I want to start off by saying that I am in no way an expert on this thing we call life. I have had my fair share of ups and downs (trust me) and on this roller coaster ride they are inevitable. I have been at some pretty low points and have resorted to some pretty extreme measures in order to “help” myself or “save” myself.
What I learned, after various attempts to “fix” myself, was that I had the power all along, and all I had to do to turn my life around was to be able to see that. Self-help books didn’t help, counselling didn’t help, and other “healing” techniques didn’t seem to help (for me anyways) because as I said, the only thing that was stopping me from having a good, purposeful life was myself and I needed to learn that I held the power within me. I held the power to step into who I am and trust that I had what it takes inside of me to let go of past issues and be who I am meant to be.
And wow, what an incredible realization that was. I still have issues like everyone else, but these are the tools that have helped me on this journey toward living a more purposeful, connected, and meaningful life. I hope the following tools can help you as much as they’ve helped me.
Week 1: Journal & Set Your Intentions
1. During this first week of your new life, try and get up half an hour earlier each day. Journal between 1-3 pages every morning, specifically doing stream of consciousness journaling and just write whatever is in your head, even “this is stupid, I’m tired, I don’t want to do this.” Whatever comes to mind, just write it down.
I have found this to be extremely beneficial first thing in the morning, as having all your thoughts out of your head and onto paper clears up your mind for the rest of the day so you don’t have to waste time thinking about the same things over again. At first it may seem pointless and even monotonous, but eventually you will begin to gain insight about what is working and what isn’t working in your life.
2. Use some of this journaling time at the beginning of the week to set out your intentions for what you would like to change, or consider some new activities you would like to start doing. Become clear on what it is that you want out of life and record those ideas in your journal. You may be amazed with what the simple act of putting things on paper can do to bring ideas to fruition.
3. Try to stay away from electronic devices in the early morning hours. Don’t wake up and check your phone first thing. If you use it as an alarm, just turn it off and get started on your morning routine.
Week 2: Clean Up Your Space, Mind & Your Diet
1. Get organized. Sort out your things, clean out your closet, and do a massive spring-cleaning, aiming to de-clutter your space. Having a clean and peaceful environment will help you feel calmer and less anxious. Write down a list of things you need to get done (calling your mother, a project, banking) whatever it is and do at least one of these tasks each day.
This also helps clear up some space in your head. If something pops up that you can do right away, just do it. I need to take the garbage out, I should water the plants, I have to respond to that email.. etc. If you think it, try to do it right away. This will get you in the habit of just getting things done.
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2. Try cutting out processed foods altogether. This may mean a bit more effort on your part, but for your health’s sake it’s worth it. Depending on what your diet already looks like, you may want to consider adding in a green smoothie and a salad daily and trying out some new, healthy recipes.
For the more adventurous eater, you may want to try a simple cleanse, which can really help get the ball rolling on a new, healthier lifestyle. Try and limit eating out, and if you do, choose healthier options. Start drinking warm lemon water every morning when you wake up, before anything else.
3. Instead of watching T.V. in the evening, take a nice walk or read a book. Try to keep screen time to a minimum; this will help you break your habit or addiction to it and you’ll feel much better.
Week 3: Cut Ties To Friendships & Things That No Longer Serve You
1. By now, you are probably feeling clearer on who you are and what you want. I’m quite certain that we all have friends that we know don’t have our best interest at heart, or who seem to drag us down. Quit making plans with those people. If they are people you are dating or seeing, and you don’t see any real potential, do yourselves both a favour and quit pursuing them out of loneliness and a need for companionship.
You are wasting time that could be better spent bettering yourself. Sometimes, (and this is important) you really do need to put yourself first. You can only give so much before you start giving away your own worth. If people don’t recognize that, move on.
2. Do you have any unhealthy addictions? Chances are, you do and it’s time to own up to it. If at some point in the back of your head you have thought I really watch too much television, I really shouldn’t be drinking so much or so often, I know smoking is bad for me, I need to quit, or I should really cut back on caffeine then it’s likely that you do have an unhealthy addiction and admitting it is the first step towards being able to change it.
Take the necessary steps to break the addiction. If you need to take a one month alcohol cleanse, then do it. If you need to take a break from weed, do it. Try cutting back on sugar and anything else that you know is harmful to your body.
3. Replace addictions with something else. Take up a healthy activity like running, yoga, swimming etc. Go for a hike! Get out in nature, explore. Try replacing alcohol with kombucha or coffee with green juice or tea. Just do something differently for a while and see how you feel, mentally and physically.
Week 4: Cut the Shit & Live The Life You’ve Always Imagined
1. What are your long-term goals? What are the ideas or plans you have always had in the back of your mind and thought, one day? What can you do right now to get yourself closer to those goals? Start making a plan. You want to go travelling? Set up a savings plan and set a date.
This will motivate you to make it happen. If you have enough funds, book the plane ticket: this will make it easier to save knowing that it is actually going to happen. You want to move or experience a new state/province? Start looking for a place and cutting any ties that keep you feeling stuck. Quit buying things and accumulating more debt; paying off your debt will give you the ultimate sense of freedom.
2. Are you in a relationship that you feel is holding you back or you know in your heart that you don’t want to be in it anymore? Make a move. Either end it, or make sure it’s known that certain things need to change. Wasting your life in a relationship you don’t want to be in is very damaging to your soul and self-worth. Staying in something out of fear of change is no excuse.
Do what you know is best for you (I really can’t stress this enough!). Alternatively, is there someone you’ve been seeing and have wanted to take it to the next level, but aren’t sure how? Express your feelings and say what you want. Either they feel the same or they don’t, but you might as well find out!
3. Take risks and take chances. Step into the fear of the unknown and out of your comfort zone. After all, life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Be bold. Say “hi” to a stranger at a bookstore, get a new haircut, try out skydiving, face your fears! Finally learn piano, guitar, German! Do one thing a day that scares you; it’s invigorating to feel so alive!
You are amazing, you are awesome and most importantly, you are worth it. You, more than anyone else, deserve your love, care and attention. Don’t forget that. You’ve got this!
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