If you were making a recipe for a great life, what key ingredients would you include?
For me, it’s working with FranklinCovey, my clients and as a leadership consultant. Another key ingredient is being an author with my two colleagues. I’m also working with my sister to build a global community of women leaders.
It’s really important that you challenge yourself to put time into the things that you really do love. Think about the projects that you do that are borderline work and free time (for me, it’s yoga), could that add to your work life? Every Sunday, look at your big priorities for the coming week. If you look at what you actually do, often you’ll find you spend a lot of time on things you don’t think should be key ingredients in your life. Maybe you need to remove those things. Don’t let it be a coincidence what ends up in your recipe. Here are a few more of my intentional ingredients for my recipe. Hopefully you find some inspiration in them.
Let Your Brain Rest
Everyone knows what this means, but we don’t really do it. The key is that we need to stop once in a while to make sure we aren’t constantly absorbed with those things. We need to take breaks, mental breaks, from everything we’re involved with, in order to excel in them. A true, meaningful mental break. The critical point is to make sure this mental break is not looking at your phone.
Plan an “Ego Day”
Be proactive about scheduling a mental break. I plan an ego day, which means I go to a completely different setting and take some time away to think and reflect. Ask myself, “how am I doing?” Am I on track with the goals and targets that I’ve set for myself? It’s a check-in with yourself. I plan those after an extremely hectic period. I’ll take a day to be very introverted and have the day for myself. If you don’t plan them, they won’t happen.
I do morning yoga, only 10 or 15 minutes. Quite often my youngest daughter joins me. It’s a cozy way of starting the day together. Research shows that moving actually creates endorphins that improve how you feel and is great for your mental health. The challenge is when we get out of that flow. I train a lot, but I had knee surgery and haven’t been able to run or bike. So when I got back on my bike, it was awful. It’s a good reminder of how it feels to motivate yourself to get started.
Exercise as me time
When we go into exercise, it’s so easy to do this because you must. And you do have to, your life depends on how much you move. But instead of thinking of it as a chore, I tell myself, I get to do this luxurious, one-hour yoga session, or whatever it is. This is Victoria time!
On the weekend, my family loves to sleep late. So, I have the morning for myself, apart from our dog. I use this time to sit in my big chair with my journal. I always make note of the things that make me happy right now. This time to write and reflect helps clarify and guide how I spend my time. It’s just me, my big chair and my thoughts as my family sleeps all around me. It’s lovely time.
I was struck by an insight from one of my yoga books: everything that makes up your body—your skin, blood, everything—consists of all the things that you eat. That’s fairly obvious, but I’d never thought of it that way. Everything I eat eventually becomes…me. That made me think about all the things that I eat, do I want to be made up of that? Consider how your diet effects your attitudes, your energy and your happiness. Adjust accordingly.
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