Are you bored with your life? Or feeling as though you are stuck in a rut?
Perhaps you have just returned from a summer trip, feeling less comfortable in your now tight clothes and feeling a little guilty about all those impulse purchases and expensive cocktails that you enjoyed? You may have even taken a fearful step forward onto the weighing scales or plucked up the courage to log into your online banking to assess the damage. Either way, this boredom often comes from a sense of ‘lack of control’ or an urge to withdraw from the outside world to lick your proverbial wounds. Have you been turning down invitations to socialize because you feel tired or don’t look your best’? Have you been letting yourself go emotionally or physically? When was the last time you tried something new?
It is important to consider whether this boredom is a product of self imposed isolation or even a fear of failure. The only constant in life is change. Change is imminent, however it is your responsibility to take charge and move in the direction of your desires. Here are 5 suggestions on how you can regain a level of control, purpose and joy in your life within the next 30 days.
Clear Your Space
Yes, you may have seen this suggestion previously in the post detailing the Art of the Perfect Slumber however, clutter can also stand in the way of your joy and sense of control. De-cluttering your space will declutter your thought process thus promoting a space of relaxation.
Marie Kondo, Author of the Best Selling book, ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing’, states that it is important to understand your ownership pattern because it is an expression of the values that guide your life. The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.
“Attachment to the past and fears concerning the future not only govern the way you select the items that you own but also represent the criteria by which you make choices in every aspect of your life, including your relationships with people and your job” – Marie Kondo
However changing lifestyle habits acquired over many years is often extremely difficult. You should be kind to yourself and mindful that this change of lifestyle is a process. Allocating even 10 minutes a day to decluttering allows you a sense of satisfaction that you have begun your journey and that you are being assertive.
Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step.
Create Your Vision Board
Vision Boards or dream boards as I like to call them, act as a roadmap to your personal ambitions, desires and goals in life. You wouldn’t go on a road trip without mapping out the most appropriate route, so why would you live your life any different?
Even if you are not a believer in the Law of Attraction, it is easy to understand how visualization can be a powerful exercise in exploring and identifying what you want out of life. Your vision board focuses on your thoughts and your feelings. The purpose of the vision board is to release your inhibitions, fears and self limiting thoughts and to think openly about what you truly want.
To get started here is what you will need:
- A Cork Board
- Scissors, tape and pins to put your board together.
- Magazines that you can cut images and quotes from/access to a printer (if needed)
- Allow yourself a stress-free hour or two to put your board together. You could even do this with a group of friends if you felt comfortable.
I know you do not want to hear the ‘B’ word on a Monday but budgeting is an essential element to your financial success. However making a plan with your money gives you more control and freedom. You are simply spending your money with intention on the purposes you have deemed to be high priority.
Part of good budgeting is acknowledging poor decisions you have made in the past and using this reflection as motivation of how you want your life to be in the future. As a general rule of thumb your budget should be prioritized in the following order (1) Savings, (2) Bills and (3) Leisure.
Savings: Depending on your personal circumstances it is recommended to save 20% of you Net Income. This practice was popularized by Harvard Law Professor and Finance Guru, Senator Elizabeth Warren. However this may be something you need to gradually build up to or could possibly exceed. Remember slow and steady progress will always out perform being stagnant, so do not feel discouraged if you do not reach that 20% – it will build up!
Bills: It is recommended that you Rent/Mortgage does not exceed 30% of your paycheck for the month. If this ratio is not being met then you may need to look at how you can make changes to your current arrangement. If you are not meeting payments or you are in arrears, communication is vital. Pick up the phone and initiate a dialogue about payment plans and debt management. This will save you the stress and anxiety which accompanies procrastination.
Leisure: Now the fun part, time to look at your vision board and review what it is in your life that brings you joy, fulfillment and meaning. Research from San Francisco State University found that people who spent money on experiences rather than possessions benefited from more prolonged feelings of joy and happiness. Creating memories of experiences with our loved ones can last a lifetime.
Useful Apps for Budgeting:
- Mint: (Ios, Android) – this app uses the same security as banks to create and monitor a personalized budget for you.
- EveryDollar: (Ios, Android) – this app syncs your accounts to provide you with a budget and debt management program.
Try the 30 Day Yoga Challenge
In the spirit of taking the next 30 days to reawaken your joy and regain your control, it is important to be open to new experiences. So why not challenge yourself to a 30 Day Yoga Challenge. Yoga can be as gentle or as strenuous as you choose.
Depending on your level of fitness and personal needs you may prefer a more calming source of practice such as restorative yoga or the more physically demanding Bikram Yoga practiced in a heated room to promote optimum opportunity to detox and perspire. Vinyasa can provide a happy medium between the two, there is plenty of opportunity to explore your preferences. The challenge only motivates you to dedicate 45-90 minutes a day to yourself, if you do not get there today, you simply try again tomorrow.
The physiological benefits of Yoga include; increased flexibility, muscle tone and strength, in addition to improved posture, sleeping patterns and tension relief. It is the benefits to your general well being and mental health however which is most intriguing. Yoga teaches you to lean into the discomfort and reminds you to use your breathing as a source of relief. When these lessons are applied to your everyday life and everyday stresses, it provides you with a sense of strength, resilience and calm.
The joy of yoga is that you can practice any where at any time at your choosing. When you roll out that mat you know you are intentionally caring for you and prioritizing your personal well being.
Limit Television Viewing & Online Browsing
Balancing television, phone calls, screen time, text messages and other stimuli can really affect your mood and ability to concentrate. In 2009, Mathias Basner, MD, MS, MSc, and David F. Dinges, PhD, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that TV viewing was the most predominant pre-sleep activity – accounting for almost 50 percent of 21,475 participants.
Reducing your exposure to screens before bedtime is an important part of the ‘winding down’ process at the end of the day. For the next 30 days it may be helpful to begin this practice with 5 minutes of a dedicated screen detox and slowly expand this time depending on your tolerance.
Research conducted by University of Maryland sociologists reviewing 30 years of data focused on self-evaluated happiness and media use, found that happy people watch on average one hour less television per day than those who suffer from depression. Excessive Television watching has also been linked to feelings of procrastination and binge-eating.
Challenging yourself to reducing the time spent watching television or engaging in online browsing may prompt you to meet with friends (IRL) or engage in active leisure activities. In addition you could try swopping movies to documentaries or a good old fashioned book.
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