Making Our Goals Achievable
Change is important. It’s what keeps us energized and vibrant. Yet, as we start to settle into the New Year and the new decade, I’ve noticed a shift in the discussion surrounding New Year’s resolutions. People are worried about sustaining the changes they’ve promised themselves they would make. From losing weight to spending less time on social media, people are invested in bettering themselves but are often unable to commit to such goals because of how vague and ominous these goals appear to be.
Rather than committing ourselves to poorly thought out aspirations though, perhaps we should offer ourselves small and diverse opportunities to improve ourselves in the moment. Rather than saying, “I will exercise five days a week,” what if you go for a run or take a class when you have the time and energy? If it goes well, the next time you have a moment, exercising might come to mind as something you want to do, rather than something you have to do, thus turning your goal to be more physically active into achievable actions that you can fit into your regular schedule. In this way, we can turn our pie-in-the-sky desires into attainable objectives, allowing us to divest ourselves of the fear of failure, as we become less focused on the finish line and more invested in the process of changing ourselves for the better.
My Goal – Be More Spiritual!
One the goals many of us have for each New Year is to be more spiritual – to feel deeply and personally connected to the universe and understand our purpose and the path on which we walk. What does it mean, though, ‘to be more spiritual?’ Spirituality is personal; we each interpret it differently. That is why we must break down this big picture goal into concrete actions that work for us as individuals. By incorporating practices into our daily routine, we can bring new meaning to our everyday tasks and help us reconnect with the world around us. Here are six practices to help you live more spiritually:
1. Connect with People with Similar Spiritual Goals
When we connect with people who have similar goals, we become more motivated, and the work we put into meeting those goals becomes more enjoyable. Even if you don’t have someone currently in your life with similar goals, you can find likeminded individuals online. Look for events in your area or join an online group to connect with people who can support you in your goals.
By pausing our hectic lives to write down our thoughts or document our experiences, we invite ourselves to be more present in our own lives, to see and understand the effects of our thoughts and actions. We can also reflect on our spirituality and how we can make the most of our energy to ensure we are living life to the fullest.
3. Practice Mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness can take many different forms depending on your intentions for the practice. Whether you choose to meditate, practice yoga, engage in mindful breathing, or simply focus on your intention as you go about your day, being mindful allows you to connect with the universe in deep and fulfilling ways. Being mindful doesn’t necessarily mean dedicating hours every week to sitting still; rather, mindfulness practices can be incorporated into your routine in brief moments when you choose to center yourself and reestablish your connection to the world around you.
4. Spend Time in Nature
Earth provides us with essential healing energy. By spending time in nature – whether you take a walk in the park, go for a hike, or simply sit in grassy area – you can draw in Earth’s energy, restoring and nourishing your own energy sources as you connect with the universe in its purest form. Grounding or Earthing can have many positive effects on your body as well, such as improving your sleep and balancing the energy in your body.
5. Practice Gratitude
It is easy to forget how much there is to be grateful for when we are constantly aware of what isn’t going right. However, by shifting our focus to the parts of our lives we treasure most – our family, pets, home, career, friends, etc. – we can appreciate all the gifts the universe has bestowed upon us. We can practice gratitude in many different ways. When you wake up in the morning, rather than checking your phone, say something you are grateful for. You can also keep a gratitude journal or incorporate gratitude into your mindfulness practices. People who practice gratitude feel more alive, express more compassion for others, and even have stronger immune systems.
6. Open Yourself to New Experiences
Finally, when we open ourselves to new experiences, we allow ourselves to break out of our habits and engage in new practices and with new people. Although the familiar may feel safe, by trying new things – whether that be a class at a nearby yoga studio or a new restaurant that opens down the street from your work – we create opportunities to learn about and engage with our world. Life will become more colorful and you will feel more invigorated when you do so, deepening your connection to the universe and ultimately offering you new ways of exploring your spirituality.