Before Roger Bannister ran a mile in under 4 minutes in 1954, nobody thought that it was possible. After he accomplished this, people all around the world began to break the 4-minute mile because they believed that it was possible.
One of Dr. Dweck’s central themes in her book Mindset is “the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life”. So if you life your life believing that you are always going to have the same boring job and live in the same boring apartment because you are incapable of success, that is a fixed mindset that will impact every decision you have in your life.
Day dreaming is actually helpful because it allows you to envision or manifest the life that you want. Before I knew about manifestation, I never thought that day dreaming could actually be a good use of my time! Manifesting your dreams allows your subconscious brain to kick into gear & begin to impact every decision you make to get you closer to that dream. Although a large component of manifesting is envisioning, it does require YOU to take action to achieve that life. Knowing what actions to take though become more clear the more you view how you want your life to be.
So start manifesting, start day dreaming, start becoming what you believe!
For more information on manifestation I highly recommend these podcasts & articles…
After 1 week of meditating, I was hoping to feel like a completely new person- completely mindful & not stressful or anxious at all. That did not happen. Instead, I found the week very frustrating because meditating seemed like a job that I was forcing myself to do and so I constantly found myself procrastinating it. Then, when I did meditate I found it very difficult to keep my mind clear and thoughts would constantly flood through my brain. I started the week with a guided meditation video and as the week progressed I also tried to meditate by myself. I found the tips from my last blog post really helped me when meditating without a video, especially when you count your breaths to help keep your mind clear.
I never realized how difficult the meditation practice is. I always thought that it would be easy to think about nothing for 5 minutes, but I even struggled with that. Now that I have acknowledged my struggles, I am going to try setting a smaller goal. My next goal is to meditating at least 3 times a week and only when my body & mind feels ready to meditate. This is a SMART goal because it is more attainable than my last one. My limiting belief is that I will not be able to accomplish even this small goal and will remain frustrated and unable to meditate. Now that I have identified my limiting belief, I am able to address it by reminding myself that I am aware of the benefits of meditation, so my sub-conscious brain will keep pushing me to meditate. I also need to remember that I am a beginner, and it will be difficult to meditate at first but with practice anything is possible.
If you are ever struggling with accomplishing your goals I encourage you to identify & address your limiting beliefs. Once they are out of your way, there is nothing stopping you from success!
For my open inquiry project, this week I am going to challenge myself to meditate for at least 5 minutes every single day. This can be a S.M.A.R.T. goal because it is…
My goal is specific because I know exactly what I need to do to accomplish it, it is measurable/time-bound since I have challenged myself to meditate at least 5 mins/day for 1 week and I believe that it’s realistic & can be attainable! I find that using this acronym is very helpful when setting short-term goals & I encourage you to use it as well.
Since I am new to meditation I decided to use a guided meditation like this one to help me keep my mind focused. The main reason I haven’t been able to meditate consistently before is because my mind always wanders when I try to mediate. As soon as close my eyes I start worrying about my long list of to-do’s or I randomly start to recall an embarrassing memory from years ago. This is why I challenged myself to try to meditate every day for a week because I know that with practice I will be able to settle my mind.
If you feel confident enough to meditate without a video but don’t know where to start, here are some tips from goodlifezen.com:
Find a quiet place & make sure that you can stay there with no distractions for 5-10 minutes
Keep your spine upright & your head up
The mind & body are intertwined so a poorly-balanced body will result in a poorly-balanced mind
Focus on your breath
I find that saying “In/Out” in my mind helps me focus on my breath & stay in the present moment
This also helps when thoughts come up, just let them slip away & refocus your attention on your breath
Don’t force your breaths to a certain pattern- just breathe naturally
If emotions come up as you are meditating, just focus on how those emotions are making your body feel, then release all these feelings one-by-one
Ending the session
At the end of the session open your eyes, stretch & stand up slowly
Tell yourself that you are proud of yourself for completing a meditation practice- they are tough!
On Sunday I completed a vision board workshop to help me with my goal setting for 2019. I had a general idea of what goals I wanted to accomplish this year after journalling for the whole month of January, but this workshop helped me solidify these goals. To start, the workshop instructor discussed the benefits of goal setting and how manifesting your goals can actually help you accomplish them faster. The instructor believes that if you envision your goals every day, for example on a vision board, then you have a greater chance of actually completing those goals. They believe that this method triggers your sub-conscious brain to start guiding you towards taking the necessary steps to make your dreams a reality. I am always interested in learning new things and working towards becoming the best version of myself, so I am excited to see if this method works for me.
