It’s finally here…the first day of the year. An opportunity to start fresh. My head is buzzing with ideas for the new year. I have so many things in mind that I feel a bit scattered. To un-scatter myself I am focusing on what I can do to position myself for breakthrough in 2018.
Last year I welcomed 2017 with a personal challenge to simplify. I focused on pairing down my wardrobe using Project 333 as a guideline. Throughout the year I continued to let go of stuff that no longer added value to my life. My husband and I also completed some home projects that had been on our radar for a few years.
As I look back at 2017 these are the 3 lessons I want to leverage in 2018:
- Cultivating a sound mind
- Intentionally practice gratitude
- Create a plan
Cultivating a sound mind
I strongly believe that a key to success in the simplifying process is to let go of mindsets and beliefs that don’t support our goals. Being in the right mindset will bring you to a place where your thoughts, words and actions are aligned with your goals, values & purpose. Cultivating a sound mind is a very intentional process. It’s very much like cultivating a habit. You have to practice it intentionally over and over again until it becomes second nature.
In 2015 when I started decluttering our home I struggled to let go of jewelry making supplies. It should’ve been a no brainer but it wasn’t. I hesitated. Excuses for why I shouldn’t let go kept coming up. Instead of being content with holding on I made it a point to dig deeper. Why can’t I easily let go? What is holding me back? As I went deeper and deeper I uncovered that I was embracing a poverty mindset.
A mindset that would have me believe that if I let go I might not be able to afford it again. Once I discovered the root cause I made the choice to let it go. I certainly did not want to embrace a poverty mindset. The best thing happened next. As soon as I decided to let it go I remembered a young girl I had met earlier in the year. A 9th grader so passionate about jewelry making that she had already laid out a plan to launch her own business. She was the perfect recipient for all those supplies. My whole perspective shifted as I realized I could invest in this young girl’s future even in this small way.
In 2018 I want to continue cultivating a sound mind. I am doing so by joining Dr. Caroline Leaf in her 21 Day Brain Detox Plan. Dr. Caroline Leaf is a renown cognitive neuroscientist specializing in neuropsychology. She has seen major breakthroughs in the science of thought as it relates to learning, thinking and potential. I gave my mom a bundle that included this brain detox as a gift last year. She shared the impact it made in her thought process.
The first 21 days are to reset your thinking. Then you need to continue cycling through the 21 days to strengthen the neural pathways and rewire your brain (hopefully I am saying that right). You are invited to join. By the way, I am not affiliated in any way shape or form to Dr. Caroline Leaf. I just love her research and how it is impacting lives for the better all over the world.
Intentionally practice gratitude
Mid 2016 I started journaling what I was grateful for at the end of the day every day. I aimed to list at least 3 things I was grateful for that day. Some days I struggled to come up with the 3 and other days I could easily list 10 things. I did this consistently for over a year. It was life changing.
I realized that we all know that we must be grateful but it’s just head knowledge. It has no real value or weight because you have not experienced first hand how this simple act can impact your life. When you make the time to write what you are grateful for the head knowledge slowly becomes experience.
Gratitude is the catalyst that moves you from a glass half-empty to a glass half-full perspective. Instead of being discontent for what is not there you become content with what is there. Creativity starts to flow and all of a sudden you start seeing clearly and even finding solutions you had not thought of before.
My aha moment was about a frivolous thing: our master closet. I kept trying to dream up ideas of how we could expand our closet but could not come up with a design that would not end up in gutting the entire bedroom. I grew more and more discontent. Soon that discontent expanded to other spaces within our home.
One day, after weeks of journaling gratitude, the closet caught my attention. In that moment I was overwhelmed with gratitude for all that we are blessed with. I realized we didn’t need a bigger closet at all. When I focus on gratitude on a daily basis I no longer see through the eyes of lack. I don’t see what’s missing. Instead I see what is there. So in 2018 I am getting back to intentionally exercising gratitude. There are many gratitude journals out there but my favorite one is made by Grateful Peoples.
Create a plan
There is debate between setting resolutions or not and between goal setting or not. I don’t get hung up on what to call it really. But I am in favor of having a plan in place. A plan helps me stay focused on what I want to accomplish and keeps me on track for how I’ll get there.
There are different levels at which to create a plan. I work my way down to bite size pieces. We usually overestimate what we can accomplish in a year and underestimate what we can accomplish in 5. Being realistic is key.
One habit I find immensely helpful is to plan my day the night before. Sometimes I plan 3 days at once. When I do this I know what I am aiming for when I wake up in the morning.
P.S. What will you leverage into 2018?