Do You Play the Glad Game?

When putting together the Dear Diary, one of the things we wanted achieve was to inspire others (and ourselves) to be more aware, mindful, to invite happy thoughts, positive attitude and kindness into their lives. This is why we included “pick-me-up's” - little challenges and positive reminders throughout the diary. One of the “challenges” is to note down the book that has made a difference in your life in some way and write the names of three people you would like to gift it to,

I was recently flipping through the Dear Diary and stopped at this challenge myself and it made me think which book has had the most impact on me. I've read a lot and liked a lot, but it made me think - out of all of them, which one has really made a difference or it's idea has stuck to me even after years of reading it. And funny enough, a book that I read when I was 10 years old, came into my mind. It was Pollyanna. I didn't remember the full story in details, just the main idea, so it made me think - why this children’s book?

POLYANNA'S GLAD GAME

I went on Amazon and ordered it straight away. I had to re-read it with my twenty something eyes. I then remembered that to me even as a kid the story seemed refreshing. If you haven't read the book, I'll give you a very brief summary:

Pollyanna is an orphan who is sent to live with her strict aunt after her parents have passed away.  Pollyanna's approach to life centers on The Glad Game - a positive attitude finding something to be glad about in any life situation, no matter how unpleasant or disappointing the situation might be. Her optimism surprises, brings much happiness and eventually encourages the ones around her to play the game too.

Pollyanna's simple idea of looking for things you can be glad about in any situation is a technique for finding happiness. Now there are hundreds of bestsellers on this topic and it's pretty cool that I unknowingly learnt about this when I was 10 years old.
 

AM I POLLYANNA-ISH?

Pollyanna's character is often referred to someone whose optimism is excessive to the point of being naive or refusing to accept an unpleasant or unfortunate experience/situation.

I'm not getting into whether it's naive, wrong or right. I simply like the basic idea of this book - to avoid complaining and focus on the positive. As cliché as it might sound, it works wonders. It always has, and it always will. And it's not as hard to do as we think. It takes a little willpower mixed with some action.

Now, I don't think of myself as a super optimistic person. I have my days of doubts and worries and simply feeling down. I am lucky to have the people around me and the willpower within myself that doesn't allow me to stay in a negative state for a long time.

I've understood that in general, when feeling down, the best thing to do is to change your perspective. For me, that's pretty much the most effective way to snap out of a bad mood or stop feeling worried or anxious about something. The thing is - you either can or can't do something about a bad day, unsuccessful experience or an unpleasant conversation etc. If you can do something about it - do it. If you can't - change the way you look at the situation and try to see the good in it.

You don't have to be the world's biggest optimist naturally. It's a skill that takes practice. Use it as a technique for finding happiness within or simply to improve a situation.

I have never believed that we ought to deny discomfort and pain and evil; I have merely thought that it is far better to greet the unknown with a cheer
— Eleanor Porter, the author of “Pollyanna”

SO HOW DO I PLAY IT?

Situation

When you might find yourself in an unpleasant situation. Perhaps you've had a bad day at work, had a fight with someone, a project you were working on didn't work out the way you expected, and so on. Any situation that's unpleasant/unsuccessful/disappointing etc.

Action

Don't ignore this negative feeling/thoughts. I believe that writing is healing and putting things on paper makes everything better and is much more effective than just thinking it.  Grab a notebook and write down what you're feeling/experiencing. Then, ask yourself: “Can I do something about it?” This is where you either find a solution or just move on. If you understand that there is nothing you can do about it, write down the things you can be glad about even in this difficult situation. Switch your focus from the negative to the positive. Shift the unpleasant feeling into gratitude and positive attitude. 

The idea

The purpose of this practice is to help you change your perspective and clarify your thoughts. Most of the time, things might not even be as bad as they seemed.
 

THE LITTLE THINGS IN EVERY DAY

Start practising by noticing the good around you, even the smallest things - rays of sun peeking into your room, a happy dog walking down the street, a great conversation with your family. Don't take the small things for granted. And when you feel happy, share that with the rest of the world. If you see something beautiful, speak it. If you are grateful for your loved one, say it out loud.

And if you are struggling to find something to be glad about... Well, we can all be glad to wake up every morning to experience all the ups and downs, wins and challenges. We can feel. We can dream. We can express. We can learn. That's a huge thing to be glad about and I don't know about you, but this always makes me think and helps to look at the bigger picture.

