you will feel invincible. You will be able to push with everything you have, towards your best year yet.
There seems to be a lot of confusion around Feminism. This confusion causes conflict, expectation and pressure that takes away from what it’s really all about. It is probably one of the most important movements of our lifetimes, and our grandparents’ lifetimes. It is a movement aimed at a simple ideal: equality.
Contrary to the popular belief that Feminism is exclusive to being a lesbian who hates men, fashion and makeup (although that is an option), it is simply about giving the same opportunities to all people, without judgement, expectation and prejudice.
It is not about women being better than men or renouncing everything that makes us feminine and it is not about creating another exclusive society that sets more rules to live by.
No-one is proud of their character flaws and our typical response is shame and self-hate. Judgement is at the top of the list of nasty flaws we hide and don’t talk about. I have struggled with insecurity around my identity and my go to defence mechanism for this is judgement. While this doesn’t put me in the best light, I want to share it with you as understanding the meaning behind judgement has turned it into a useful tool rather than the ugly crutch I used to lean on.
In the past, I was so afraid of revealing my true being and my vulnerabilities that I would shield them by critiquing others and myself, usually adding humour to further hide. While doing my first round of decluttering close to a year ago, I noticed this pattern and how I was using it to bury my true self. Now, I had made the commitment to work on myself and when you do that there is no room for hiding. The faster you face up to your blocks and fearful beliefs, the faster you grow and the faster you get closer to your vision.
Seeing the total pattern, I saw the vicious cycle I was in: I would have a judgemental thought/ action about someone and then immediately feel guilty and ashamed, judging myself and so I would go on. Learning more on the topic, I discovered that my brain had the best intentions. There was something that would be painful for me to face up to and my brain was trying to protect me from that truth. The irony, of course, is that it stunts your personal growth and you are not protecting yourself, but harming yourself in the long run.
This was a major breakthrough that immediately broke the cycle of perpetual judgemental thinking. I decided to stop judging myself and chose to see the positive intention in my thoughts and actions. I did this by acknowledging the judgemental thought as soon as I recognised it and following a process learn from it.
Next, I needed to address the source. I needed to understand what my brain didn’t want me to see so that I could learn the lesson and clear the pattern with forgiveness. My strategy was simple. I would use my defence mechanism as a tool. I became vigilant in noticing judgemental thoughts as they popped into my head and followed a 3 step process each time.
These three steps break the vicious cycle of judgement as a crutch:
STEP 1: How can I see this with love?
Judgement and insecurity come from a place of fear. They help you avoid; to keep people and painful emotions away from you, but when you choose to see your thought with love, you acknowledge its best intention and you let your guard down so you can see what it is trying to hide. So right there, when and where you have the thought, say (to yourself) “How can I see this with love?” If that’s all a bit too woo-woo for you, you could use either of these options too, “Mmmm, that’s interesting, I wonder what that means?” or “How can I see this positively?” That takes the edge off, allowing you to change your response to a more authentic expression of your true self. With this first step, I am choosing my response and how I want to participate in the situation and I immediately feel safer and more secure to do the next step.
STEP 2: What is the lesson?
Still in the moment ask yourself, “What is this trying to teach me about myself?” Or “What is the lesson here?” When I ask these questions in my head I always get an answer or a realisation of how I am falling into old patterns. A couple of times I have even experienced profound moments of clarity where I suddenly see a problem from a new perspective that allows me to deal with it and move forward. However small or big the realisation, I make a note of it right there so that I remember to do the third step later when I have some time to myself. (If you’re worried you’ll forget, pretend you’re writing a text and make a quick note on your phone.) The answer isn’t always obvious, so if you’re feeling a little stuck, try looking at your judgement as a reverse mirror for your insecurity. If your thoughts are commenting on someone’s point of view, it is likely you are insecure about your own perspective on the topic. Ask yourself why this is? Do you feel unqualified to have an opinion or like you might look stupid? That’s what you need to look at a bit more deeply in step 3.
Now, these first two steps might seem like a lot of work in a social situation, but with a bit of practice you will get to know yourself better and find that you run through them in under a minute.
STEP 3: Let it go.
A bit later, when you have some time to yourself, the last step is to address your fearful pattern so that you can clear it with forgiveness work. When you do forgiveness work on your fearful patterns, you are able to clear and let them go so that you can get closer to your personal truth and who you truly are. The principal is to forgive the situation, yourself for your part and the other party involved. This is not AA and you don’t need to make contact or say it out loud. What is important is that you acknowledge the experience and then forgive any blame as you accept the lesson and the opprtunity to learn more about yourself.
While I would love to say that today I don’t have any judgemental thoughts, that is just not the reality (yet). However now that understand that my judgmental thoughts are really signs that there is more to learn and more to clear, I actually celebrate them. I know they have nothing to do with the person or situation I am judging and everything to do with me getting to the next level in my journey. Every fearful belief that I clear leaves me with more clarity and increases my drive towards my vision. Ultimately the goal of this practice is to clear these lessons until I no longer have a use for judgemental thoughts, meaning I won’t have them anymore. But that is a long, so for now, I choose to see these thoughts with love use them for good and for growth.
A designer’s guide to finding yourself.
A little less than a year ago I was feeling very frustrated with my life. The only things I loved about it were my husband and yoga. Of course I have wonderful family and friends, but as you may know, that does not necessarily reflect happiness within. Like a slap in the face, I turned thirty. It was a huge wake up call that said, “Hey, life is happening, whether you’re here or not!” (more…)