Here is what is next!
Making more progress!
During this week we have a few exercises to help guide in finding yourself and what you are truly committing to.
To start watch the video to walk through a visualization.
Once you have watched the video, re-visit this concept at least 3-4 times this week.
Why are you here and how are you right now?
Many people take this course when they realize they need an extra push to get to where they are going. Often times, we do not give a lot of thought of what that destination is going to look like.
The original contract you signed was an introduction to this concept – of commitment to self and meaning to the relationships around you. This is a very individual concept and it so important at this time to recognize why you are doing this so you can execute in a meaningful way. Visualizing outcomes will become part of your daily roadmap, your goal(s). You should be able to execute on small meaningful tasks that make you feel a feeling of accomplishment, a feeling of satisfaction by the end of your 12-week round.
The meaning to your life right now is going to look different than your meaning in the future. The meaning is what will give you the feeling of direction. If you are like many there are interceptors to that meaning today, perhaps again why you find yourself here.
1) We often compare ourselves with others: it is so easy to compare ourselves with those around us. It is the age-old challenge and we all do it. As social psychologist Louis Festinger pointed out we do it: to reduce uncertainty about ourselves and to define ourselves. If this is the basis of comparison, it is safe to assume that we would do this more often when we are unhappy with some aspect of our life. We can compare so much, that we can paralyze our own development. Some suggested parameters we can put in our life to improve our own boundaries and reduce the comparison can include: reducing exposure to social media (I remove the apps from my mobile phone so I do not access social media all of the time), reduce exposure to people who heavily compare themselves to others (reducing exposure to energy vampires – we will talk about this in a bit) and checking in with ourselves to make sure we are not conforming to norms others are setting for us (often we belong or want to belong to groups that we think are powerful, or like-minded almost like we want to be like them. ) The danger of not checking in with one’s self is that you too can fall into the cycle of self-comparison without working on yourself and improving yourself.
2) We are looking for love in all the wrong places: we are naturally looking for love as humans. The issue with this concept is not so much expecting love in nurturing and meaningful relationships but the concept that love is unconditional or in a form we have romanticized in our heads. Expectations can be unrealistic when it comes to friendships, relationships with colleagues at work, your relationship with people who are not your life partner or child. So this point is two fold: unhappiness can often come from unrealistic expectations of what love in a relationship looks like and in what your perception of love is (the fact that it should be unconditional, non-judgemental, and it gives your existence validity). Here, the best way to alleviate this stress and reduce the expectation is to work on yourself and the love within you first. We will talk about gratitude practice, your journey to individualism throughout this program. To focus on one’s self – self-love, self- awareness also gives very deep feelings of love and happiness within ourselves. This often if not always results in healthier relationships with others around you.
3) We have a hard time letting go: we are unable to let pain and negative feelings go from a bad experience. Most of us find it hard to experience a hardship and not learn from it. Although, we do often not learn from some and repeat it until we do! Letting go of a negative experience is awfully hard, it means you may have done something wrong; it means you may have failed. We like to feel like we are in control and therefore should learn from the situations we have been through, the media tells us our journey is for learning and although this may be true, remembering negative feelings, pain, grief and hurt like it just happened to you actually has negative effects in the long term. Letting go is an exercise in repetition, letting go of situations and feelings is something that can be so hard many of us continue to hold on and manifest illness and disease from it. I have personally fallen victim to this but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Imagine yourself in a room with a bunch of wires plugged into your body and head. Kind of like a scene from the Matrix (movie). Imagine each wire being an experience in your life that you continually reference. Now, remove the first wire. As you go through the program, I hope you can remove some of these wires. The memories will always be there, but the feelings associated with the memory should not. You can unplug these wires and roll them up and hand them back to the person who plugged them in there. You can do this as an act of empowerment to force yourself to let it go fully.
“To let go does not mean to get rid of. To let go means to let be.
When we let be with compassion, things come and go on their own.” –Jack Kornfield
I want to bring these concepts back to one main theme: your purpose that defines you is not in the perceptions you have of these types of challenges around you. Your purpose comes from within you, within what you can see in that heart centre. This week let us focus on defining this for you. Download this PDF.
The Pomodoro Technique
By now, you should have received your productivity planner. If you have already started using it, I will provide you with some guidance here. If you have not yet used this planner please read the introduction in the planner (pages 4-34) to learn about the Pomodoro Technique.