Today is a very busy day, the to-do list is getting longer and I am feeling a lot of pressure and not everything is going smoothly. Still, I am not complaining about it, I am playing the glad game. I am glad that I can be busy, I am glad that I am learning, I am glad that I have an opportunity to do what I love and I am glad I can do it with people that are near and dear to me. :)

Thank you so much for reading!

Let us know in the comments below how you play the “glad game” :)

With Much Love,

Zane & the Dear Diary team 

 

The Dear Diary is Here

I’ve always been a stationery lover. The most exciting thing about starting a new school year was stationery shopping. It was important to have the cutest notebooks, diaries, pencil cases and pens. It just felt that it would help me do better. Years later, not much has changed. I still buy pretty stationery, as it makes me feel more organised, inspires me, allows me to stay on top of things and helps to get in the work mode. A brand new diary at the beginning of the year always feels like a fresh start, like you have the control to create the year ahead on your own terms, hehe - can you relate? :) 

diary2017

It feels unreal to say that we (the Dear Diary team) have finally created something of our own. We’re lucky to share the passion for hard work, providing value and finding ways to better ourselves. 

At the beginning of the year, we were all pretty much at the same stage in our lives - stuck in the daily agenda, repetition, feeling overwhelmed and not sure of the things we wanted to achieve. But we couldn’t really define what the problem was. 

We took time to explore well-being and the science behind self-development and happiness. After months of research, making notes and testing what works, we learnt the importance of having a structure, setting goals for yourself, tracking habits and reflecting on the process and the outcomes.

We combined all of these things in the diary in a way that feels structured rather than overwhelming. You can create a system of tracking and focusing on the things that matter to you. 

diary2017

With the help of Dear Diary we want to encourage you to have balance between your professional and personal life and make time for self-care and reflection, so that you can lead the life you imagine for yourself. We've also included quotes and visuals that we love, and hope that these will keep you feeling inspired throughout the year.

diary2017

The entire journey to get to this day has been like a roller coster. It’s been months of planning, discussing, making changes, adjusting, making important decisions, dealing with uncertainties and worries. A strong belief we all had in the final product kept us going. Very often we repeated to ourselves “feel the fear and do it anyways”.

We have already learnt so much and we’re so grateful for the journey so far. It has taught us about team work, commitment, dedication and the power of passion & belief. We also learnt that if you want to get something just right, you can't take the easiest way. One of our main goals was to be completely involved in the production process and meet the people who turned our idea into a beautiful, tangible product. This is the reason we chose to be different and print our diaries in Europe.  

Dear Diary was created with all our love, attention, and nothing but happy thoughts. We hope that in 2017 it will become your friend and inspire you to chase your dreams. 

Thank you so much for reading and being here! 

With much love, 

xx

The Dear Diary team 

5 Step Process of Goal Setting

#goals. This powerful word seems to be everywhere today. #couplegoals #squadgoals #lifegoals #bodygoals and the list goes on. It's easy to get lost in the definition of the perfect life, mindset and body that we see on different platforms every day.

Don't get me wrong, I love social media. I think we are very lucky to live in a time where we are surrounded by so much inspiration, information, opportunities and that we're able to express ourselves creatively. That's if you look at it that way. Just try not to get too attached to the “perfect” image that the society tends to dictate and don't lose track of your own reality, your own true desires and life goals.

A few months ago I did find myself lost. Not necessarily talking about the pressure of the “perfect life” that we tend to see on the social media. I was doubting if the things I said I wanted to have, experience or be - were they my own dreams? Or perhaps I was trying to create an image of myself that would appeal to others?

I'm grateful that this realisation came soon. It meant snapping out of it sooner and getting back on track of the things that I really, truly, from the bottom of my heart want to achieve and the person I want to be.

In this blog post I will share my thoughts on why I think everyone (who wants to be happy and fulfilled) should set goals, as well as my take on how to manage the process of goal-setting. I hope this short blog post inspires you to check in with yourself, clarify your true #lifegoals and take action on achieving them. :)
 

WHY SET GOALS?

I mention this book quite a lot, however, I will have to talk about Robin Sharma's “Monk Who Sold His Ferrari” again. There is a great chapter on the importance of goal-setting that truly makes you want to write down your goals right away. I love this thought:

People spend their whole lives dreaming of becoming happier; living with more vitality and having an abundance of passion. Yet they do not see the importance of taking even ten minutes a month to write out their goals and to think deeply about the meaning of their lives. Goal setting will make your life magnificent. Your world will become richer, more delightful and more magical

If I asked you right now “what are some of your main goals?”, would you know what to say right away? If you do, then that's great! I'm really happy for you! :) I do, however, have a feeling that most of us haven't (perhaps at all or recently) sat down, listened to what their hearts truly desire and set goals for the next, five or more years.

The great thing about clarifying your mind and writing down your goals is that they motivate you to be and do better. Because you don't want to let yourself down. Setting your goals is a powerful exercise as it will give you a clear direction and focus that's needed to take consistent action. It helps you organise your time and possibilities, so that you can make the most of it and accomplish the things you've set for yourself sooner.

HONEST BRAINSTORMING

Before you start setting your goals, allow yourself to dream. Think of the things that excite you. If there were no obstacles, what would you want to accomplish? This is where you create the “big picture” & visualise the person you will become. Read more about visualisation and creating a vision board in one of our previous blog posts

Answer the following questions to get to know yourself better. This will help you set goals that have value and meaning: 

  • What excites me and fills me with joy?
  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • What do I want to experience?
  • What abilities and skills I want to develop?
  • What people do I want to have around me?
  • Where do I see myself living?
  • What characteristics do I want to have?
  • What does my perfect day look like?
  • What value do I want to provide?
  • What is one achievement that would make the biggest difference in my life?

Now you're ready for the important part - the process of goal setting. Choose or re-write these big dreams into realistic and achievable goals that can bring you closer to this “big picture”.
 

GOAL-SETTING

Writing down the goals you've set for yourself and planning the action steps to achieve these goals will create a positive pressure. Look at this as a way of challenging yourself. See how far you can get. Feel proud of the work, discipline and commitment. Here is a step-by-step plan on how to set meaningful goals:

1. Create different sections for goals relating to the different areas of your life (for example, self-development, fitness, health, spirituality, career, finances, relationships, etc.)

2. Write down max 3 goals for each section. Most importantly, set goals that have value and that matter to you. In order to do so, I suggest answering this question once you've written down your goal: “Why do I want this?” Anthony Robbins has a chapter in his book Awaken the Giant Within that encourages you to be honest with yourself and understand why you want these particular things. It all comes down to the fact that you want to achieve/be/do these things because it will help achieve certain emotions and feelings.

3. Plan & write down action steps that will help you achieve these things. You've probably heard the quote “a goal without a plan is just a wish”. This is exactly why I'm encouraging you to create logical order of the action steps you need to take in order to make your desires into achievable goals. Breaking down your big goals into smaller, measurable steps will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed. This is a great system of making sure that you know where to start and to keep yourself accountable. Ticking off the things you've accomplished are sure to create a sense of achievement and motivation.

4. Attach a timeline to your goal. This will help direct your attention towards the most important goals. It's also important to stop, tap yourself on the shoulder and celebrate all the big and small wins.

5. Track the progress. Keep this piece of paper where you can see it every day and make sure to schedule the action steps in your agenda in order to meet the deadlines. It's time to review the action steps and ask yourself “What are the next steps I need to complete in order to achieve my goal?”. Review them weekly - feel the motivation and inspiration.

I have created a little worksheet, so that you can start the process of goal setting right away.  Fill in the form to download your printable: 

goal-setting-worksheet
Anyone can revolutionize their lives once they revolutionize the direction in which they are moving. But, if you don’t even know where you are going, how will you ever know when you get there?
— Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

I really hope this has inspired you to answer the magical question “what is it that I really want?”, or perhaps even create an actionable plan to achieve your goals.

On a side note, we are working on creating something super exciting! HINT: it's something to help you with achieving your goals and living a positive and inspired life. We're extremely excited to show this to you very, very soon! :) Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to know!

Thank you so much for reading! I would love to hear your thoughts and take on goal-setting :) 

With Love, 

xx

Zane 

10 Ways to Improve Your Mood

Do you ever wake up grumpy, low on energy with no apparent reason? If so, how do you usually handle days like these? In order to avoid wasting my day feeling grumpy and unproductive, I acknowledge this feeling and have found things/activities that help me snap out of it and meet day's challenges on a lighter note, with more energy. Don't let bad mood ruin your day. After all, you'll never get to live this day over again :)

I thought I would share these 10 feel-good moves and simple tricks that help me invite more positive feelings and increase happiness level. Perhaps they come in handy on a day when you're not feeling your best. All you will need is a desire to feel happier and willingness to take a few mindful, feel-good activities towards it.

GO FOR A WALK

If there is only one thing you would do from this list, let it be this one. Going for a nice and relaxing walk is a proven way to get those much needed endorphins flowing and it's one of the best mindfulness activities. All you have to do is go for a steady pace walk and observe your surroundings and yourself. Notice people around you, animals, houses, flowers - something that you usually wouldn't pay attention to. Before you know it, you might already be out of your bad mood thanks to being present in the moment. Walking can help you find answers to your concerns as you have that monologue in your head.

If you are in a bad mood go for a walk.If you are still in a bad mood go for another walk
— Hippocrates

JOURNAL YOUR FEELINGS

Journaling works like a therapy for me. It's not easy to start when you're feeling low, however, once you take that notebook and put the first sentence on the paper, the words start to unravel your feelings. Most of the time, this also works as a way to find out what you're truly upset about or what's bothering you. It's like talking to a good friend - it takes a huge weight of your shoulders and you instantly feel much better. Or, you may realise that things are not so bad after all.

My suggestion is to get a cup of tea, get cozy on your sofa, grab your journal and write down exactly how you are feeling. Make sure to be honest when you describe your feelings, emotions, anything that is bringing you down - get to the root of the problem.

If the bad mood feeling is repetitive, I recommend focusing on analyzing your mood in your journal (or to keep a separate notebook for this). This can be a great way for you to notice patterns/triggers that cause the low emotions, what gets in the way of those positive feelings and then find the best solution for improvement.

DO SOMETHING FOR SOMEONE ELSE

Have you ever noticed that lovely and warm feeling after doing a good deed? Whether it's giving someone a gift, helping a tourist, solving friend's problem - doing something completely selfless for someone else? Feels priceless, doesn't it?

Instead of being overly focused on yourself, shift your attention to someone who could really benefit from it. Such activity can trick your mind to forgetting about your own troubles. These don't have to be huge gestures. Something as simple as sending a friend a small and uplifting gift or a nice note, listening to your friend's problems and helping come up with a solution, volunteer, or bring something to eat to a homeless person. It would be a wonderful surprise to a receiver and it would also boost your self-esteem and increase happiness levels.

MAKE SOMETHING DELICIOUS FOR YOURSELF

I have to admit I'm not great in the kitchen. Like, at all. :) However, I've found that cooking or baking something when I'm feeling down definitely makes it to my top 10 mood-booster list. I open PInterest and look for the most delicious looking recipe or open one of the (few) cookbooks I have at home. I write down the necessary ingredients (after I've decided whether the recipe is something I can manage, haha) and make the trip to the nearest grocery shop.

First, it would take the mind off disturbing and negative thoughts, as you're busy focusing on following the recipe. It's a great distraction! Second, managing to make something from scratch, a new recipe that you can now add to your list and also treat your loved ones can definitely help feeling good about yourself. Small, but it's still an accomplishment. Third, you now have a treat to enjoy. That itself is a winner! :)

GO TO A COFFEE SHOP

It can be anything - a coffee shop, a library, nearest park or a co-working space. Anywhere you feel comfortable and inspired. For me, cozy coffee shop that serves almond milk cappuccino is the place to go to. A lot of times the reason for a bad mood can be the feeling of being overwhelmed or disorganised. I usually take my laptop, diary, notebook, earphones and I'm off to do some work on a project or simply researching and writing down ideas and inspiration.

Even the process of getting ready is the beginning of inviting positive feelings into my day and making yourself busy. I believe everyone is different, but what works for me is being in a lively space, surrounded by other people that are out and about, enjoying themselves (even though earphones and good music helps to feel a bit more isolated, so that you can actually get some work done) - that's when I'm feeling most productive and motivated.

