FROM THE DESK OF JANELL STEPHENS:
The first quarter of 2018 is almost over already, and I feel more energized and focused today, than I did on the first day of January. You see, I had a plan. I knew way back in 2017, that I wanted to go into the new year living life as my #BestSelf.
What is your #BestSelf you may ask? It is simply living your life strategically and committing yourself to conquering everything that stands before you from your career, spirit, health, community service and even relationships. Living your best self means focusing on your total health and wellness and becoming the version of yourself that is necessary to achieving everything you deserve in life.
I went into the New Year with a clean slate and didn’t boggle myself down with farfetched resolutions that I would forget about before the month was even over. I instead decided to commit myself to choosing key tasks and strategies that would put me on the path to living life as my #BestSelf and would benefit me in the long run.
Today, as we close out the last few days of March, I decided to take a look back over the first few weeks of the new year and identify the top 5 tactics that I have actively put to work in my life and have helped me enter into 2018 as my #BestSelf. I put the below approaches to work in my life every day and trust that they are part of the reason that my new year has had such an amazing start thus far. These tips are simple, yet effective, and have gone a long way into moving me into the right direction and they may do the same for you.
The power of meditation is nothing new. For centuries, mediation has been the cornerstone of religious beliefs and lifestyle practices. When you meditate you focus your attention and energies into one place which improves your concentration while increasing your self-awareness. I personally have been able to see the positive effects of mediation in my life, which have included reduced stress, increased happiness and an overall healthier lifestyle. When I first began my meditation journey, I questioned if something so simple could truly impact me in a quantifiable way, but the longer that I have employed its practices to my life, the more I am able to see it working for me.
2. Set yourself up for laughter.
How can you possibly set yourself up for laughter you may ask? It simply means allowing yourself the opportunity to be happy and free regardless of your current circumstances. Too often we are more focused on the negative attributes of our lives and become stagnant in a place that is devoid of gladness. I noticed one day how easy it was for me to complain, than it was for me to revel in a sense of gladness. It was then I decided that I would strive towards the happiness I deserved no matter what. I know for a fact something as minor as a good laugh can change your entire outlook for the day. I go about everyday ready for a day that is going to be fun and exciting and full of positivity. I laugh with my employees over random things we see online. I tell jokes to my kids that I’m sure they find corny, but add laughter to our lives. I talk to my husband no matter how busy we are and find the joy and humor in our relationship and share in those moments with him. You will see that when you set yourself up for laughter, and are open to the bliss that is within so many aspects of our lives, you will truly begin to live life positively and as your #BestSelf.
3. Taking a moment out of your day for yourself.
I am an entrepreneur and mother of five school aged children. When I tell you that my day is jam packed from the moment I wake up, to the minute I lay back down at night, I am telling you nothing short of the truth. It is so easy to become wrapped up in everything that is happening throughout my day and lose myself in the shuffle, but I learned a long time ago that it is imperative that I take time out of my day for myself every single day or I am no good to anyone. For me that time has been my exercise regime that I take part in daily. Not only is it a crucial part of my physical health and wellness, but having that time to myself to do something that benefits me and that I enjoy is a crucial part in achieving my #BestSelf goals. You have to identify a sliver in time throughout your day that you can own for yourself, and do something that benefits you and only you. Taking that time for yourself everyday will have a drastic impact on not just your life, but the lives of those who depend on you because you are able to be the best you possible.
4. Write out your goals for 2018 even if it is March.
One of the reasons I’ve always been so hesitant to create new year resolutions at the top of every year is because they always seem like such a waste of time. You write out these “things” that you didn’t do last year that you think will make your life better if you did them this year, and you spend the next 12 months kicking yourself for not actually achieving them. Instead of resolutions I prefer to develop actual goals. The difference between goals and resolutions is that when you develop your goals you should take it to the next level by also creating a tangible action plan that will make those goals a reality. One day last year I wrote out my 3 month, 6 month and 12 month goals for 2018 as well as what I would need to do to reach each and every one of them. I didn’t go into the new year uncertain or afraid about what was to come because I knew exactly where I wanted to be and what I needed to do to get there. Resolutions may have to be written before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, but goals can be created at any point for any reason.
5. Be organized.
Someone once told me that the way you present yourself on the outside is a clue to what’s going on with you on the inside. In theory, if your life is unorganized and cluttered, many times it is safe to assume that your thought process is equally in disarray. I make it a point to be as organized as possible so that I feel at peace and centered. Organization is a key factor in my ability to juggle the many balls in my life that depend on me from day to day. Before my work day begins I write out my to do list, a combination of tasks that weren’t completed the day before as well as new things that must be completed. I then reread emails from the day before and respond to as many as I can and make notes to revisit those that I can’t at that moment for a later time. At my home I keep a detailed chart with activities, school trips, meetings, sports practices, recitals, house chores and so on and so forth. This level of organization was difficult to adhere to when I first began to make it a priority but as I put forth the effort to making it work, it eventually became second nature.
These are just a snapshot into the day to day strategies that I have employed that have helped me live my #BestSelf and focus my efforts on living out 2018 in the most productive way possible. We all deserve to live life as our best selves. What have you done over the last few weeks of the new year to make this a reality for yourself? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments and look forward to you blossoming into the next phase of your life.