For those of you who have no received the planner yet, please read this document as I have added screenshots of the pages for your information. In lieu of the planner, feel free to copy the pages (in a separate document after you read this) into a journal to keep track of your future goals, habits and to be able to reference back to them as your progress through the program. For those of you who want to purchase the productivity planner to keep track of ongoing habits and goals, click this link to purchase through the 15minuteaday.ca program.
The Pomodoro Technique was coined by an Italian by the name of Francesco Cirillo. He was a university student in the 1990s and was experiencing procrastination when he was trying to execute activities where he had little or no motivation. He decided to break down the larger activities into smaller stints so that he could maintain a level of interest and get the task completed. He decided to break down activities into 25 minutes intervals with 5-minute breaks. He used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato to do this and that is where Pomodoro comes from (tomato in Italian). It is important to point out, the 5-minute breaks are an imperative part of the Pomodoro technique and should not be squandered spending time doing something else. I suggest you drink water, stretch or do jumping jacks! Do not touch your phone, computer, book, etc.
Please see next document or read introduction in productivity planner from page 4-31.
Please start using this to plan your day in the morning and review your day before bedtime. It is revolutionary tool. Like everything else, please use this for the rest of the program for best results. Download this PDF.
Your Why and Your Morning Routine
Success is a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day. — Jim Rohn
Waking in the morning can go two ways: popping out of bed with the vigor of life and excitement for the day and, hitting snooze repeatedly not wanting to move. Which one sounds more attractive to you?
The secret to waking up with vigor, with a day ahead of you – wanting to be present and excited for life, starts the night before.
Setting a healthy sleep hygiene routine is important and paramount to productivity the next day. As mentioned before in the program: 7-8 hours of sleep are really the gold standard for adults. If you are younger and doing this program, you can refer to number of hours of sleep for your age category. The averages provided popularly in the media and in research are usually average or a good place to start, some people may need an hour more but rarely does anyone function on any less.
Recommendations for sleep hygiene in this program are suggested but not limited to:
1) Set a time to sleep every night around the same time. Yes, this will be disrupted by children, spouse or if you decide to go out late one night, but the more routine your bedtime is, the easier it becomes to sleep for the hours required and for optimal productivity the next day.
2) Do not drink caffeine or take supplements after 3 pm. Your metabolism starts to slow down after this time, and it will become difficult to sleep if you are trying to digest supplements later in the day. Not to mention, they usually do not absorb very well. This is of course outside of supplements you should take for slower metabolism including calcium magnesium or anything your alternative care practitioner has prescribed.
3) Do not watch TV for at least an hour before sleeping, remove your TV from your bedroom if you have to!
4) Reading is great, but put the book down when it is time to sleep.
5) Try not to eat or snack in that last couple of hours before sleep.
6) Sleep in a cool and dark room.
7) Try not to keep your devices in the bedroom.
8) Try not to drink alcohol right before you sleep.
9) Stop consuming beverages or water/teas for at least 1 hour before bedtime.
10) Try not to nap during the day – if you must nap, then nap for only 20 minutes and before 3 pm.
11) Do not participate in strenuous activity before bedtime, slow aerobic activity is okay (for example, walking or yoga).
During this program, filling your productivity planner to plan the next day can be included as part of your bedtime routine. In reviewing your day in advance, you can map out what that day could like in activity.
There is a notes section below each day, here you should add your spiritual practice items. This allows you to track that you are doing them and also allows you to read what they say out loud to yourself. Here we recommend that you add affirmations before you go to sleep. The affirmations are meant to set yourself up for success the next day.
Here are some sample bedtime affirmations:
- What I have done today is enough
- I give myself permission to have a restful sleep and wake with excitement and energy tomorrow
- I am worthy of love and look forward to receiving that love tomorrow
- I will be productive tomorrow and am so excited to see what tomorrow holds for me
- I release today and forgive it all
- I embrace me dreams
- I am in harmony with the universe
- I welcome abundance to my life tomorrow in all forms
I, personally, really enjoy Dr. Wayne Dyer’s perspectives and this is a video to listen to as well. It covers some affirmations before sleep.
