• sparkfireswan

A&A Review 8 Ways You Can Still Change Your Life In 2020

End of Week #54

Gualala River Redwood Park, Gualala CA

Miles traveled since last week's post = 0

Total miles traveled to date = 7,955 with trailer

Welcome to my 100th blog post on SparkFireSwan.com! :)

Over the weekend, Adam and I celebrated 10 years of life together! We went on our first official date on June 5th, 2010, and it's hard to believe an entire decade has already gone by, spent learning and growing with each other. To celebrate, we went on a group sunset hike Friday night, in search of the full moon, however it was a bit chilly for all of us so we came back a little early. But we continued on with shots Friday night, and a bonfire Saturday night. And on Sunday we explored a nearby oceanside park, Gualala Point Regional Park - which finally opened up about a week ago. The weather has not quite been as warm here in California as we have noticed it's been back in Minnesota, but we are still doing our best to make the most of it.

As we get into the month of June and head towards our halfway point for the year, I want to remind everyone that the year is not yet over and it's certainly not wasted!

8 Ways You Can Change Your Life In One Year... or even during the rest of 2020!

It might feel like 2020 has been a bit of a wash of a year so far, but don't give up - it's not over yet! It's June now, and what better time than the halfway point to make some adjustments and course correct anywhere that isn't living up to your goals and expectations. By now we have all survived whole continents & rainforests burning, the almost start of WWIII, a global pandemic, protests and rioters, social change, and so much more. But we made it. We are here in this moment and we are moving forward.

Some of us might feel like we are completely off track with our goals this year, but have no fear, there are still plenty of ways we can achieve what we want to achieve! Here are some helpful reminders of simple steps you can take to drastically change your circumstances over the course of the next 6 months or year of your life.

1. Stop complaining and appreciate how lucky you are every day. Gratitude journal.

You're living, you're breathing, you're reading this right now. Most of you are healthy. Most of you have everything you could need in this very moment. You have a roof over your head, you have food on the table and a lot of you still have your jobs too. It's extremely important to fixate on the good. Too often, especially this year, we are constantly fixating on the bad and without even realizing how detrimental that is to the quality of our mental health and overall happiness. We have become obsessed with breaking news updates and data and this constant flight or fight response is not good for our bodies or our brains.

It's important that we recognize the good and how lucky we really are. The biggest thing that has helped me with this realization is by expressing gratitude, daily. This can be written down in a journal or notepad, or even posted about on social media. You can meditate about the things you are grateful for and you can share appreciative messages with loved ones about how happy you are to have them in your life. Focusing on the good creates more good. And being grateful for what we have in turn attracts to us more things to be grateful for.

Try it out: Practice listing 3 things every single day that you are grateful for and notice how your perspective shifts. Complete this task daily in the morning when you wake up or just before bed.

2. Embrace loneliness and reinvent yourself in the process.

We have all had different journeys through what has been the year 2020, but that doesn't mean that we haven't gone through a lot of the same kind of emotional "stuff" together. In one way or another, we have all been struck by loneliness and uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, and we all must find new ways to learn and grow through the process. The biggest key point here is to not try to escape what we are feeling, and instead to allow ourselves the time and space to sit with feelings like loneliness and even learn how to embrace it. There is so much opportunity in discomfort and so much opportunity among low vibration feelings such as loneliness, to ultimately reinvent your whole being.

Time spent going inward is never wasted. Sitting alone with yourself, all of your thoughts, emotions and feelings, is a good way to do a self check in to analyze what areas need help and what areas need to change. Consider it self-care, and self-care is never selfish, but in fact it is necessary.

Try it out: Next time you are all alone, take some time to just sit with your thoughts. Consider it a form of meditation, but for at least 10 minutes try to refrain from grabbing your phone or turning on the TV. Notice how you feel. Notice your breathe. Write down all that comes up for you.