EXERCISE

Similar to going for a walk, any other kind of exercise helps release endorphins - trigger for a positive feeling in your body. I believe that exercise in general in a great way to start your day on a positive and energetic note (I talk about this in our first blog post. The exercise doesn't have to be high intensity or hard in any way. Choose something that you enjoy. I like to either do a yoga session, follow a fitness video on YouTube or simply do a 7 Minute Workout - just go get that blood flowing.

TIDY UP

Even a short tidy-up and decluttering can instantly make me feel much more organised, motivated to get stuff done and improve my mood. I truly believe that our outer environment mirrors the way we feel inside. The act of tidying up and putting everything back to where it belongs can be so liberating and make you feel as if you declutter your inner world and everything is now nice and organised. Get rid of that physical and emotional mess. The sense of accomplishment and also the moving around part is sure to help you feel better about yourself.

If you have more time on your hands, I definitely recommend doing a proper spring-clean. Reorganize and redecorate your space, donate the clothes you no longer wear and keep only the things that are important and bring you joy. That itself can make you feel like a completely new human being. A fresh start! :)

SELF-LOVE PRACTICE

I believe that before you can make someone else happy or bring any kind of value to others, you need to be happy with yourself and have a positive attitude. When feeling low, don't rely on others to increase your happiness levels and boost your confidence. It's all on you. It's important not to ignore the bad mood and make sure to take a good care of yourself. A little TLC.

Self-love practices are endless, so you have to find something that truly does the work for you. Such activities are about building new thought patterns and actions that reflect self-worth, therefore improve your mood. Here are are few ideas on self-love practices that you can incorporate in the day when you're not feeling your best:

15 minute meditation
Dress up
Doodle/draw                                                                                                                                     
Read a book from your “must-read” list                                                                                          
Treat yourself to a massage                                                                                                             
Have an early night                                                                                                                          
Take a long and relaxing bath                                                                                                            
Do positive self talk                                                                                                                            
Try a new fitness class                                                                                                                         
Go on a short shopping trip
Create a vision board (read a how-to blogpost here
 

Reading self love, light and positive affirmations out-loud can also help you put your mind at ease, feel better about yourself and simply cheer you up. I suggest finding some of your favorite affirmations that speak to you the most and write them down in your diary or phone - somewhere where they are easy to find/reach when needed.

TALK IT OUT

Bad days happen to the best of us. I know it can be hard to call your friend or a family member to talk about your struggles, let your walls down and let yourself be vulnerable. However, this act itself is already liberating. Talking to a good friend or a family member can instantly make you feel better, clarify your thoughts, especially if you're feeling worried about something. It's not always about hearing the “right thing” or getting a great advice. Sometimes, all you need is a good and understanding listener, because while talking it out, you might find and understand the answers yourself. Or, sometimes you just have to vent about a problem to release negative emotions instead of keeping them bottled up inside.

WATCH AN INSPIRING VIDEO

From funny cat videos to inspiring documentaries - any are sure to improve my mood and boost my energy levels. Find what does wonders for you. When I need to increase happiness level, motivation and a different perspective into my life, I hit up TED talks. They always seem to do the work :) Here is a great one by Elizabeth Gilbert:

Do you do any of these and what are your tips and tricks to beat the blues? Would absolutely love to hear you share your advice :) 

Thank you so much for reading! 

With Love, 

xx

Zané

 

Creating a Vision Board With a Purpose

Have you ever experienced the realisation that you've got to a place in your life you'd envisioned being? Perhaps you're working for the company/people that you wished you could be working for a while ago, but at that point it seemed unrealistic? Or you've travelled to the place that has been on your bucket list since you pinned it on Pinterest or you just moved into a house of your dreams?

I've experienced a very strong realisation like this a couple of times in my life. The feeling is surreal. You live your life day by day moving in the direction of your dreams/goals and then finally one day you realise that you're there and it's exactly how you wanted it to be. It's such a wonderful feeling and it makes you believe in the Law of Attraction, doesn't it? It definitely did with me, which is one of the reasons I'm a true believer in setting your goals and having a clear vision of where you want to be heading in your life.

