Goal setting can be a wonderful thing, helping us create the lives we want. However, feeling like we always have to be "doing better" can leave us exhausted. We wind up glued our phones, while logging our workouts and baking a cake from scratch.
Recently, I tested the concept of doing less by simply turning off my phone. I read books with real pages, rather than electronic ones. If I got inspired to write a story, I jotted down the idea and let it be. I let my ambition take a breather. As expected, when I came back to earth, I was more focused and less irate.
If you are in the midst of "pushing yourself to do more" mode — in the form of New Year's resolutions — consider putting your ambition on hold. That itself can be your most important resolution.
Sometimes what we really need is to give ourselves the space for our creativity to breathe and for growth to actually happen. Here are five ways to help you do that ...
1. Establish times when you're not reachable online.
You are always available ... but is that a good thing? Think about it: your email comes straight to your phone, which you've always got with you. Anyone — including your boss and co-workers — can theoretically reach you at anytime, anywhere.
So keep boundaries. Set a time frame to mute the sounds of your text messages and phone and stick to it. As your technology reboots, so, too, can your mind.
2. Take a break between your work life and home life.
At the end of the workday, we rush home. It is only a matter of time before work at home begins — be it household chores, an urgent rush to go to the gym, calling friends we haven't talked to for a while.
But this attitude — that the day is too short, and that we need to rush to get everything done — is not helping us feel happier, or be more productive.
I am not suggesting that you forgo chores to live more mindfully. But you can visualize your day with a sense of endlessness, spaciousness.
In concrete terms: Enter the door and sit down. Take (at least!) two minutes to breathe and to feel gratitude for another day done well. When you go back to your tasks, try to treat each one as an exercise in mindfulness.
3. Stop talking.
Talking incessantly about the things we want to do — whether simple tasks on our agenda or loftier resolutions — just takes us from our goals. Talk less and do more. Do it for yourself because your opinion (and really your life) is the one that truly matters.
4. Own your vacation.
When was the last time you went on a vacation technology-free? There is Wi-Fi everywhere, making it possible to keep everyone in the loop of what you are doing and what you are eating. But social media isn't necessarily making us any happier.
Why not just enjoy yourself and tell everyone about it later? The days will feel longer and you will feel more connected to the world around you.
5. Discard (some of) your goals.
Some of your past goals may be dragging along behind you, even though they may no longer make sense. Free yourself up mentally by casting them to the wind. Unapologetically make some space for the you in this moment. The goals that matter will rise to the surface.
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