3. Say goodbye to the people that don't bring positive energy into your life.

This one is probably one of the hardest things to do, especially when it involves a good friend or even a family member. But this one is also one of the most important and worthwhile to really improve the quality of your own life! Some people do not bring us joy, and instead they suck the life and the energy right out of us with their toxic traits. So when that happens, when you realize you have an energy vampire on your hands, that means it's time to set stronger boundaries and possibly even cut your ties. I've encountered this myself before, and of course it is not easy, but sometimes the most necessary things for our own personal journey are not always the most easy things to navigate.

Try it out: Take a mental inventory of the 5-10 people you talk to or see the most. How are they affecting you? Do they bring you joy? Do they lift you up or do they bring you down? Do you always have to give to them without anything in return?

Sometimes you may be able to have a simple conversation with toxic people in your life to let them know what needs to change, but other times the only way they will realize it is if you distance yourself from them entirely. Regardless, in the end the toxic people in our lives contribute to holding us back from our ability to achieve our own greatness.

4. Turn off the TV and set internet controls and boundaries.

And not just because screen time is addictive... but nowadays because screen time is literally toxic to your mental health. Everything we are consuming in the past 3-4 months has been negative, traumatizing and even pretty violent too. It makes sense why we are not sleeping well lately, why our minds are spinning, why we don't feel the best, and our bodies are overstressed. Sure we have been in different versions of "quarantine", but that time has been spent absolutely addicted to our devices while we wait for the next update on the state of the world.

Even if 2020 wasn't going the way it was going I would still suggest this one to you. Setting TV, Netflix, streaming and other internet boundaries will change your entire life. At first, it can be something as simple as not having your phone in the bedroom with you at night, and from there you can build up to having set hours or times you check your phone or watch TV. You could even try it as an experiment and journal about how your mentality and your free time shifts over the course of a week or even a month.

Try it out: Go one week without having your phone in the bedroom with you at night, and instead keep it in the living room or kitchen when you go to sleep. If you're really brave, try setting a 'no phones after 8 PM' rule, and 'no phones before breakfast' rule. Journal about what changes you notice in your mental health and ability to focus on your goals.

5. Pick one skill you want to cultivate and put all your effort into developing it.

It doesn't matter if you were already super productive during "quarantine" or if you were working on spending extra time on taking care of yourself instead. There is still time to make something happen the rest of the year, or even for the next year of your life! It is never too late to start again or even start over in general. Each new day is a completely new opportunity to make it anything you want it to be. Each new day is 100% a fresh new start, and it doesn't have to be anything more or anything less than that.

I've always been a goal oriented person but sometimes my energy levels struggle to complete the day to day tasks. I find it can be easier to fully write out what steps it will take to achieve an end action, skill or goal, and then break up those steps into daily tasks, weekly actions or even things you want to accomplish month by month. There is no time limit for how long it should take you to achieve what you want to achieve in life. This is your journey and no one else's, so you will always have to do what works best for you! But if you are feeling too overwhelmed from all that you are trying to do, it might be easier to just stick to one thing at a time until you can slowly check multiple things off your list. Sometimes what is holding you back is the fact that you have your attention spread too thin across multiple efforts instead of using all your focus on just one thing.

Try it out: Pick one thing you want to learn or try doing this year and just START. Tomorrow. no excuses. Make at least one baby step in the direction of something NEW.

6. Commit to the goals you set and never look back.

If you want to achieve your goals you have to focus. You have to fully commit to getting to the end result, no matter what. You have to create a plan and understand that not every day will you stick to the plan, but that doesn't mean you can't make things happen. I'm still amazed every day at all that we created and made happen with completely switching our entire lifestyles, when we only prepared for this for about 8 months time. You can do anything in a year, or even in 6 months. You can make your dreams come true.

But you can't give up. You can't spend your time dwelling in the past or fixating on the times in life when you did give up or didn't accomplish what you set out to do. The past is the past and it doesn't serve your future anymore so there is no sense in looking back at it. Each day is one foot in front of the other in the direction of the life you want to live. Each day you have to actively choose and pursue that life that you want to have and promise yourself that you will not settle for anything else until you get there. Each day, little by little, your action steps will add up in a grand way and before you know it you will have made complete transformations.