Next, the instructor took us through a guided meditation to help us envision our goals. At first, I had difficulty getting into the meditation mindset, but I really tried to use the tips that I have learned and listen to the sound of my instructors voice and block out all other thoughts. As the meditation progressed, I found myself truly listening and envisioning exactly what she was asking us to.
After the meditation it was time to create our own vision boards! Before the workshop I printed out a few mantras that I wanted to manifest and photos of my goals for 2019. After the meditation I realized that there were a few more goals that I wanted to add to my vision board so I just printed out those photos at home after the workshop and added them to my board. The only thing left to do was glue everything onto a poster board like a collage! I personally love arts & crafts so creating the vision board was so much fun for me.
If you want to create your own vision board at home here’s how!
Pin point goals that you want to accomplish for a certain time period! I decided to do my goals for 2019 but there is no rule as to what you have to create your vision board for. You can do a monthly vision board, a seasonal vision board… the opportunities are endless. To do this you can look up a guided meditation like this one
Print off photos that remind you of your goals. Try to make your goals specific to the photo so that it’s the first thing that you envision when you see that photo. I also printed off a few mantras that I want to help shape my mindset.
Get crafting! Simply glue your photos down on the poster board and decorate it however you would like! I added a border, a title & a few 2-D shapes to mine.
Put your vision board in a place that you will see it every day & start manifesting your goals! Look at your vision board at least once a day & imagine how it FEELS to accomplish your goals & how you would complete them. Put yourself into the mindset of achieving your goals & eventually you will.
I encourage you to make your own vision board! Remember you & your goals are allowed to change so if there’s something on your vision board that doesn’t interest you anymore, just change it! Also, I would recommend putting something on your vision board that you have already accomplished just to get the ball rolling 😉
Last Tuesday I decided to go on a 1 week social media break to challenge myself and see how an absence of social media would contribute to my spiritual development. For the first couple days I found myself going through a withdrawal… I would constantly reach for my phone to realize that there was nothing on it for me to look at. Taking this break has allowed me to realize how much time I spend just aimlessly scrolling through instagram or closing & reopening snapchat to see if anything had changed from the last time I opened it. As the week progressed, I found myself feeling a lot happier knowing that I was accomplishing this goal that I had set. My mental health also got better because I was not comparing myself and my social life to others on social media, something that I had done a lot in the past. I am able to track my screentime on my phone and over the course of the week, my screentime decreased by 37%. I went skiing on Friday and I felt the need to post a photo but I wasn’t able to because I deleted instagram. Instead, I thought to myself “well why do I want to share with everyone that I am skiing? Is the world going to stop spinning if I don’t? No!”. This allowed me to re-evaluate why I think posting a photo every time I do something is necessary and if it’s actually worth my time. The only good thing that came from social media was when I lost my dog on Saturday morning. I decided to reinstall instagram to post a photo of my dog and help with the grieving process. From that post, many people reached out to me to express their condolences and it made me feel the tiniest bit better about losing her. Social media can be very toxic but it also makes the world a much smaller place and brings people together. I do plan on reinstalling most social media platforms after this week is over, and I will continue to use them. However, now I will be more conscious about the amount of time I spend on each of them and what I am using those apps for.
I encourage all of you to challenge yourself and give social media a break for a week. I believe that it will really open your eyes as to how much time you spend on social media, and what you can be doing otherwise to benefit your life.
This past week in my Learners and Learning Environments class at UVic we were talking about the benefits of teaching mindfulness in schools. Blair Stonechild, residential school survivor and Professor of Indigenous Studies at the First Nations University of Canada, describes how Indigenous Philosophy recognizes the four essential aspects of being: spiritual, emotional, physical, and intellectual. Out of those 4 aspects of being I put many hours into developing my intellectual and physical being but I spend limited time on my emotional/spiritual development. This is why I decided to learn more about mindfulness and meditation so that I could start strengthening my mind and soul. I also realized that if I am going to teach my own students about mindfulness, I first need to identify my own spirit.
Elementary school teachers have the important responsibility of educating the WHOLE student. This means teaching students not only how to read and write, but how to act socially and find their unique identities. A few techniques I learned in class to help students develop their spirits are as followed…
complete guided meditations with your students
have your students complete quiet self-reflections
practice respecting and acquiring other virtues (humility, honesty, bravery…)
take your students on nature walks & teach them that everything is a living thing & we need to respect them
honor our ancestors
teach students about emotional literacy
Any of these activities can help students identify more about who they are. It’s time parents/teachers start helping children become the best versions of themselves. Most of them time children need our help but don’t even know to ask for it.
