You know the old saying: those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Personal freedom is too important to leave to chance, so why not start planning today to be more free in the next 30 days? Here are 5 tips to jump-start your own personal freedom plan and make big short-term gains:
- Set aside the first 10 minutes of every day for quiet reflection. This means no cell phones, no facebook, no interruptions, just you sitting quietly, without an agenda, reflecting on the day to come. You can make this meditative (focus quietly on breathing in and out, and let thoughts go when they intrude), thankful (review 5 things for which you’re grateful today), or proactive (review the 3 things you’re going to accomplish today). However you spend this time, it is your time to start the day off on the right foot with calmness, focus, and a positive attitude.
- Identify the negative influences in your social circles. We all have people in our social circles who drain our energy, pull us in directions we don’t want to go, constantly complain, or otherwise make us feel worse rather than better each time we interact with them. The first step to freeing yourself from these negative influences is to identify them – then you can begin limiting your interactions with them and reducing their negative influences on you.
- Stop eating junk. We all have favorite junk foods we can’t seem to live without: potato chips, pretzels, crackers, crunchy french bread, pastries – the list is endless. Ultimately personal freedom is grounded in physical freedom and a healthy lifestyle, which begins with proper nutrition. You can make progress by identifying 3 junk foods in your repertoire and resolving to remove them from your diet over the next 30 days. This simple step can give you more energy, reduce the afternoon doldrums, help you lose weight, and help you regain control over your health.
- Learn something new. Mental freedom is all about constantly expanding your horizons, challenging yourself, and learning and growing throughout your lifetime. Practice this over the next 30 days by learning something new, no matter how small: 3 new chords on the guitar, or 5 new words in French, or the history of your favorite city. Doing so will help you begin the habit of continuous learning – and once you start, you won’t be able to stop.
- Monitor your negative self-talk. Psychologists tell us that we have hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of different thoughts each day – and that, unfortunately, most of them are negative self-talk. We constantly berate ourselves for not being smarter, or taller, or fitter, or richer – and these negative thoughts impede our forward progress and stand in the way of our personal freedom. Over the next 30 days, write down your negative thoughts each day. By the end of one week, you’ll notice a pattern of the same recurring negative thoughts. Once you have a list, question each one: does it meet the “reality test?” Are they really true, or are you just berating yourself? Identifying and questioning your negative self-talk will help you to curate your thoughts, remove or ignore the negative ones, and replace them with more positive thoughts that will set you on the path to ever-greater personal freedom.
Practice these 5 tips over the next 30 days, and you’ll see marked improvements in your attitude, energy, and outlook, and more space for you to create a life of freedom from self-imposed worry, stress, and doubt.