The word “goals” seems to get a different reaction from different people. For some “goals” brings excitement and motivation, but for others, it brings fear and anxiety. For me, I used to think of goals as things I wanted to do and when I was ready, I would pursue them. Goals were ideals for the future or for someone more serious about their life. Then one day, I heard a motivational speaker talking about the simplicity of goals. He said, “Goals are just a task with a deadline.” This transformed the way I thought about my life and now, I live my life by setting goals.
Setting goals start with a dream like, “Someday, I want to plant a garden.” We can make this dream a reality by setting a deadline. For example, “I want to plant a garden by April.” We can further clarify this goal by adding more specifics. “I want to plant a 6′ x 9′ garden by April.” Doesn’t it seem more doable now? Instead of a dream of having a garden, there is actually a plan to make that dream come true.
Begin by setting a small goal. What is something you have been procrastinating to do or dreaming of doing? Write it down. Then add a reasonable deadline. Think of the steps you need to do in order to accomplish your new goal. Each day, try to work on each step. When you finish the steps, you reach your goal!
Creating the life you love is possible by setting goals, one at a time, step by step.
Featured photo by Samuel Clara on Unsplash.
I am all about making my life simple and easy so I have time to do the things I love. Cleaning is not something I love to do, so why not make it easy. I began to realize that often I neglect a task just because the cleaning products are downstairs or in another room. When I end up doing that task later, it usually becomes a bigger task. How do I simplify cleaning? I start by putting the tools I need, where I need them.
Here are some easy ways to have your supplies within reach.
- In the bathroom, put windex or wipes under the sink. After getting ready in the morning, it will be easy to clean the counter or mirror as needed.
- In trash cans, put a roll of trash bags at the bottom. When you remove the trash, it will be easy to replace the liner right away.
- Find the places in your home where you can make cleaning easier. The idea is that you put the tools you need, where you need to use them.
When I sensed that my life was about to change in a big way, I found myself questioning everything about the way I lived. How was I spending my time? Who was I spending it with? What did I want to do? What was important to me? What did I value? The questions kept coming and I searched for answers. One activity that helped me sort through my questions, was to create a collage about my interests, passions, and who I wanted to be.
This is an easy project that can be completed in an afternoon. I used a sturdy piece of mixed media paper, some Modge Podge, and inspirational magazines. First, just thumb through the magazines and cut out anything that represents you or feels good to you. This can be words or pictures or colors. When you have a nice big pile, lay them all out and see if anything is missing. For example, maybe you love bike riding and you don’t have a picture of bicycles.
Once you are finished cutting, arrange your collection on your paper. Collages are fun because there isn’t a specific way to arrange the pieces. You can overlap, tear, and cut until you like your layout.
Next, pour some Modge Podge in a plastic cup and with a paint brush, start gluing the pieces down. Put a layer of glue under the image and then another layer on top. Continue working from one side to the other. When everything is glued down and dried, you may want to brush another layer of glue over the whole collage.
Creating a collage about yourself is a fun way to visually see what makes you happy and what you want your life to include. The collage is a nice reminder of what is important to you and allows you to see who you are at a glance.
Most people who enter my home ask me, “Where’s all your stuff?” At first I was confused, but after so many times of having to answer this, I know they are referring to the lack of paper piles. My mother was always shuffling papers and constantly looking for things that she knew were in one of her piles. Her piles consisted of mail, catalogs, letters, clipped articles, recipes, lists, notes, etc. She would read something, want to keep it, and then she put it in a pile. I soon realized that she put things in piles because she didn’t know where else to put it yet she wanted to keep it.
The piles became overwhelming to me. Moving the piles to use the table or searching again and again for my school permission slip that needed signing gave me stress. I decided in grade school that I didn’t like piles of papers. Hence, as an adult, I chose to handle my paper once.
Each time we pick up a piece of paper that needs handling, we waste time because we have to reread it, make a mental note about it, and then put it somewhere. If we don’t handle it at that moment, then we repeat these steps again and again until we do. Here’s an example. A piece of mail is opened and let’s say it is a bill. We look at it and put it down on our desk. Other mail we want to keep is looked at and placed on top such as catalogs, coupons, or advertising. A day passes and more mail comes which adds to the pile. We go shopping and have receipts, which are added to the pile. A week passes . . . see how the pile continues to grow?
Here’s an alternative scenario. A file system is in place to hold Bills, Receipts, To File, and Pending. We have a recipe box or binder. We have a designated place for reading material like a shelf or drawer. Now the mail comes or any papers. We open and sort the items, putting each item directly in their designated place. And that’s it . . . NO PILE!
How do we become so efficient? Follow these steps:
- Take your first pile and separate into categories such as: bills to pay, papers to file, things to read, receipts to keep, pending items, etc.
- Create a file or place for each category. With so much being digital now, you may even need a file for items to scan. Reading material can be a basket near your bed.
- Tackle each pile until all your paper is sorted.
- Now, commit that you handle all incoming paper once.
You won’t have to worry about finding things because everything is sorted. When you are ready to pay bills, they are all together. If you want to do your budget, your receipts are all together. You need something to read when you are getting a pedicure? Easy – it can be found with all your reading material. And the best thing is, you have no piles and all your paper is handled once!
Most mornings I begin my day with ten minutes of quietly sitting on my cloth covered bench in my closet and I meditate. I love this time by myself and have seen the positive effects first hand of this wonderful morning ritual. I feel calm, focused, and experience a sense of empowerment before my day begins.
I avoided learning about meditation for years because I thought you had to sit cross-legged or hold your fingers a certain way or hum a certain note. Meditation in its simplest form is just sitting in a comfortable position, being relaxed, and focusing on your breathe. It is learning how to let go of the thoughts that enter your mind.
These principles seem simple enough but what they teach us is so much bigger. By focusing on our breathe, we learn how to live in the present. Our breathe is happening right now, so as we focus on the inhale and the exhale, we keep our mind and our thoughts in the present. The past may involve regret or bitterness; the future may involve worry or anxiety. However, the present is what is happening now.
Throughout the day, our mind is bombarded with thoughts. Some are pleasant but others are filled with emotions that influence our mood. Through meditation, we learn to control our thoughts by simply letting them go. If we experience an uncomfortable thought, we do not need to let it ruin our day.
Meditation is probably the best kept secret to living mindfully and peacefully. I encourage you to try it and I highly recommend the Headspace App. This app has the cutest videos that explain meditation so clearly. Give it a try. It only takes ten minutes!
Featured photos by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash.