SHINE || The Life Plan

Chapter- 7

SHINE


Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.


For me, this is the fun part when helping people create the lives they most want to be living. You see, after a while you might find that while everything is going along nicely, suddenly you want to quit, you feel bored or you start sabotaging yourself in a whole new way.


Why do we do this to ourselves? We’re hardwired with a tremendous capacity to adapt to nearly all the good and bad things that happen in our lives. Whether it’s a new relationship, a new job, improved health or newfound wealth, over time the shine starts to wear off and these hard-won changes in our lives start to deliver fewer and fewer rewards.


Unfortunately, while the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat have been found to abate over time, it appears we adapt much faster to the things we most enjoy. In fact, scientists believe we’re prone to eventually take for granted pretty much every good thing that happens to us. It’s why our energy, wellbeing and happiness often seem like they don’t last.


If you feel you’re starting to stagnate a little – physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually – despite all the wonderful changes you’ve been making, it’s important to know you’re simply adapting and that this is a completely normal part of human functioning. To see how you’re doing, quickly check in with these questions:

  •    How do you feel now?
  •    How is your confidence tracking?
  •    Where is your integrity sitting?
  •    Are your thoughts clear, strong and energetic?
  •    Have you fully embraced the fact that you are in the driver’s seat?
  •    Do you rise and shine?
  •    Are you practising patience and mindfulness?
  •    Do your habits serve you well?
  •    Do your body, mind and soul feel healthy?
  •    Are you grateful for what’s unfolding?

If you’re not consistently flourishing, in this chapter you’ll discover how you can prevent, slow down and even ward off stagnation altogether by paying more attention to what’s happening, keeping life varied and dynamic, savouring and appreciating the changes, surprising yourself, making your activities more novel and staying with your purpose.

Are you staying on track?

Is your life running you or are you running it? With so much going on all the time, it’s easy for life to slip away, despite our best intentions. To help stay on track, I start each day with this question: what is the purpose of today?


I find it easiest to answer this question by journalling. It’s a private window to my soul that allows me to constantly check in with how things are really going. Journalling is for you and only you. It is the business of You. It is how you personally transform, grow and adapt as you consciously work on living a life you love. When we write, we gain true clarity on where we are at the moment and where we want to be growing. Where do we need to change and adapt to evolve?


When we write for ourselves we don’t need to edit or spell check, we just let it all flow. We can pour what is in our minds onto paper and during that process we learn, question, grow and take ownership. This process can transform your life. Be honest with yourself, avoid self-criticism and editing, and don’t hold yourself back.


Choose whatever form of journal works best for you: a notebook, diary, computer file or scrapbook; hard or soft cover; lined or unlined; colourful or black and white; free-form or structured.

THINGS TO INCLUDE

Words, drawings, pictures, photos, quotes, lists, websites and more, but most of all, yourself and your own precious thoughts. By writing down your thoughts, ideas and feelings, you are hard-wiring yourself for optimal living.



What are you focusing on?

Where attention goes, energy flows. By this stage you know more about yourself than you did when you started this process. You know how to structure your purpose and values into your days through your carefully designed planner, which takes into account every aspect of your life. But this journey isn’t just about organisation. The real purpose of harnessing these strategies is so you can stop fretting about ‘getting everything done’ and instead relax in the knowledge that everything has been allocated its own time and space, allowing you to be fully present and enjoy each moment.


Wherever you are – at home, on a plane, in a meeting – if you are fully present, you can live life with depth, clarity and a sense of total abundance. Mindfulness brings calm and self-awareness, so you can make well-informed decisions each hour of the day. It can be practised all day, every day.


I like to use the five senses (sight, sound, taste, smell, touch) to guide my mindfulness practice. By engaging my senses, I can take control and find calm, even in the most stressful situations. Consider how a particular smell can trigger a happy memory. Perhaps it’s the scent of roses taking you back to afternoon tea at your grandmother’s house. The smells wafting out of a bakery may remind you of cooking with the kids (and lots of flour explosions, spoon licking and giggles). It is incredibly powerful to tap into these types of golden moments on a daily basis, simply by being mindful enough to engage your senses.

THE FIVE SENSES

  •    Sight
    Look, acknowledge, see. Notice the view, the formation of clouds, the brilliant colours that are abundant in nature.
  •    Sound
    Listen with closed eyes to what is happening around you. Also, listen to silence: it is powerful and re-energising, and you can hear yourself breathing. When you need to block out distracting sounds, try white noise or the sound of rain apps.
  •    Smell
    Your sense of smell can change your hormone levels and promote calm. Soap with essential oils, just-baked bread, freshly ground coffee – all of these scents can alter your state of mind and reduce your stress levels. Likewise, synthetic perfumes can often make you feel ill or stressed out, so avoid these where possible.
  •    Taste
    Be present for all your meals and savour every mouthful and how it makes you feel, such as the clean taste of a crisp apple or a hot coffee reaching your belly.
  •    Touch
    When you acknowledge the different textures around us – skin, a soft blanket, a sandy beach and so on – and think about how they make you feel, you can slow down time.
  •  *Mindfulness brings calm and a greater level of self-awareness, helping you make well-informed decisions each hour of the day.

Do you need to spice things up?

Feeling a little bored and seeing greyness in every direction of your life? This is a sure sign it’s time to spice things up.


Our brains love novelty, so when we have adapted to our wellbeing practices, even the most tested approaches can stop bringing us much joy. But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Instead, think about what you can do to mix things up, do things a little differently or even just give them a rest for a while and then come back to them a few weeks later.


The tiniest changes make us feel refreshed and renewed; they don’t have to be big and too hard – even a new coffee cup can make us feel great! Try some of these approaches to spice things up:

  •    Create a treasure box of all your favourite golden moments using photos, letters, mementos and the like.
  •    Commit to an exercise you’ve never tried before.
  •    Make a list of ten new places to visit.
  •    Update your music collection.
  •    Watch three classic movies.
  •    Explore a new restaurant each month.
  •    Reconnect with old friends you haven’t seen for ages.
  •    Take a hike somewhere you’ve never been before.
  •    Rearrange your desk, furniture and cupboards, and declutter a little bit more; out with the old, in with the new.
  •    Set yourself mini-challenges for mindfulness.
  •    Be a tourist in your own town.
  •    Check your clothing suits the person you are; is it tired and old, does it make you feel confident? Get a bold piece going.

Remember, adaptation is just a normal part of life, so if you’re feeling a little bored it’s your brain’s way of telling you to mix it up.

Are you having fun?

People often ask me, ‘If you are so organised and committed, where’s the fun?’ The fun is in every day! The fun is in my attitude and not taking myself too seriously. Being organised lets me be spontaneous without sacrificing all the great work I’m doing.


Unfortunately, as we grow up, too many of us stop playing. ‘Don’t be childish.’ ‘Stop wasting time.’ ‘Quit mucking around.’ Most of us hear these criticisms as we start to move away from childhood and the result is that by the time we’ve become adults, we’ve forgotten the growth and joy that playing brings to our lives. But the truth is, we are built to play and built through play. It is what makes us feel truly alive. Giving yourself permission to embrace a sense of spontaneity and fun can restore a healthy sense of play in the life you’re living.


Play time can involve anything from simply being silly to playing sport, spending time doing something you love or just catching up with friends and having fun. The aim is to have a laugh, relax and, most importantly, let go and enjoy yourself. It can’t be forced and you won’t enjoy it if you’re not feeling comfortable, so do whatever works for you (pranks and acting up might be right up one person’s alley, but leave someone else feeling foolish). It may seem a little strange at first, especially if you haven’t allowed play into your life for a long time, but soon you’ll be right back in the swing of things.


I find that I need a weekly dose of fun, so I make it happen as often as I can to help me stay connected to the simple joys of life and the magic that comes from playing.

WAYS TO START PLAYING

  •    Memorise a few good jokes.
  •    Start a hobby just for the fun of it.
  •    Have a virtual vacation – ‘go to Italy’ for the day with some friends by eating Italian food, drinking Italian wine and seeing an Italian movie, for example.
  •    Ride a scooter and bring out your inner child.
  •    When running the bath for the kids, jump in yourself.
  •    Turn the music up and get your groove going.
  •    Start a girls’/boys’ night out.
  •    Change your look.
  •    Book a ‘mystery’ flight.
  •    Roll down a hill.
  •    Gaze at the clouds and find shapes within them.
  •    Go to a big sporting event and cheer your heart out.
  •    Have a white Christmas.
  •    Listen to a seashell.
  •    Play golf with your friends.
  •    Make a photo album of your funniest pictures and photos.
  •    Go on a flying fox and get some thrills.
  •    Gallop down a hallway as though you are riding a horse.
  •    Start a regular family games night with your board games and cards.
  •    Go and see a musical or comedy show.
  •    Go away for the weekend on a last-minute deal.
  •    Build the biggest and best sandcastle on the beach.
  •    Play a prank on your partner or kids.
  •    Call a friend and just go out and have fun.

How do you savour and celebrate?

Have you ever been so focused on success you had no time to celebrate what you were achieving? I know it sounds crazy, but many of us are so busy striving to reach our goals we forget to make time to truly savour and appreciate the incredible outcomes we’re creating. Yet people who revel in their successes are far more likely to enjoy them. It also helps to program your brain for more success to come.

WAYS YOU CAN SAVOUR AND CELEBRATE SUCCESS

  •    Share it with others.
  •    Throw a dinner party to celebrate.
  •    Take a mental picture of the moment and how you’re feeling.
  •    Create a memento to remember what you’ve achieved.
  •    Shout for joy.
  •    Immerse yourself in the feeling of success.
  •    Indulge in your own victory dance.
  •    Hug someone.
  •    Forgive someone.
  •    Share your news.
  •    Tick things off.
  •    Reward yourself.
  • *Your attitude is your altitude. It is how high you want to fly and how good you want your day to be.

What are you appreciating?

When was the last time your heart overflowed with gratitude for everything you have? It might have been when you got your dream job, when your child got an award at school or when you achieved a lifelong goal. As we adapt to the good things in our lives, we can become blind to all we have to be thankful for: a warm bed on a cold night, a delicious meal with people we love, or clean air from the abundance of nature around us.


One of the simplest and most effective ways to ensure we don’t take these things for granted is to practise gratitude, to extract the maximum joy and satisfaction from life. Gratitude helps prevent our expectations from becoming an unrealistic burden and keeps our tendency to compare ourselves with others in check. Practise it by counting your blessings each night, keeping a gratitude journal or writing a gratitude note each day and keeping them in a jar.

THINGS YOU MIGHT BE GRATEFUL FOR

  •    The hard things in life that have taught you lessons.
  •    Those who are serving you, such as your local barista.
  •    Technology – all the information it gives you and the ways in which it makes your life easier.
  •    Transport – everything that gets you from A to B.
  •    The food you eat.
  •    Your body, your mind and your soul.
  •    A good night’s rest.
  • *If we train ourselves to become more aware of the ordinary, life can very quickly become extraordinary.

What are you hanging on to?

They say your attitude is your altitude. It determines how high you want to fly and how good you want your day to be. A poor attitude is like a flat tyre: if you don’t change it, you won’t go anywhere. Attitudes are developed by the experiences we encounter in our lives. Once you understand them, you can choose your attitude towards your life and your day. Are you choosing self-motivation and self-encouragement, or self-pity and hardship?

HOW IS YOUR ATTITUDE LOOKING?

  •    Are your words and thoughts positive or negative?
  •    Do you tend to say, ‘It’s too hard’ or ‘I’ll have a go’?
  •    Are you open to financial prosperity?
  •    Are you acknowledging abundance?
  •    Is your intention of the day – your affirmation – charged with energy and faith?
  •    Are you saying, ‘I am so busy, tired and stressed’ or ‘I am great’?
  •    What can you do right now to put yourself in motion, rather than staying stagnant?
  •    What attitude does your role model have? How can you move towards this right now?
  •    Do you believe you can change, and that a change in attitude could have the greatest impact?
  •    What is your attitude towards time?

One of the most important parts of this process is to be able to monitor your attitude and the effect it is having on your relationships, career and wellbeing. Your attitude affects everyone around you.

Are you being true to your purpose?

Staying true to your purpose – your north star – is the best way to keep your life from fading to greyness. Every few months I ask myself the following questions and write down the answers to ensure I remain in the driver’s seat of life.

MY TOP 16 QUESTIONS

 

1 What risk would you take if you knew you could not fail? Where is fear holding you back?

2 What are the top five things you treasure in life?

3 If you didn’t know your age, how old would you say you are?

4 Where is the line where you stop calculating risk and rewards, and just do it?

5 How aware are you of the positive or negative energy you are broadcasting?

6 At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate, alive and well?

7 How are you manifesting opportunity in your life?

8 What are you avoiding?

9 Are you the author of your thoughts?

10  Are you listening to what you are actually saying?

11  What is the one job/cause/activity that could get you out of bed happily for the rest of your life? Are you doing it now?

12  What are you committed to?

13  What is your mindfulness practice doing for you?

14  Have you been the kind of friend you’d want to have?

15  What permission do you need/want to move forward?

16  We’re always making choices. Are you choosing your story or is someone else?

SUMMARY

When things are going well, don’t wait until you fall in a rut, get bored or give up to make changes. Every few months, take an hour to pay attention to how you’re tracking, to spice things up and stay playful, to savour and celebrate your success, to feel grateful for all you have and to stay true to your purpose.


Allowing yourself to shine each and every day, as well as honouring yourself for doing so, is a principle worth taking on board. The finishing touches are the finest, smallest details that make the dedication and commitment all worth it. They honour your risks, courage, visions and attitudes, and let the changes you’ve created move naturally with the tides of life.


Many people report regrets at the end of their life, such as ‘I wish I had let myself be happier,’ ‘I wish I hadn’t worked so hard and so much’ and ‘I wish I’d had the courage to live true to myself and not the life others expected of me.’ Don’t let this be you. Taking control and getting into the driver’s seat with these easy, small, snippets of focus ensure you are always being true to yourself and honouring who you are because you chose to do the work.


TIPS AND TRICKS

  •    Book a date in your diary every few months to check how you’re tracking in life.
  •    Buy a journal you love to write in and every morning, ask: What’s the purpose of today?
  •    Use all five senses, and be mindful of each sense.
  •    Be aware of, and appreciate, the ordinary.
  •    Sing more, hug more, live more.
  •    Celebrate your successes.
  •    Start a gratitude jar.
  •    Spice up your habits.
  •    Choose an attitude of altitude each day.
  •    Play, play, play!
  •    Stay true to your purpose.
  •    Allow yourself to shine each day.
It's often said that life is a juggling act: family, health, friendships, career...
The thing to remember is that the career ball is the one that bounces best when it's dropped.






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