Life is a never-ending series of choices. Our amazing brains hand over simple decision making to our subconscious mind, to free up capacity for more complex and important situations. However, some of these automatic habit patterns no longer serve us. Consciousness of these mental subroutines is the first step in living a more meaningful life in alignment with our values.
Here are some tools that you can use to grow awareness and take back control. It will be my absolute honour to support you in implementing any of these techniques into your life:
Spending time every day quietly observing your breath and/or bodily sensations is incredibly valuable. The more time you spend in the part of your mind that observes your thoughts and sensations, rather than the part which thinks and feels, the more control and awareness you will have during the day. Meditation is an attention training practice of bringing your mind back to awareness whenever it wanders... again and again and again... with self-compassion. It is also a key component in uncovering your deep sense of purpose.
Daily (Stream of Consciousness) Journalling
Rumination and repetition of your thoughts is a waste of your precious mental energy. Spending time each morning writing down on paper whatever comes into your thoughts is a fantastic way of decluttering your mind. Not only will this put an end to a lot of mental chatter, but when you notice patterns in your writing, you will be inspired to make changes. Don’t hold back. Say what you want to say. Express yourself. After all, It’s just between you and the page.
Having a Solid Morning Routine
When you set your alarm, you are making an agreement to wake up at that time. Keep that agreement. Don’t snooze. Sit straight up in bed and shout “Yeah!” while fist pumping the air. You only need to get through less than a minute of heavy lethargy before you are up and running. Get straight out and make your bed then drink some water. Next, move your body. Perhaps some yoga or stretching. Then you are ready to fulfil your other agreements such as meditation and journalling. You will have a much better day when it begins this way. Every day is precious.
There are large numbers of stories constantly repeating in your mind. Some of them are very useful and others are limiting. Your self-concept has developed over your whole life and, if you want to change this, you need to change these stories. Once you become aware of a limiting belief that you want to shift, you can start affirming the new, opposite belief to replace the old story. Another use of affirmations is to embed a useful concept into your thinking. If you come across an idea that you would like to embody, tell yourself that you are or that you do that thing. Taking actions that support your affirmations will multiply their effectiveness. I read my affirmations aloud once an hour, ten times a day.
Write a Personal User Guide
There are two main advantages to writing a “how-to” about yourself. You get to know yourself better and, if you share it, other people can get to know you too. Everyone looks at each other and the world through the lens of their personal perspective. This means that there will always be assumptions and misinterpretations when we interact with other people. To minimise these errors and manage expectations, we can write and share a document outlining important aspects of our lives. This deepens our connections and helps people make informed choices about their relationship with us. My user guide includes my self-concept, vision, dreams, core values, virtues, flaws, limiting beliefs, role models, and useful tools.
Whether or not you have mapped out your vision and uncovered your core values, you can use goals to guide and track your progress towards your best self. It’s important to see goals as providing guidance and direction as you enjoy the journey. If your happiness and self worth are based on the achievement of the goal, then you will be missing out on the daily wellbeing that comes from striving forward while living in the moment. Set goals that are 3-5 years in the future and then break them down into smaller and smaller parts, until you have chosen powerful daily habits to cultivate. Periodically check in and celebrate your progress towards the goal and adjust course if necessary.
Build Relationships with Daily Check-In’s
A check-in is different to a conversation. It is an adaptation from a method of communication called ‘Way of Council’ that is used in Heart Sharing Circles. When two or more people agree to check-in with each other, they take turns speaking one at a time. Without interruption, each person speaks from their own perspective (using ‘I’ rather than ‘we’ or ‘you’) and focuses on their feelings and needs, rather than stories. The other person/people silently hold space for the speaker and only respond with “thank you for sharing”. Using this method creates a safe space for people to communicate what is alive in them at that moment and builds relationships via empathy and understanding.
Prioritising some or all of these techniques will have a lasting and profound impact on your wellbeing. I wish you luck and strength on your journey and I am here to support you on your way towards your best self!
I am a rational, secular, humanist, personal developer. I am a semi-spiritual, men’s work advocating, feminist, musical, meditative man. I am a work in progress. I tenaciously strive towards my authentic, ideal self, seeing it as a compass point rather than a destination. I compassionately accept the perpetual gap between my actual and ideal self as I appreciate how far I have already travelled. I take opportunities, appreciate my virtues and own my flaws and shadows. I am committed to a deep sense of purpose to create a world of safety by helping people improve their relationships with themselves and others