Part Two to “I Realised I Didn’t Have A Passion Project” is now here. So if you didn’t read that post, I talked about how I had hobbies but I didn’t feel like I had a true passion for something, nothing that I could put my energy into, like a passion project for example. This post today is following on from that where I’ll be talking about some of the self-development or personal development techniques I use to try and figure out who I really am. (In that post, I also talked about trying to work on myself first and how this might help me along in finding a larger interest in something or an ultimate passion).
First and foremost, the majority of these techniques I don’t put into practice every day. It depends how my day pans out, but when I do incorporate them daily, I do notice a difference. Life happens however, so I’m working on not getting myself worked up if I don’t get around to putting them into place because I can’t control everything, right?
Reading “The Daily Stoic”
If you’ve never heard of this book (like I hadn’t until about two months ago) it’s a book based on stoic exercises and insights using meditations and wisdom for every single day of the year. You are given a new quote each day along with a commentary or anecdotes about what the particular quotation means. I have found a number of the quotes very profound to where I am in my life right now which doesn’t surprise me because you could say that’s what the aim is.
Focusing on Daily Affirmations
This coincides with the quotations from The Daily Stoic. Now, while I don’t use these specific quotes, they are sometimes used as inspiration for shorter quotes and phrases that I can repeat throughout the day. Over the last six months, I have become very stressed in various parts of my life so I try and use affirmations to help decrease that stress in some form. Below I have given a few examples of the affirmations I would use to help.
An explanation on Daily Affirmations
An important part of affirmations for me is that they mean something. It’s all well and good saying a positive phrase to yourself but why are you saying it? What do you want to achieve? Are you focusing this quote or phrase in the correct way? That’s why I give a short explanation of why I choose a particular phrase, because it keeps me on the same wave length and it gives me a concrete reason on why I should focus on this on a certain day.
My Daily Personal Growth Actions
This sounds very fancy but it’s not as fancy as you would think. This is my three point list that I work on almost every day to work alongside my daily affirmation. It’s very similar to gratitude in the way of writing down one good thing that happened in the morning, the afternoon and the evening. Working on personal development can coincide with self-care because some of my points have been “painted my nails”, “went to bed early” and “made myself a cup of tea before bed” which are all self-care based but you have to understand that in order to work on yourself when it comes to personal development, you need to also work on your self care. (In the first post linked above, I talked about why personal development and self-care aren’t the same thing but they can overlap sometimes). You can sit yourself down and tell yourself that you have all these plans in place, <insert passion project> is something that you are dedicated to and you know how to work on it. Realistically though, if you don’t make time for yourself for that self-care and are burned out because you haven’t made the time to take care of yourself, I have two questions; 1) Where will you find the energy to make the necessary steps for this project? And 2) If you can’t put a small plan in place to give yourself a break once in a while, how are you going to find the time to work on something new when you can’t even work on something that has been around longer? This list, while it is very simple, is more effective than you may think.
Many of you have heard of meditations before and I know that there are still some people who have this misconception about it. You have to sit still, have zero thoughts and be free, right? Well yes, sitting still does help but I also meditate lying down too. No person on this planet can free their mind and have zero thoughts; we are human beings and we are conditioned to have thoughts and feelings that spiral around in our mind, it’s human nature. Meditations are important to me in the morning and the evenings and the routine is fairly similar. I use an app called Insight, it’s free and it has so many meditations that you won’t know what to choose. In the morning, I choose a meditation focusing on waking up, starting the day and being present. I normally like to go for something in the middle of five to fifteen minutes, nice and simple to begin the day. I have found that while I love lying down to meditate, I often fall asleep so sitting up is the best option for me. This routine is very much the same for the evening but the theme of the meditation changes; I try and choose one that helps me settle down for a sleep, relaxation or a reflection of the day. The timing depends on how tired I am but I aim for ten to twenty minutes. Meditation isn’t a walk in the park from the get-go, you do get distracted and you will think about all the tasks you have to do in that day or the tasks you didn’t get done that night. Practice makes perfect they say, as long as when you get distracted, you recognize that and you bring yourself back to the breath, then each time you meditate does get gradually easier.
I have a thirty-minute walk to work every morning so I like to fill this part of my morning with a podcast. I found that I was getting angry or frustrated in the mornings thinking of particular situations that could happen at work and I found that this all happened when I listened to music. One of my favourite bands that I would listen to on a very regular basis, doesn’t seem like the type of music I would listen to at all. They sing very heavily about the subjects of sex, drugs and death, and while I love listening to that type of music (It’s very catchy) it’s not me. So, because the music was angry and heavy, that’s how my head started to feel. I have listened to podcasts for a few years now but incorporating them in with my walk to work has helped me focus on not only the interviewer and the interviewee, but because they are talking, my head isn’t being creative and creating scenarios that haven’t even happened yet. (*whispers* I’ll be writing some posts on my absolute favourite podcasts soon)
As you can see, the majority of these techniques I practice in the morning because I find it better to focus on my intention for the day when I first wake up. I do get up earlier than most people in order to complete these techniques but it’s something I am very used to now, but they don’t take very long to do either. I understand that meditations, affirmations and writing how you feel down, might not be for everyone and that’s completely fine. Different strokes for different folks, I wanted to share how I am working on myself and how each practice helps me balance out so then somewhere down the line, this may help me find that ultimate passion project.