When I was little, I took art lessons from a remarkable woman who required us to memorize and recite a series of quotes at the end of each class. One of the quotes that always stood out to me was: “You are the sum total of all the choices you make.”
Upon first read, I bet your mind goes to the big choices- where you chose to go to school, who you chose to date, which career path you chose to take… But I’ve recently learned that the small choices are actually the ones with much greater importance. Our health and happiness rely almost entirely on the minute-to-minute decisions we make each and every day of our lives.
For most of my life, I have not been very kind to myself. I think we can all easily get stuck in a routine of letting life happen to us. When we are distracted, we have the tendency to stop making intentional decisions and start making convenient ones. We let negative energy slip into our psyche because we are not controlling for it. We make quick decisions that slow down our long term goals.
I tell my friends that they should love themselves with as much love and intention as they would give to their children. It is truly unbelievable how cruel we can be to ourselves. What we let into our mind, body, and soul gets so overlooked that we do not realize the consequences today’s decisions have on our tomorrow.
In an effort to be more kind to myself, I have been monitoring every single thing that I let into my mind, body, and soul. I immediately found so many harmful things that I had been allowing to slip through the cracks.
These are the top 10 recommendations I have about the typically unintentional things we should be doing with intention.
1. Start your morning off right. This is the single most important change I have ever made in my entire life. The way you wake up affects everything you do throughout the day. It sets your pace and it is a very opportune time to be in touch with yourself. As soon as I wake up, I think about every blessing in my life that I have to be grateful for. Appreciating what I have, instead of dwelling on what I want, has made me much happier and way more fulfilled. When I start my morning this way, I open my mind and heart to go on with my day seeing all of the blessings and opportunities I have and taking advantage of them in a truly beautiful way. After doing my gratitude, I watch an affirmations video. There are plenty available on YouTube, depending on what you are looking to attract. The videos took me awhile to get used to. At first, it seemed weird to listen to a tape and repeat cliches. But in order for this to work, I realized it needed to be much more of an active activity. When I am repeating the lines, I really see and feel them at the very route of my core. I feel my beauty, ability, and strength radiating from within and attracting everything that I want. I cannot even tell you how instantaneously and powerfully this has worked for me. I plan to do another post, explaining in detail, all of the crazy things that I have attracted into my life since realizing my power of attraction. BUT TRUST ME. IT WORKS. After my video, I smile. I lay in bed and I smile a huge, genuine smile. Some days this is harder than others. Which brings me to my last piece of advice about mornings: no matter how terrible you are feeling, go through the steps and you will always feel better when you get out of bed and start walking around.
2. Think before you react. Disclaimer- I still have not mastered this one but I understand its importance and I am a little better each day. One of my favorite books explained that the word “responsibility” literally means “ability to respond”. In every situation, there is time between when something happens to us and how we respond to it. During that time, it is very easy to act unintentionally and react in a way that contradicts our bigger goals for ourselves. It is so important to monitor our reactions and make sure they are just as much in alignment with our goals as the actions we initiate.
3. Take the time to tailor your space to your needs. I am a big believer we are products of our environment. Where we spend our time has a big effect on our happiness. It is important to have a space that works for you and makes you happy. If you work at home, make yourself an office area that promotes productivity. If you’re a yogi, clear a corner for your mat and decorate! If you love to cook, spend some time making your kitchen nice for yourself. I just recently started to really be OCD with maintaining a clean, cute, and safe space that fulfills my at-home needs.
4. If you hate your workout regimen, find something you enjoy. For a lot of us, staying in shape takes up a big chunk of our lives. I am a big fan of not doing anything that I do not want to do :). So how does this fit with working out? Answer- GET CREATIVE. There is so much you can do to move around that you might enjoy so much more than your current routine. We live in a time of trampoline yoga, regular yoga, animal themed yoga (literally a thing in Vegas), pilates, underwater aerobics, rock climbing, bike riding, walking, hiking, dancing, boxing, pokemon, and so much more!!! Find your thing! F the treadmill! There are too many options to dread a big part of your day.
5. You are what you eat. I know. And I know you know. And I know you want to skip this whole paragraph. But what you probably do not know, because I did not, is how good your body is supposed to feel. I am a MAJOR foodie and for a long time I felt like having my dream body meant sacrificing a hobby that I loved. I recently learned how uneducated about food I actually was. Eating does not have to be healthy vs. good. Once you start doing some research about what your body likes, it becomes so easy to visualize meals that are purposeful and VERY enjoyable. Start small- just choose the healthiest option in any given scenario. You will be addicted to the way your body feels and it will encourage you to have a better understanding of your physical needs. This does not mean you cannot have a pizza or a Pazookie ever again. Personally, they fill my spiritual needs :). The difference is having an awareness that if you have the intention of fulfilling your physical needs, those are not the best options. There is a time and a place for everything- moderate!!
6. Monitor the music you are listening to. This was the first thing I realized when I started paying attention. On day one of living with more intention, I woke up as early as I could so that I could watch the sunrise. I drove across town, climbed a mountain I had never climbed before, and watched the pink sky wake up the town. As I sat there, I did my full morning routine and I noticed how peaceful and happy I felt. I could feel the powerful energy radiating from me. I was ready to take on the day. I climbed down, caught some Pokemon in the park at the foot of the mountain, and got in my car. I turned the radio on, started driving, and my mind went on autopilot as it often does when I drive. About 10 minutes into my drive, I realized the music that was on. It was REALLY aggressive rap. The lyrics were disrespectful, violent, and negative. And I was letting them enter my subconscious mind. The beautiful energy that I felt from my morning hike was already gone. This is when I realized that if I want my morning energy to last all day, I cannot allow messages in that contradict with what I want for myself. I have gone back and forth with the role music like this should play in my life. I enjoy it the same way I enjoy pizza. But like I said in number 2, there is a time and a place for everything.
7. Smell yummy things. I know this sounds a little odd. But smell is just as an important and stimulating of a sense as everything else and it is very much neglected! I took a yoga class last week that incorporated aromatherapy and it got me thinking about the power of scent. My best friend started burning incense in my room and it totally changes my mood. I have candles everywhere now. I smell flowers when I walk by them. I have eucalyptus spray for after my workout. I bought amazing new lotions and have been way more aware of the perfumes I use. This is a little thing that can enhance your mood so much more than you know!