18 Things To Focus On In 2018

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old but on building the new.” -Socrates

This is a big quote for me going into 2018. I wasted a lot of time and energy fighting and resisting changes and obstacles that were beyond my control in 2017. This year I’m going into each day with the practice of: breathe, surrender, overcome. There’s a big difference between giving up and surrendering 🙂 Check out the Surrender Experiment for more clarification.

And now friends, I’m going to put on my fake clear glasses I bought at Urban Outfitters for $4.99 and play the role of self help coach. Self-Help me wears long flowy pants, has a silvery grey braid down my back, and turquoise earrings in my ears. I say things like “right on” and “I dig it.”

So here we go, below is a compilation of some of my favorite teachings from the numerous self improvement books I’ve read over the years. I hope you find it helpful in some way!

1. Start with gratitude. It’s the ultimate game changer. 

It flips the switch from feeling like you’re always lacking, to feeling like you’re so damn lucky to have the shoes on your feet. And that right there is an energy shift and it changes the vibrations around you. It’s powerful stuff. The vibes you put out, are the vibes you get back.

Not sure where to begin? Start simple. You’re reading this, right? So you most likely have a phone or computer I’m assuming; two things a lot of people in this world don’t have. And clothes on your back and a roof over your head. The more you’re thankful for, the more abundance you’ll see in your life.

2. When you feel joy, really feel it.

One of my favorite part’s of the day is in the morning right after I get up. I pour myself a cup of coffee, head back to the couch with a blanket, and as Harlow burrows next to me, (typically on top of my legs, always under the blanket) and I settle into my morning tasks I feel so happy and thankful. I’m happy because the morning used to be a pure struggle when I knew was getting up to do something that was not right for me. So when I feel joy for getting to do what I want every morning it serves as a reminder for me (and a motivation boost) to get my ass in gear and work harder than I did yesterday to continue to live the life I want. (From the comfort of my couch with Har on my lap.)

3. Stop waiting for someone, or something else to change your life. You have to do that.

Go with me here, but when you’re in “waiting mode,” you’re giving off those vibrations and in turn the Universe is waiting to deliver what you want as well… Once you take those first steps toward what you really want, the Universe will do its part to assist in what you need to make it happen. Don’t believe me? Try it. Do one thing that is a small part of what you really want to do, what you’re working toward, and soon after you’ll get an email or idea or phone call out of the blue that will help in some way.

And yes, the Universe can be referred to as God, or whatever higher power you believe in 🙂 I believe in both.

4. Every decision we make matters, even the little ones. Or especially the little ones…

This is a Tony Robbins teaching that has stuck with me. Every time I choose to hit snooze on my alarm, or browse Instagram rather than work, or skip a pilates class, I am the only one responsible for the way these decisions will impact my future. It may not seem like much to play on your phone for an extra 10-20 minutes rather than work on that novel you’ve been dreaming about, but over time those 10-20 minutes only continue to build on each other.

20 minutes a day becomes 7300 minutes a year. Which is over 121 hours you could have spent doing something worthwhile…  Knowing the time I waste on social media is a hard one for me to grasp. But I’m working on it.

5. The perfect moment to get started doesn’t exist, you have to create it.

(Refer back to #3.) Just jump in. Just jump in. Just jump in. Start somewhere, anywhere.

Don’t feel regret for starting something today that you should have started ten years ago, feel gratitude you’re not waiting ten more years. (From the Alchemist.)

6. If you want abundance, you have to feel abundance. 

When I’m feeling blocked or lacking in some way the root of the problem is always myself. What am I doing to stop the abundant energy from flowing my way? I ask this and sit in stillness for a bit. When I’m ready to be honest with myself, the solution presents itself. It usually stems from anxiety about problems that have never happened, but only exist in my mind that COULD happen. The what-ifs. The maybes.. All of the things that exist only to torment me. But right now in this moment, everything is okay. Focus on that. The right now.

A fun way to get out of the feeling of lacking is to imagine you have everything you could ever want. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and feel your life exactly as you’d like it to be. What does that look like? Who is around you? What are you doing?

