Overwhelmed with all the things you want to accomplish in the new year? Trust me, I feel ya. Here’s my wild dream list for 2019:
It’s a lot. So if you’re here with me, looking at your own list and feeling more panicked with each idea, grab your Starlight Journal (or get one here!) plus your favorite candle and some tea, water, or wine, and let’s get down to business!
Step Zero: Prep! Put your phone on do not disturb (yeah, you. I know it’s hard but I’m not kidding. Trust me, it will be SO beneficial.) Put some soft and inspiring music on as background noise if you want. (My favorite is the Deep Focus playlist on Spotify, or if you really want to get Starlight-y about it, check out our Starlight Party Playlist here.) Light your favorite candle and enjoy the scent, pour your favorite beverage, and grab your favorite pen and journal (Starlight Journal or otherwise). Really take a minute to appreciate the prep. Do a little wiggle or dance if you like, just celebrate that you’re taking this time to really set yourself up for success.
(Special note- if life is just TOO hectic right now, please remember that Step Zero is optional. It is an extra heaping of benefit, to really make a ritual out of this and to take the time for yourself. But, life is crazy. If kids are screaming loudly in the background, or you’re hiding in your car on lunch break, or hiding out in the bathroom from your family just to get a moments peace, please know that as long as you do the rest of these steps, this will still help. Don’t let an inability to find the time for candles and music and wine stop you from getting this clarity and focus! Start where you are, babe.)
Step One: BREATHE. This is always always step one! Close your eyes, even if just for a minute, and take a deep breath. Feel the air slowly fill your belly and allow your chest and stomach to expand. Then just as slowly, exhale entirely, and really allow your shoulders and face to relax. Repeat three times.
Step Two: Brain Dump. Literally just take a blank page (or five, if you need five!) and write down every thing, big or little, wild or small and silly, that you can think of that you would like to do in 2019 (or in the next six months. We tend to do this sort of evaluation at New Years, but there’s nothing inherently magic about January 1. You can do this ANY time you feel overwhelmed by all of your ideas or to-dos.) Take as long as you need to and just get it ALL out. All of it. Hold nothing back. That is basically the key. Dump out all of your ideas, no matter how big or small. Phew, sometimes that can take awhile. But that’s ok.
Step Three: Get up and walk around. Take a break, basically. Get some distance from the brain dump mindset. Walk around your house, do some stretches, refill your beverage, cuddle your dog or cat for a minute, do a quick sun salutation, whatever feels good and gets you out of your journal/headspace and more into your body. My personal recommendation will always always be walking and/or stretching, but you could even just throw on a hip hop song and dance for a minute. Whatever works!
Step Four: Return to your list and evaluate. Really try and study it objectively. Look for patterns, things you could group together; things that you know are not actually priorities; things that are easy tasks that you know you’ll do anyways. For example, even though it’s always a goal of mine to eat healthy home cooked meals and drink plenty of water, I’ve pretty much integrated these habits into my life at this point, so they are automatic. I’ll do them anyways, so even though they may still stay on the “list of things I want to do in 2019,” I don’t really have to devote extra energy into them, because they’re already habits. Whereas, I’m still working on having a more frequent yoga and workout practice, so that item will have to be more intentionally considered.
I think they key in this evaluation is to try and listen to your intuition while you are reading through the list. What things make you feel good, excited, lighter, when you consider them, and which things make you feel crappy? And, why? If the crappy things make you feel crappy because you KNOW they are important but hard, so you don’t want to do them, listen to the part that knows they must be done. Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean allowing yourself to only do “fun happy things,” it means taking care of yourself and your space the way you would take care of someone you were responsible for: a child or an elderly relative or anyone else that you actually LOVE and want what’s best for. But generally speaking, we want to focus on integrating more of the good things that light you up into your goals. Because, seriously, life is too short not to do what lights you up.
Step Five: PRIORITIZE. Which actually means, cut out the excess. This part is the HARD part my dear, but I like to think about it this way: looking at this list, if I could only pick ONE thing to do in 2019, what would it be? And why? How does that one thing align most with my goals, whatever they are? And then, once you identify the one most important thing, most likely some other things on your list will become apparent supports for that one thing. It sucks to eliminate the other things that you really want to do, but by recognizing that if everything is a priority, then nothing is, and worse, nothing gets done, you actually enable yourself to get more done and done well. And remember too, that if you really focus on ONLY your one most important thing, you might get it done faster than you expect, without all the other things clamoring for your attention too, and then that will allow you to revisit your list and pick something else you would like to do. Just because you de-prioritize most of the things on this list for now, doesn’t mean you will never get back to them. It' just allows you to really free up your time and mental energy to focus on knocking out one thing really well.
So for example, my one thing for 2019 that is my highest priority is to focus on the light. My overall goals are to grow my business, which means having more income from my business services that light me up the most, and to be lighter in nearly every other way. So I’m clearing out clutter, both literally and figuratively. The art is what lights me up the most. The stories are what light me up the most. So I’m going to devote my focus this year on those things. And that means focussing on consistent posting and engagement with my audience, to grow my more residual income and allow me the space literally, figuratively, and mentally, to focus on the light.
So to accomplish that, my number one thing that I’m doing in 2019 is cleaning my apartment really thoroughly and getting rid of any and all clutter. Now, that’s a relatively small thing and will be done fairly quickly, in the grand scheme of the whole year. But I’m still forcing myself to get that done FIRST, because I know that when my space is more cluttered, my mind is more cluttered too.
Then I will move on to my second goal, which will be to declutter my business plan, which will be harder. But I’m planning ahead this year, and I plan to write at least 12 blog posts and schedule them, as well as schedule my emails and social media posts sharing those blogs. This will allow the consistency part to be taken care of for the whole year in one big chunk. And then throughout the year as new exciting creative endeavors come up, I can always write and share more, but the foundation and consistency will be there either way. Getting the thing I am worst at but which of course is most important (consistency) done and out of the way FIRST before I allow myself to really explore anything else is going to be key for me, I think. Because with that done, I will have the space to explore more of the light. Removing it from the list removes the stress and makes me FEEL LIGHTER, and that’s something that should carry through my entire year, which is why it becomes the most important thing!
Step Six: Celebrate! Once you’ve identified your single most important thing, and the few other things on the list that are there to help support that one thing, seriously, you deserve a happy dance! Prioritizing means de-prioritizing everything else and that is NOT easy, especially in a world where we are constantly overwhelmed with choices and the message that we can do and have it all. I believe that we can have it all (or most of it at least), just…not ALL AT ONCE. And identifying your number one priority is a HUGE step! Congratulations! Get down with your bad self. You deserve it.
Now, there are some follow up things that you can do to help you reinforce this decision for your one thing. Namely, paste it everywhere. Make vision boards, make a quick phone background of your vision board. Write that one thing in your favorite color marker on a blank piece of paper (be sure and leave extra white space around it, because that’s the WHOLE point), and stick that piece of paper somewhere you’ll see it every day. Make multiple and put them all places you’ll see everyday. Don’t let yourself get very far without a visual reminder of what your one priority is. And then, possibly most importantly, SCHEDULE IT. Break down what it will take to accomplish this one priority, and schedule it.
I’ll elaborate more on these follow up enforcing ideas in my next blog post, so stay tuned!
AND if you’re local to Indianapolis, you can join me on Feb 17th at Studio Alchemy for a live in person workshop that will walk you through these steps and the follow ups! Get your tickets and more event details here!
Cheers to a marvelous and lighter year!
Love and light,