This is the reason I love the idea of a vision board. It's a powerful tool to help you clarify and maintain focus on specific life goals. Not only is creating a vision board a fun activity to do, but it also serves as an opportunity to have a quality “you” time - be present and check-in with yourself. Most of us tend to be super busy in our everyday lives and we're dealing with lots of distractions daily. No matter how your day goes, your vision board is a constant reminder of whatever you want to do and have in your life.

1. PREPARATION

If created with intention and purpose, your vision board can work wonders towards making your desires a reality. It will make you focus on your goals, therefore you'll take control of your life heading in the right direction.  

I personally like to prepare before I start doing the actual creative work of putting the board together. This helps crafting a vision board that's created with purpose and intention, so that you can move towards your goals with a sense of clarity and motivation. There are a few things I keep in mind when planning the final look:

  1. Determine if it will be a vision board for the next six months, a year or perhaps 5 years or more. Attach a timeline to it and align your long or short term goals accordingly. I personally suggest creating it for the year ahead. I believe that this will help you narrow down your goals more specifically and have a clear focus of the action steps you need to take in order to make your desires a reality.
  2. Next, decide whether your vision board will represent your future life in general or it will focus on one area only (for example, self-growth, career, relationships, etc.). I created mine around a few areas in life - self-growth, career, well-being and relationships. Since I believe that in order to live a balanced life, all of these areas have to be taken care of, that's what I want to be focusing on over the next 12 months.
  3. Before you start searching, cutting out or printing photos and quotes, get a clear vision of things you want to accomplish and how you want to feel. Be specific with your goals and desires, as it will help you find the perfect images that truly represent your dream life.
  4. You should select images thoughtfully, after all this activity will activate the Law of Attraction - pretty important stuff! :) I wrote down how I want to feel, what values I will live by, my aspirations and big life goals. Then, when I had set myself in the right mood, I wrote down 3 top goals for each of the aspects of life I want to be focusing on: self-growth, career, well-being and relationships.

In order to make your planning and preparation process a bit easier and quicker, I've created a vision board prep printable that you can use to write down your dreams and desires and clarify your vision. Subscribe to our newsletter to get this freebie to your inbox. 

2. WHAT TO PUT ON YOUR VISION BOARD

Look at creating a vision board as your little creative project. You are the creative director and you have all the power to build it on your own terms. The purpose of your vision board is to bring your goals, desires and dreams into life.

As mentioned above, self-growth, career, well-being and relationships over the next 12 months is the focus of my vision board. However, to give even more “character” to my vision board, I also add a few more aspects:

  • How do I see myself. Find pictures that represent how you want to look & feel, what qualities you want to have. It could be a photo of someone you admire and for you it can symbolise the characteristics/style/personality you want to have.
  • Great things you already have in your life. To me, gratitude goes hand in hand with planning your future. Before you set your new goals and wonderful life plans for the future, let the universe know you're grateful for all the beautiful experiences so far :) Find photos on your phone/laptop that represent things you're proud of or thankful for. Things like your family, friends, your travel experiences, work or any successful projects so far. This will serve as a reminder that life is already great and there is so much to look forward to on this wonderful journey we call life. This can also be a note or letter that someone has written to you. Most importantly, choose photos/things that evoke emotions, represent the feeling of happiness, gratitude, accomplishment, etc.
  • Words to inspire. I mean, who doesn't love a beautiful & inspiring quote? :) I believe that a vision board should mainly focus on how you want to feel, in order to invite those feelings/emotions into your life. Be selective when finding quotes and make sure to add those that sum up your vision in a sentence or two. Quotes can represent your purpose, how you want to feel, what mindset you want to have or things that you believe in.
  • Big dreams & big ideas. Even though I created my vision board for the next 12 months, I also added images that represent “the big picture” - things I want to accomplish in my lifetime. Add a few photos of big dreams that don't require a timeline. These are things you want to experience at some point in your life and they don't have a deadline. This is where you can get really creative and extravagant with your thoughts. Don't put yourself “in a box” in this step.

3. THE PROCESS

Now it's time to make the magic happen and have fun during the process.

Look at your dreams, goals and vision and find photos that visually represent this. It doesn't have to be an exact image of a goal/experience/place. You can choose images that simply symbolise these feelings or experiences for you. Remember that a vision board is there to serve you, so it's all about how you see things. It doesn't have to make sense for others. Use your own photos, cutouts from older magazines or print out photos that you have found online - whatever aligns with your vision and speaks to you. Get creative, even abstract - you're the designer.