I attached Blair Stonechild’s video if anyone is interested…
Isn’t that a refreshing thing to read? You can never find happiness by looking for it, instead you should be experiencing it. So how can we experience happiness in our lives? In Megrette Fletcher’s 2018 article “Four Ways to Nourish Happiness with Mindful Eating”, she describes how the conditions for experiencing happiness can be easy to find, if we put the effort into identifying what conditions are unique to us. Although Fletcher’s article was centered around mindful eating, I found that the points she made can be applicable across anything that you think can bring you happiness. For example, Fletcher mentions that you can be experiencing happiness without even realizing it. Sometimes it just takes a moment to pause, be mindful, and notice the joy around you. Ever since I have started journalling in the mornings I have noticed significant changes in my well-being. If you have been reading my other blog posts you know that every morning I list 3 things that I am grateful for. This has helped me to see the joy Fletcher discusses in a lot more aspects of my life. If I am having a bad day, I try to meditate and ask myself- “okay was it really all that bad?”. Often, after pausing and thinking about it I realize that my day wasn’t completely terrible and there are things that I have to be thankful for and that allowed me to experience happiness. I encourage all of you to try this next time you are having a “bad” day. Just pause and reflect on everything that happened and often you will realize that there was some good to your day after all. The more we work on realizing what brings us joy, the easier it will be to put ourselves in our unique conditions for experiencing happiness.
It has almost been a month since I started journaling so I wanted to do an update on how the whole experience has been for me. The journal that I decided to write in was one created by personal trainer and nutritionist, Tara Brunet, (ig-trainingbytarabrunet). In this journal, titled “January Jumpstart”, Tara helps you start your year off right with a 5-step process to identify and eventually set your goals for the year. Next, Tara has you identify limiting factors for your goals and then helps you shut them down immediately. The rest of the book is 31 pages for 31 days and each page has a workout, a section to write your daily 3 to-do’s to get yourself closer to your goals, a section to write 3 things that you are grateful for, and then some inspiration for the day. Now 28 days into the journal, I can honestly say that it has impacted my outlook on life immensely. As I touched on in my last blog post, I have found that my productivity has increased a lot because every day I am outlining what I need to accomplish that day. My self-confidence is also increasing as I set and accomplish my goals because I am becoming more like the person I want to be every day. I find Tara’s inspiration for the day has also helped me change my mindset to become more growth oriented than fixed. I highly recommend trying a journal such as Tara’s for a month and see how it impacts your life. Even if after a month you don’t notice a change or decide that it isn’t for you, at least you can tell yourself that you stuck with something for a whole month straight and you should be proud. Images below are from Tara’s facebook page where she posted the journal online for free.
In the TEDx Talk I linked above, Dr. Shauna Shapiro discusses why we should be practicing mindfulness and self-care. When Dr. Shapiro was seventeen, she had spinal fusion surgery and her whole life was turned around. Suddenly, she had to get used to living in a body that couldn’t do the same things it used to be able to do, so she turned to mindfulness to help her & never looked back. Dr. Shapiro discusses how on a mindfulness retreat in Thailand, a monk told her that “what you practice grows stronger”, and it has stuck with her ever since. As soon as I heard this, all these ideas began connecting in my head and it was like a light bulb had gone off. I remember reading studies about two growing plants- one that was told positive comments and the other was told negative comments. After a few months, the plant that was only told positive things ended up growing substantially more than the other plant. This same thing happens in our brains, but instead of plants it’s new neurons growing in response to repeated practice or “cortical thickening” as Dr. Shapiro describes it in her TEDx Talk. It’s said to take 30 days to create a new habit, so the more that we are kind to ourselves, either by saying positive things about ourselves or practicing self-care, the easier it gets. We are always growing something in our minds so it all depends on what you want to grow in life. If you want to grow your judgement, your ignorance, or your negativitiy, then keep doing those things. However, if you want to grow your compassion, your knowledge, and your positivity, then that is what you need to be practicing every day in your life.
Why should we set goals? Before I started my inquiry project, I never set any official goals in my life. I am a huge procrastinator and honestly I had no idea where to start. I knew that in my life I wanted to be successful, but what does that even mean? Success is subjective and so I couldn’t just ask someone else what they thought it meant. Instead, I began to brainstorm and I came up with my list- be financially stable enough to own a dog and travel every year, have a job that provides challenges for me to overcome every day, be happy and be healthy. From my definition of success, I began to develop my short and long term goals. At first, I was just creating goals for the sole purpose of creating them, but as time progressed I found that I was able to redefine my goals to become something that I actually really want to accomplish.
Since I’ve adopted goal setting into my life I’ve noticed that my happiness, productiveness & time management skills have all increased. I now love the feeling of setting goals and accomplishing them and all I want to do is set more. Goal setting has also allowed me to discover more about who I am as a person and I have found my confidence has grown a lot. Still not convinced that goal setting is for you? Here are a few resources that I really enjoyed.