Happy New Year, friends!
Do you make resolutions? I do. I try to make them realistic, but even then it can be difficult to maintain life changes when faced with the momentum of daily life. Not to mention the bumps in the road and unexpected stuff that happens to all of us. But I have a trick to share with you that can make your resolutions – and any changes you want to make in your life – monumentally easier.
Do you ever feel that trying to make a change is like swimming against the tide? Like no matter how hard you try, you keep getting pushed back to where you began?
What if you stopped trying so hard, and let the tide take you?
I’m not saying to give up your goals or dreams. But instead of pushing so hard against the tide, what if you eased up on yourself and worked with the tide? Open your mind to where the waves are trying to take you, set your own direction, and then use the tide to push you further and faster than you ever could by swimming alone?
I promise, this works for more than beach days. This is how I use visualization and meditation in my life.
This is how it works for me: my resolution this New Year is to find my spark of joy every day, and follow it. To create more joy in my life. Now if I were going to swim against the tide and try to force joy into my life, I could make a list today of the things that make me feel joyful, and then create a calendar or schedule of ways to do those things.
I guarantee you that two weeks in, I would get swept off-track by an illness, a big work deadline, some family drama, or any other number of things.
So here’s my plan for working with the tide, and letting it carry me and support me in the direction of my goal:
I recognize that every day will be different, and what “joy” feels like to me one day could be very different from the next. For example, when I’m in bed sick with a cold, joy feels like laying in bed all day with warm fuzzy socks, a bowl of homemade soup, and a lighthearted movie. But when I’m feeling strong and the sun is shining, joy might feel like fresh air blowing in the windows, a phone call with my girlfriend, and a run along the beach. Every day is different.
To honor my changing needs and still move forward toward my goal, I listen first. And then I visualize what my heart and soul are telling me, so I can recall those images later in the day when I may be tempted to stray from my path toward joy-filled days. Visualization helps me notice when I’m thrown off my goal, and redirect myself.
This can all sound pretty vague if you’re not already using meditation and visualization in your life, so to help with that, I want to explain how it works in my daily life:
- Make Time: I wake myself in the morning with enough time to focus on me before the rest of my household needs me. (Yes, for me this means a 5:30 a.m. alarm. But trust me, it is so worth it.)
- Appreciation: First, I open my journal, and write about a few of the things that I appreciate in my life – the things that bring me joy. (A lot of people call this a ‘Gratitude Journal’. I just like the idea of ‘Appreciation’ better. It feels more like something I am deserving of.)
- Meditation (5-10 min.): Then I close my eyes, relax my body and allow my thoughts to happen. I pay attention to my thoughts and what’s going on in my mind. I go beyond the constant voice that’s so loud and always on repeat, to listen to the smaller, quieter voice that is more true to me. This meditation – this listening to myself – is only 5 or 10 minutes, but it’s a habit that helps me align my daily actions with what my heart and soul truly need.
- Visualize: Lastly, I take a few minutes to visualize my day. I picture the things that will bring me joy. I picture myself doing them, using all of my senses to make it as real as possible. When I go for a run today, what will the ocean air smell like? How will my legs feel? How will my body feel afterward?
One of the most important parts of this visualization process is that I also picture the obstacles to achieving my goal. For example, I imagine a huge rainstorm beginning just as I’m ready to start my run — will I still go? I imagine that my favorite running shirt is missing, or that my neighbor who always runs with me is sick and can’t go. How will I respond? Visualizing the obstacles to my joy helps me prepare to tackle them in a way that is aligned with my goals and intentions. It helps me feel prepared, and in the end, helps me be more successful.
This entire process takes maybe 20 to 30 minutes, and it establishes a strong base for me to more easily go through my day with intention and a sense of control over creating my best life.
A few other people have written wonderful posts on this topic as well. You may enjoy reading:
- “How to Use Visualization to Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions” by Andrea Jengel
- “How to Succeed at Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions” by Clayton Cook
- “How to Use Visualization to Achieve All of Your Goals This Year” from Shape Magazine
No matter what your resolutions are for 2018, try using this simple and powerful process for making it easier to create long-lasting, powerful change in your life. I hope it helps you like it helps me!
Happy New Year, my friends. I wish you all the very best in 2018.
With love & gratitude,
I’d love to hear: What are your resolutions for 2018? Tell me in the comments, or send me a message! I read every single one.