Along with my 2016 resolution to live without Facebook and focus on my life without comparing it to others, I have found some amazing resources that are helping me stay organized and on track with my goals.
The first is Passion Planner. I’m obsessed with planning, organizing, writing things down, and color coding, so I’ve always used a planner religiously. I honestly don’t know how I survived before I knew Passion Planner existed. It’s not just a date book to keep your schedule – it helps you map out your goals and break them down into simple, realistic steps, and you set your own deadlines. At the end of each month, there is a journal check in where you reflect on your progress and how to improve for the following month. You choose a focus for each week and each day, and there is a prioritizing to-do list for each week to help you stay focused on pressing matters. You can download a PDF version on the website, but I highly recommend buying one – it’s worth every penny.
The next thing I’ve found really helpful is an iPhone app called Productive. Productive is a habit tracker that has lots of pre-set habits such as “check my posture” and “take medication” and you can also create your own. For each habit you set a frequency (daily, monthly, bi-weely, etc.) and a time (morning, afternoon, evening). You can also set up reminders, and choose which habits you want to be reminded of. Once you complete a habit, you mark it completed, and the app tracks your progress so you can always look and see how many days in a row you’ve completed certain habits, or how many days you’ve completed everything on your list. I will note that to get more than 5 habits you do have to pay for the full version, but it’s a one time purchase of $4.99 and for me it’s definitely been worth it because I use it every day.
Another one of my goals for this year is to spend 30 minutes with God each morning, a tip I picked up from Carlos and Alexa PenaVega on their blog. I start each morning by meditating from 2-10 minutes, a good site to help with this is calm – there is also a calm app, which comes with a 7-day free plan but then requires a monthly subscription which I have not tried out yet. After meditating, I read scripture from a couple different bible apps with reading plans, and pray. I’ve found that this morning routine puts me in a better mood to start the day, and it’s much more relaxing to wake up doing something peaceful and inspiring rather than jumping out of bed and running to the dreaded workplace.
I’m also trying to start yoga, and discovered this YouTube playlist for beginners. I haven’t had the time to do it every day, but I do really like the couple of videos that I’ve followed so far.
Lots of people say being happy starts with your attitude, which I still can’t say I 100% agree with, but I will say that it’s possible to retrain your brain. I used to always wake up dreading the day, so I asked myself, how do I want to feel when I wake up? What do I want to wake up and do? I would love to wake up and go to a photoshoot or a movie set, but that isn’t my career right now, so I have to answer realistically. I want to wake up and not rush. I want to wake up and be calm. That’s where I started, so now rather than setting an alarm for work, I set an alarm for meditation. It does wonders, I promise.
Am I happy yet? I wouldn’t say yes, but I’m not sad. I’m okay. And that’s progress.