2017 has been a big year for me because I knew change was coming. My husband and I invested in two apartments in southern Portugal as a way to earn money on the side and have a vacation home when we visit. We then knew we wanted to move there this year whether it was for a 3-6 month sabbatical or for at least a year if he found a good steady job. Well, he found a job in Lisbon, so we did the unthinkable and moved overseas with our three dogs and are staying for at least a year. We’re thinking longer because we love it so much already. Aside from that, 2016-2017 have taught me so much in becoming a better person and I’m still learning...A LOT. I’m still not where I want to be but I feel 2018 will be an even bigger & better year for me. I want to share my top 4 ways on having a better year and becoming happier within for 2018 and going forward.
1.TRY NEW THINGS AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE
Many of us get scared of the unknown. We like comfort and stick to what we know, but if we only stick to what we know due to fear of failure or just fear in general, we will never know if something new will be good for us or better yet, something we end up falling in love with. We often hold back and say “I’ll try that another time,” or “That seems too risky”, or “I can’t buy that car or house because I’m scared of losing my job.” Trust your intuition, but when fear is holding you back, push that fear far away from you. Fear is the only thing stopping us from getting what we want.
The time is now! If you have the opportunity, don’t miss out on it just because you’re scared. Had I done that, I would have never packed my bags and moved to Portugal because it’s out of my comfort zone. I was a bit scared to make such a big move and be away from my friends and family, but all the reasons to move were greater than not moving. I’m fine, alive, and loving every minute of my new adventure. I’m seeing new things every day, trying new foods, meeting new people, and enjoying life. Isn’t that what life is supposed to be about anyway? Making the best out of every moment. Go out and try that dish that everyone loves but makes your face squirm at the sight of it. It might end up being your new favorite food. If not, at least you can say you tried!
2. SET INTENTIONS, NOT GOALS
When you set a goal for yourself, it can be easy to forget about it. You’re not constantly reminding yourself it has to be done & when you do, it feels more like a chore and we all know chores are not fun. One of the reasons people don’t achieve their goals is because so many things get in the way of our busy lives, and we forget we even set a goal so we keep putting it aside till it’s non-existent.
Have you ever set an intention? It’s simple and effective. I do it in two ways:
You can say positive messages to yourself, fill yourself with good vibes and positive thoughts throughout the day, reminding you who you are, what you can achieve, and that life will be what you make it to be.
You can write down in a planner, piece of paper, or type it somewhere you know you’ll see and manifest your desires by saying what you want for that day, week, month, or year. It’s like putting out messages in the universe and letting the law of attraction do its thing.
For example, you can say “I am successful & career driven” (when your goal is to be successful & find a good job), “I am strong” (when your goal is to be more fit or strong minded), “I am kind & loving” (when you want to spread more love into the world.) Those are some of the intentions I have and tell myself before I do yoga, or before I start my day, or when I feel down and need a pick-me-up reminder. Positive reinforcement and writing things down have been shown to work better than having goals. They keep you focused on what it is you want in life and reaching your achievements.
3. MEDITATE, FEEL GREAT!
I can’t say enough about how much meditation has helped me in the worst of times and has helped me feel calmer and more positive about life. I don’t do it as often as I used to, but I know when I was doing it daily every morning before I’d start my day, I saw everything with light, had more energy, and felt healthier. Meditation has been proven time and time again that it improves our overall health, wellbeing, and mindset.
New to meditation? No problem!
You can start by practicing 5-10 minutes a day, taking deep breaths counting for 4-8 seconds as you inhale and 4-8 seconds as you exhale. As you inhale imagine what you want in life, and as you exhale, imagine letting go of what you no longer need in life. Kind of like setting intentions. There are many ways to practice meditation; with music, with other people, alone in nature, in your room, anywhere really. You can do guided meditation as well. I use this app called Insight Timer which has a timer, relaxing sounds, and guided meditations for what you want to focus your mind on.
4. A POSITIVE YOU = A HAPPIER YOU
Have you noticed the more negative you are about things, the more negativity seems to follow you around? It’s like the Duracell bunny, it just keeps going and going. Or when people are so negative it sucks the energy out of you and you just want to walk away from that but sometimes it causes you to start feeling and talking negative too and you’re not sure why. Well, that’s why! Even watching a sad movie, hearing awful news, listening to sad music, or being stuck in gloomy weather can unfortunately bring people down and quickly shift our energy into negative energy.
What about people who are always happy? They’re like magnets! Their wonderful energy gravitates you towards them because you want that for yourself and their optimism on life is uplifting and inspiring. Those are the kind of people you should surround yourself with. They look at things with light and want the best for you! They see beauty in the finer things in life and it’s what keeps them going throughout each day. The more positive we are about life even when something hard hits us, the easier it will become for us to face challenges and turn them around. It can be hard to do, but when you start to practice looking at things in a better perspective, life seems so much better.
For example, the other day I was bummed my husband and I spent money on a taxi only to miss the market I wanted to see because traffic was awful and they closed by the time we got there. I knew the market would be open another day and normally I would say “Oh well, another time,” but I was really looking forward to it THAT day. Well, we ended up being in an area we were unfamiliar with so I was a little disappointed at first. BUT I decided instead of complaining about what we missed, I could enjoy what we’ve yet to explore, the unknown! We kept walking the streets of Lisbon and lo and behold, we were in the Alfama district which is basically the center of Fado restaurants, and I LOVE Fado. It was EVERYWHERE & I felt like I was going back in time. There was good food everywhere, fados playing throughout each hole-in-the-wall restaurant, and we met new people, locals and foreigners. We stopped at three different locations to eat: A Portuguese place for soup, a pizzeria for (you guessed it) PIZZA!, and finished at a Port Tavern for olives, Portuguese sausage, and port wine for the hubs. It ended up being an unexpected spectacular night!
Had I moped around about missing the market and focused on that, I wouldn’t have had a great time and I would’ve ruined the night for my husband. Negativity doesn’t only affect the person who’s being negative. It affects those around you. That’s why it’s good to surround yourself with positive people, because energy spreads and you should only want good energy around you. Namaste.