My suggestion is to keep your vision board neat, stylish and organised (I'm pretty sure these are also some of the things you would welcome in your life :) ).

Give yourself an hour or two with no distractions. Set the mood - organise the space around you, make a cup of tea and turn on nice background music. First, lay out all the photos on the floor/table before you place them on your vision board. This will help you get the idea of the placement and style of your board. After all, this is a visual representation of your future image, as well as a unique piece of a decor in your house or office.

 

4. HOW TO MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU

Huh! The clarification of your goals and purpose? Check! The preparation? Check! Materials? Check! Created a vision board? Check! :)

Now it's time to make the vision board work for you and start attracting all the awesome things and experiences in your life. I suggest you place the vision board where you can see it every day. I personally keep it on the chest of drawers in my bedroom and it's the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I see when I go to bed. I talk about the importance of visualising and affirmations on our previous blog post on Morning Rituals. Make it work on your subconscious mind. 

You have to be intentional about the work and effort that needs to be put in for your dreams to come true. It's important that when you look at your vision board, you truly believe that the goals you've set for yourself will truly come to life. Feel the motivation and inspiration.

My main advice is to keep in mind that adding random pretty images and quotes won't do the job, which is the reason I suggest taking time and planning while preparing to craft your vision board. Remember, YOU are the one that can make the biggest difference in your life. I believe a vision board is a great tool to keep you focused, so that you can work your magic and make great things happen.

I had so much fun creating my vision board and I hope I've inspired you to make one for yourself. In case you have already crafted one, please share your tips and tricks on how you created yours. If, however, you didn't have one before, but you've decided to create one now, please share a photo of it on Instagram with #inspiredlifediaryvision I would be over the moon to see your boards :)

I BELIEVE IN YOU! :)

Thank you so much for reading!

With Love, 

Zané

10 Morning Rituals To Set Yourself For A Great Day

Every morning is a fresh start. It's a precious time that should be spent wisely. The foundation of your day. I know that now. For a very long time my morning routine consisted of hitting “snooze” until I was left with 15 minutes before I had to leave the house. This meant rushing to the bathroom to splash some water on my face and brush my teeth, then put on the first thing that I saw in my wardrobe, brush my hair and make sure that I take my makeup bag before leaving the house, so that I can then do my makeup on the train while commuting to work. This left a negative impact on how I felt later on that day - beating myself up for not waking up when my first alarm went off (again!), not being comfortable or happy with the way I look and just mentally not ready for the day. This was far from being mindful and calm during the day.

I read The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and it was a game-changer. He talks about how establishing a consistent morning routine helps you to tap into your full potential which then leads to success. In this book he suggests to change the approach to waking up in the morning. If you begin your day with resistance, not wanting to wake up, you're surrounding yourself with negative energy first thing in the morning. 

When you choose to do the right thing and follow through with your commitments - especially when you don’t feel like it - you are developing the extraordinary discipline necessary for creating extraordinary results in your life.
— The Miracle Morning

Creating and sticking to your morning routine truly makes a huge difference in setting tone for the day. I cannot stress that enough. How wonderful it is that we have the power to design our morning the way we want it, fill it with things, thoughts and actions that inspire and motivate us? That's a gift that we sometimes take for granted (well, I know that I was guilty of that). Adopting positive morning rituals makes you feel accomplished and energised even before the day has started. Most importantly, it's a precious opportunity to check in with yourself, be mindful and present. An opportunity for rejuvenation, which also helps the rest of the day feel more manageable, so that you can get excited about it!

One of my suggestions before you develop your morning routine is to get into the “right” mindset and ask yourself “What are my intentions? How will this help me be better or do better?”. You have to believe in it and it has to be important to you. It will make it easier to adopt these habits and feel motivated to stick to them. Also, it's important to be honest with yourself when you decide on how much time you are willing to devote to your morning rituals. Can you wake up an hour earlier or is it a few minutes? Instead of setting expectations that are too high and not really accomplishable, start with baby steps, observe your progress and challenge yourself to do even more the following week.