For added relaxation and effectiveness: hold your index finger touching and pressing into your thumb while lying on your back to get the full effects of relaxation before you sleep. There are pressure points there that result in your body relaxing. Your body is also conditioned over time to respond to this feeling with peace and relaxation. Over years, I have been able to use this to calm myself in stressful situations. Combined with deep breathing – it is an effective method to slow down your heart rate, racing thoughts and flight or flight response to stressful situations. Download this PDF.
In the morning, there should be a set time you wake. Even when you have disrupted sleep, your wake time should remain the same. Again, if you have small children or babies in the house, this will have to be adjusted as time passes and you can reach out directly to me and my team to get expert advice on your situation.
When the alarm rings, it is important to consistently get up at that time. Today with the advent of technology, we can choose softer rings and light lamps that turn on gradually to mimic a rising sun. It is important to ensure when you wake, that you are stirred from your sleep in an effective manner that works for you.
To avoid lying in bed, falling back asleep or pressing snooze several times – use the 5 second rule. The method as described by author Mel Robbins – in her book, the 5 second rule – really works well here. She described herself like a rocket about to launch out of bed when she wakes up in the morning. She talks at length about her battle with waking up in the morning and makes it so easy to do – anyone can do it. She literally started by counting down – 5-4-3-2-1 to get out of bed. The entire concept was revolutionary to her life and I have conducted my own social experiment with my children – and it works! This is one strategy for getting up, and is a good one because it forces you out of the bed right away.
Now, let’s talk about the importance of waking and feeling energetic. If you can convince yourself you have energy when you wake up, you will. It is literally all in the mind, although we often intellectualize it making excuses for why our sleep was not restful. Ideally, your nighttime routine will lead you here, but in the morning it is literally your past and your perspective will evolve as time passes and you continue to push yourself out of bed right away. You will also start to realize: it is a whole new day, with new opportunities and a world in front of you. You can even say this to yourself as you brush your teeth!
When you wake, and pop out of bed, the next ideal step is to practice a short mindfulness routine, this can be showering right away in silence, or completing a quick 2-5-minute meditation. You should decide what works for you. For meditations for the day please visit my members only meditations and search for morning meditations. You can also access this meditation to start. Mindfulness activities can be anything that has become automated to you. Showering or getting ready, sitting and meditating, reading affirmations from a book in the morning, watering your plants.
Following the mindfulness/meditation time it is helpful to write your goals in your productivity planner (if you haven’t already) and practice gratitude. This can be in your mind if you are short on time or right in your planner – 2-3 things you are grateful for in the moment. It sets the tone for the day and it really helps to get your endorphins going. Practicing gratitude has physiological side effects that are magnificent on your mind body and soul. Download this PDF.
What are you grateful for today?
For some it is a profound question that requires a lot of inquiry. But for now, let’s look at it like it is easy to determine. Even things like – coffee in the morning, a roof over your head, your health, your ability to do simple things, the fact that you are loved, that you have a job or business. You can be grateful for a magnitude of new things everyday.
Gratitude has been proven to scientifically improve mood, relationships, physical health. It is a gateway to overall health in so many ways. This happens because at a very literal level, it makes you feel good. That good feeling, carries into the world that you create yourself when you are grateful for the people and things around you. If we re-visit the conversation about letting go in this module – you will see quickly that the feelings of pain, resentment and emotional strife would evaporate with the feeling of gratitude in learning the lesson and letting it go. They can almost be seen as opposites. Gratitude opens up your heart centre so you can see your meaning more clearly, it makes your relationships stronger because you will treat those people around you with a deeper sense of love and respect. Gratitude makes you realize everything you have as an individual and improve your meaning of life and experience.
Gratitude also forces you to see each situation in a positive light even the experiences that are not so great. Over 21 years ago, I lost my father to a horrendous battle with cancer. Until this day, the level of pain I witnessed was traumatizing and a memory I really wish I did not have, for a long time. But I have been able to let it go, to better understand myself and feel gratitude that I witnessed it because it has taught me a level of empathy and care that brings me to my true calling: being able to help others no matter their situation. I also have a clearer understanding of physical, mental, and emotional pain so I can help others release that pain. I do not believe I would have been able to do this without my experience.
How do you practice gratitude?
Add it to one of your Pomodoro’s to start? Share a Pomodoro with gratitude practice and updating your planner daily in the morning. At this point, let’s practice it at least 5 days a week until the end of the program. Download this PDF.
Making progress! Please stay tuned for Module Four - in your inbox in one week's time.