7. Better yet, give abundance.

Put out what you want to receive.

The Book of Dharma says you should give a gift to everyone you come across. I come across a lot of people in Chicago, so I’d like to say I do this, but I don’t.

But, I do try to send light to anyone I come across who gives me the feeling like they’re having a rough day. It’s as simple as saying in your mind, “I really hope something awesome happens for you today,” with a particular person envisioned.

I don’t know if “something awesome” will actually happen,  but I do know that thoughts like those help to put better energy back in the Universe, which can never hurt.

8. The things that annoy us about other people are typically a reflection of what we don’t like about ourselves. 

Fix yourself, not the people you don’t like, and you’ll find that the list of people who bug you seems to get smaller and smaller.

9. Anticipate really good things coming your way at any given time. 

Something really great is coming my way today! I say this every single morning and I truly believe that something crazy good is about to happen. Just go with me and say it in your head and really pretend it’s real.

See how good you feel? Isn’t that kind of worth it alone? If you actually did it (and didn’t just roll your eyes at me) chances are you’ve already blasted your vibes to a higher better level.

10. Listen to your energy and the energy you get from others.

You know the people who suck your energy and leave you feeling a little empty and tired?

Give a little more space between them and you. There’s nothing wrong with protecting your own energy.

11. Be gracious with your success.

The Universe doesn’t hoard its gifts and neither should you. There is plenty to go around.

I grew up very competitive, which often led me to situations where I felt super envious of anyone else succeeding at what I wanted to. I felt that anyone else gaining success had to mean it was being withheld from me. But that’s not the way it works. The Universe is abundant and there is enough for all of us. Don’t believe me? Wish abundance and success for someone else and watch it come back to you.

12. Do Things With Intention.

I think this one started with pilates. The workout isn’t just about going through motions, or making it through class. But it’s doing things with a purpose and feeling your body react to it. What started in pilates has moved to other areas in my life. I’m constantly asking myself, “What is the purpose here?” “How does this make me feel?”

Asking questions like this also leads to…

13. Mindfullness.

Or being present. I really struggle with this, but am always working on it. I like to use my job (blogging, social media, shirts, blah blah blah) as a scapegoat. But we could all use jobs as our excuse, regardless of what area of work you’re in.

Being mindful is a constant work in progress.

14. Listen to your soul.

It’s your connection to the Universe. When something doesn’t feel right, it’s because you probably know you’re straying off course from what you’re really meant to do.

You know those your moments when you find yourself totally lost in creation or submersed in work you truly enjoy, and an hour feels like a minute? Those are moments when your soul is on fire and you’re doing the work you were put on this earth to do. I’ve also heard this referred to as “falling into the gap.” I live for days I fall into my gap. It makes everything else feel so much more alive and worthwhile.

15. Stop making excuses.

They serve no one (well no one except Ego.)

16. Be aware of Ego, but don’t listen to it.

This is an Elizabeth Gilbert trick (and I’m paraphrasing here, so correct me if I’m wrong) but she said something along the lines of, “If you can’t get rid of Ego, bring it to work with you. Say okay Ego, I know you’d like to be here with me today, chatting away about all of the ways this or that can’t be done, but I have a lot of work to do, so you’re just going to have sit there and shut up.”

17. Your thoughts create your reality- choose wisely. 

Every single one of them… What are you thinking about now?

18. Believe the Universe is on your side.

Because it is! It wants you to succeed. We all do!

All that said, I still have my daily mind battles. Moments of feeling like a total loser and failure, but everything mentioned above equips me to deal with those hard days just a little better, enabling me to get over them faster.

I run hot-tempered by nature, my patience is low, and I get frustrated easily. I can be snappy, pissy, and go on the defense when it’s not necessary. I’m human, (sometimes a very agitated human.) So everything stated simply helps to keep me in check. Helps me to move just a little bit closer to the person I’d like to be, to the person Harlow thinks I am… I am by no means perfect, but the cool part is that no one is asking me to be. (*except Harlow.)

Happy 2018, friends! We’re all going to make it.

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