Stress, anxiety and divided attention rule our lives today. Our attitude and our mind is where it all starts. But if you just pause and reflect, there’s this wonderful power we all possess. And it can be summed up in a single word – BREATHE!
It doesn’t take much – simple habits can have huge outcomes to impact not just our happiness, but also the way we approach our work. And they ultimately contribute much to our success too!
With that arsenal, I propose these 8 goals that can help you have a happy, healthy and successful 2018.
Practice Morning Meditation
From stress reduction, pain management, to improved immunity and cardiovascular health, the benefits of meditation are immense and so well documented that it is almost a crime to not meditate. As someone who has taught meditation extensively to people of all ages, and who understands the pressing demands on an everyday career woman, I can’t recommend morning meditation enough. Tackled first thing in the morning, it sets the mood for the day and helps you start the day with a fresh and clean slate.
The easiest way to kickstart meditation is to do mindful breathing. Take just a couple of minutes and focus on inhaling and exhaling deeply. If your mind wanders, redirect attention to the breath. It’s very calming. Guided meditation is great for when you need a helping hand.
Simply set that alarm clock to go off 10 minutes earlier knowing that the rest of the day might overtake you.
If you can not take time out today for meditation, then you may have to take time out later in life for “dis-eases“, mental, emotional and/or physical.
Conjure a Personal Mantra
The logic is simple: “Wherever attention goes, energy flows. Wherever energy flows, that thing grows.”
Repeating a personal mantra or a daily affirmation like “I am strong and determined” or “I will face and overcome my fear” helps you to gradually imbibe those qualities.
Robin Sharma, considered to be one of the top 5 leadership expert in the world, shares “I use success statements or affirmations to get my mind focused. Success and joy and inner peace don’t just show up. You need to create them.”
Likewise, Oprah Winfrey famously advocates the Law of Attraction- the way you think creates reality for yourself !
One of my clients, Anna (name changed for privacy) felt that she was consistently being palmed off with “boring” work at her office which nobody wanted on their plate. Apart from the fact that the work was not contributing to her professional growth, this was also eroding her self-esteem. I urged Anna to speak up and work on her personal mantra “I am confident and I respect myself.” Today she feels more secure and assertive and calls herself “Anna V2.0”.
So, go ahead, repeat your affirmation 200 times a day for four weeks. If you can’t do as many as you can – do your best.
Let go and let be
Workplaces can be a cauldron of negative emotions – irritation, arguments, missed deadlines, unreasonable customers or colleagues not delivering on time.
Often we hold on to the past, feeling resentment, guilt, pain or anger. While it’s important not to deny those emotions, it is equally important to not live in the past. Things may not have worked out once, but by reliving that pain, you are hurting yourself many more times. Why not let go of that baggage and travel light going forward.
Try this – Imagine positive thoughts as blue and negative thoughts as red. Inhale and visualise blue filling you up. Exhale and visualise the red disintegrating!
Raise your game
Self awareness is a game changer, yet only 15% of people are actually aware of their
blind spots. Evaluate your actions, especially the ones that do not yield results. Are you spending time on social media, or watching mindless TV or making excuses? Set ambitious goals, and a project plan with mini steps that details every task you need to accomplish to achieve your goal. Celebrate every milestone and be mindful of procrastination.
While you are at it, establish your support network. Seek help, outsource when possible and if you feel guilty doing so, remember it does take a village to become successful.
Seek the joy in learning
Only you can make an effort to make learning fun for yourself. Invest time in acquiring knowledge, not just to enhance your resume but for the sheer joy of learning. Whether an app on the go, an online course, a weekend workshop or listening to podcasts while driving to work, figure out what works for you.
The best of the best stay in a learning beta mode. PepsiCo Chairperson and CEO Indra Nooyi states, “As a CEO, I am finding that I have to become a learning CEO. I have to go to school all the time because I am learning new skills that I need to run this company and I am realizing that I am not equipped to just coast, I have to constantly renew my skills.”
If Bill Gates is your role-model, follow his advice and take time out to read a book. Gates reads about 50 books in one year. In a recent interview, he remarked “Every book teaches me something new or helps me see things differently.”
Embrace total fitness
Exercise releases endorphins. These hormones reduce the perception of pain, reduce anxiety and instead increase self esteem. That alone makes a potent cloak of confidence.
Too busy to exercise? Just do a simple yoga chair twist or a set of calf raises in the middle of the work day.
However, remember that true health is not only about the physical aspect of life. It is also about having a positive attitude in life and a strong sense of self. So have a goal of staying fit mentally, emotionally and physically. Choose recreational activities which can sharpen your mental skills. Crack a Sudoku problem, a crossword puzzle or indulge in adult coloring books.
Mental agility slows ageing, improves confidence, and gives you an opportunity to brag in front of your friends and colleagues. Ahem! Humor helps you stay fit too 🙂
Take an Internal pause
Take short one minute sessions through the day to check the traffic of thoughts in your mind. Use traffic control for a moment of internal pause.
It’s the time to free your mind of uncontrolled mental clutter, to erase what you may have drawn on the canvas of your mind and gently remind yourself that you have a choice to paint your own panorama. You can do this by the hour or every few hours. So, when you are inundated with emails and have an upcoming conference call, while trying to finish a deadline, consciously pause your thoughts, anchor yourself into your breath or a visual imagery and breathe mindfully for a minute.
Give a gift of kindness
Samuel Johnson, the English essayist, wrote “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.”
Try doing something unexpected for someone else. Do this for the joy of giving and for no reward. Practicing kindness promotes feelings of love, happiness and hope, as well as improves your personal well being.
Generosity will come back to you. So go ahead and give a gift of kindness. Cover up for someone at work or volunteer at your local charity. And if you wish to buy a cup of coffee (English breakfast tea is preferable), know that I am always ready to receive that kindness 🙂
In the end, finding the balance between achieving your professional potential and managing the pressure that comes with it can be like walking the proverbial tightrope. But aiming for these goals will help you find islands of sanity in an otherwise frenetic life.
And that’s what I’ve learnt from personal experience and through counseling clients – worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles. It takes away today’s peace.
Nidhi is a Certified Reiki Master, Teacher of Usui/Tibetan Reiki, and a Meditation coach. With a degree in commerce, an MBA from a top business school, and many years of international banking and IT services/ products experience, Nidhi is a proud Comeback Mom. She now has a flourishing Reiki & Meditation practice iReikiNow, where she helps people achieve personal growth, self-awareness, spiritual development and overall well-being.
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