2017 went into history as probably the best year yet, one that taught me a lot about myself and what I think of things.

One of the things I learned is that I love routines. I need routines in order to function at my best. Right now, in this very moment, imagining a day that I wouldn’t have to wake up wondering ‘what to do today‘ sounds like heaven to me.

In order to create a life for myself that I enjoy to the fullest, it goes without saying that my routines must serve me in the best possible way. Before I left Sydney, my roommate got us matching t-shirts saying “LIVE YOUR DREAMS, STAY IN BED”. Granna as they call me, that became my obvious choice for PJs. I loved it!

But what if it was possible to live one’s dreams outside of bed…?

Well, I think it is, which is why I thought I’d share with you a few of the routines that I have put in place to make sure not to let my dreams slip through my fingers.

1. Dream On A Board

As mentioned in one of my very first posts, I owe my latest overseas adventure to a dream board that I made in January two years ago.

Focusing mostly on travel, inner peace, and health and wellbeing, it was the first one I’d ever made. It took me several days to compile, but once it was done I hung it on the wall as I had no traditional closet inside which to hide it from the rest of the world while still ensuring its visibility to me. Consequently, whoever came to visit me was likely to spot it on the wall and, curious as they’d get, ask about it, which means I found myself talking about it quite a lot. Having placed it right beside my bed, I saw it every day, consciously or not, and was reminded about its core message on a daily basis: Get out there and explore.

Nine months later, I did.

This year, I’ve done a total of three dream boards or vision boards, as they’re also called. The first one I crafted at Billabong Gardens, the hostel-turned-black-hole that I stayed at at the beginning of the year. I bought myself a glue stick and a piece of cardboard, and started cutting out words and images out of magazines that I’d kept. It wasn’t as easygoing as the first one had been; on the contrary it felt a little forced. By the time it was finished, one of my then-recently made friends asked me ”Anna, where’s all the fun in here?”.

And so I put in a bottle of champagne, or was it the word ”PLAY”, I can’t recall.

The first board being extremely work and career focused, the second one was notably… softer. Less forceful, less aggressive; more accepting and allowing. More… me. We made one as part of both rounds of the Artist’s Way. For the third one, we were told to close our eyes for a minute and see where we see ourselves doing something that sets our soul on fire. The board was then crafted around the ‘what’, ‘where’, and ‘why’ of that.

Collecting your dreams on a board and being reminded of them on a daily basis is an effective visualization exercise. Based on the law of attraction, what we focus on expands. The question goes, therefore: what would you like to see more of in your life? 

How do you wish to feel? What motivates you, what inspires you?

It can be anything related to health and wellbeing, career, relationships, travels, spirituality, finances, anything. There are no rules. With limited space, however, one ought to carefully consider what to ‘invest’ in as what you put there might very well start popping up here and there and anywhere you go.

Be careful what you wish for, though – you just might get it!

2. Ask Yourself the Right Questions

2017, for me, became the year of journaling. It all started in March when I gave the Artist’s Way the benefit of the doubt and joined a 12-week group coaching course that focused on creativity. The course included a set of weekly and daily tasks, namely artist’s dates and morning pages. While the former is a weekly date with yourself, scheduled or spontaneous, the intention of which is to give you new input, the latter refers to daily journaling that takes place first thing when you wake up in the morning. Having always done all my writing on my laptop, it took some time to get used to, but once I had – oh boy! What a difference there was. Not only do I think we spend far too much time in front of a computer or a screen to start with, but using an actual pen and paper enables a much more mindful experience that’s been proven to be much more effective on the brain.

Anyways, the point here is that, throughout the year (and still today), I asked myself the following type of questions on a weekly, if not daily, basis:

  • What (the heck) am I doing here?
  • How am I feeling today?
  • Am I doing things that matter to me?
  • What do I think of X/Y/Z? (Options, alternatives… not people.)
  • Am I going in the right direction?
  • Where do I see myself in a year?

While the last one remains unanswered, what  I’m trying to say is that there are no answers to questions never asked. Therefore, start out by asking yourself the right questions. In this very moment, whatever you’re doing, give yourself a minute or two to reflect on what’s been, what is, and what’s to come. Where are you at in life? What are you doing?

Imagine that it was your 100th birthday (who’s read The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared…?) and that all your loved ones were there to celebrate your big day. If someone held a speech for you, what would you like them to reminisce about your life. Would it relate to what you’re doing today?

Ask yourself the right questions and one day you might just wake up with the answers.

3. Read Books That Inspire You

Reading books have become a great source of inspiration to me. Reading while traveling, however, was, at times, a little tricky as I did not have a Kindle or even a tablet, and because I prefer to have a real book in my hands in the first place. With limited kg’s (and $$$), I was not able to buy all the books that I wanted to read, so I actually ended up getting a good old library card in Sydney – yup, they still exist! Thus, the five most inspiring and/or thought-provoking books for me in 2017 was:

  • The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
  • Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck by Mark Manson
  • Yoga Of Eating by Georg Eisenstein
  • The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Focusing on creativity and on living my kind of life, here and now, these were eye-opening to me in a sense that they’ve really helped me clarify what I value in life. To me, it really is the little things that make the big things; being surrounded by people I love and doing something that feels meaningful to me. Finding a balance between work and play (could these be synonymous to each other, however…?), and savoring each and every moment, because we really have no idea when it will come to an end. 

As for 2018, it is safe to say that I’m curious to see what life has in store for me. One thing that’s for sure is that no matter where I end up, I’m going to live it ALL IN simply because YOLO – seriously.

Wishing you all an inspiring, happy and healthy new year! ♥

Love and light,
let’s shine bright,

Anna