The banks of a river act as a boundary directing the water to flow toward the sea. In this same way creating structure in our lives liberates us to focus our attention toward the things that matter most to us.
Here are 3 boundaries that significantly enhance freedom allowing us to experience more time and energy in our daily lives!
- Setting Goals: Having a goal with a sense of purpose can increase our wellbeing. Too many choices may cause us to feel uncertain, overwhelmed and even immobilized. However, when we have a target our choices become easier to make and we know which direction to head. Decisions are less likely to become sources of anxiety, For example if I am driving from Los Angeles to San Diego I know I need to go south on I-5 and not north. Goals liberate us to enjoy the here and now. Very often having a goal matters more than reaching the goal because in this sense it is about wellbeing and peace of mind.
- Personal Preferences: If we value our health it would make sense that we would eat healthy, exercise, meditate, get plenty of rest and drink lots of water...right? And yet how many of us are exhausted, eat poorly, drink too much caffeine and put off exercise and meditation for tomorrow? To live by our values we first have to believe in them. We need to decide what they are for ourselves and commit to them. We also need to live and act like they matter. Very often negative habitual patterns or stress can override our value system and diminish our commitment. This is where rituals come in.
- Rituals: Through rituals we can sustain new and positive habits that are aligned with our values, while actively letting go of old patterns that once had us imprisoned. When we do something again and again, like brushing our teeth or tying a shoe we no longer have to "think" very much about it. It takes very little discipline. We just do it. This happens with both positive and negative actions and choices. Positive rituals connected to our personal values can serve our overall wellbeing and create more ease in our lives. It frees up our energy so that our default actions become more in line with what matters most to us.
Putting it in to practice:
- Decide on a positive and forward moving goal. That means rather than saying, "I don't want to be overweight" say, "I want to lose x pounds and eat healthy foods every day".
- Write a short and simple value statement. For example, "I value time with my friends and family. Being healthy will afford me more energy to spend with the ones I love".
- Create one new ritual and implement it until it requires little effort. Then add another ritual and so on. Make your rituals sustainable and think small. Small changes can make a big difference. If your goal is to lose x pounds, maybe set a goal of walking around your neighborhood for 15 minutes every day. Pick the same time of day whenever possible.
Experiment this week by applying this process to a short term goal. Once you have put it in to practice apply it to bigger goals and ideas in your life. Let me know how it goes. I would love to hear from you!
And if you found this helpful please share!