The morning rituals I talk about below have made a big difference in how I feel in the morning and help me make my day. You know, the well-known saying “Win the morning. Win the day” :)

1. PREPARE THE NIGHT BEFORE

Even though this is not an activity that you do in the morning, it has a huge impact on how your morning will go and how many things you'll have time to accomplish. Firstly, do a quick 10-15 minute tidy-up. Put all the clothes and other things laying around your room back to where they belong. I suggest setting up a timer, as it will make you focus on this task better and it will be fun to see how much you can do in this short period of time. Just a few minutes in the evening used for a tidy-up will help you begin your day in a clean space, where everything is nicely organised and ready for you.

Secondly, take time to pick and prepare the outfit you'll wear the next day. I believe that the way you look affects how you feel and how confident you are.  This will help you get excited about the next day and wake up quicker, because that pretty outfit is waiting for you to rock it.

The same goes for breakfast. Plan what your healthy meal will be in the morning. If necessary, make sure to cut up the ingredients or place them where it's more convenient.

 

2. WAKE UP EARLY TO YOUR PERFECT MORNING ANTHEM

Most of the time it feels like the days just fly by, however, if you set that alarm 30 minutes earlier (or perhaps an hour earlier, you daredevil you!) it can make a huge difference in helping you achieve more or just simply having a more relaxed and calm start. Plan enough time for your body and mind to get physically and mentally ready for the day. After all, it's a fresh start and should be taken very seriously. Robin Sharma talks about the Ritual of Early Awakening as one of the rituals for Radiant Living in his book Monk Who Sold His Ferrari (a very inspiring read, by the way).

Once you wake up, there are many things you can do. The fundamental principle to keep in mind is the importance of starting your day off well. The thoughts you think and the actions you take in the first 10 minutes after you wake up have a very marked effect on the rest of your day.
— Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

For me personally one of the hardest things is the actual waking up process. Every morning I'm so tempted to press “snooze” and quietly say to myself “it's okay, it's just 10 more minutes”. And every single morning that's a big fat lie to myself. An hour or two later I would wake up and feel angry at myself for wasting the day and not getting up with the alarm. Fredrik Eklund made me change my thinking towards this. In his book “The Sell” he suggests to think of waking up early as the way to change your life, to be more successful and to “leave others in dust, including the old unsuccessful you”. Another tip that he gives is to set up a wake-up call that motivates you. He wakes up with Abba's “Money, Money, Money” and it's a great way to start the day in “rich man's world”. It's brilliant! :)

Whether it's a nice and soothing melody or energising music, experiment with it. Find what lifts your mood and gets you out of the bed quicker. Another tip is to move your phone across the room, further away from your bed, so that you have to get out of the bed to switch it off. Remember, pressing “snooze” is not an option!

 

3. NO TECHNOLOGY UNTIL YOU'VE COMPLETED YOUR MORNING RITUALS

I know how tempting it is to pick up your phone as soon as you open your eyes, glue your face to your iPhone screen and just get lost in the busy world of Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc. I was guilty of that. Committing to avoid looking at my phone first thing in the morning has made such a positive difference - I now start the day the way I want, consume selected and inspiring information that will for sure get me motivated, ready to conquer the day. Don't disrupt your mood in the morning and be in control of your emotions. Most importantly - be present and remember that all of that content will still be there after an hour.

 

4. A FEW MINUTES OF GRATITUDE

One of my favorite quotes says “Start each day with a grateful heart”. The first few minutes after you wake up is the perfect time to reflect on all the things and people you are grateful for. This will increase happiness levels and help you get out of bed more joyful, energised and simply start your day on a “bright note”. How you express gratitude is totally up to you. Again, this is one of the things I suggest to experiment with and see what suits your personality better. You can either simply devote a couple of minutes to say a little thank you out loud, write them down in a plain notebook, use a gratitude journal or make an entry in your personal journal if you're keeping one. I personally love to use my Five Minute Journal. It's a guided journal that focuses your attention on the good in your life. I also keep a personal journal to reflect on my thoughts and experiences. In the mornings when I can spare some extra time for writing, I love to devote a separate paragraph in my journal simply focusing on the things I'm thankful for.

Read this article to learn about some of the amazing benefits of inviting more gratitude in your life.

 

5. MEDITATE

Meditation in an experience of relaxing the body, training your mind and promoting deeper understanding of yourself and those around you. If you don't already practice meditation, I suggest starting with a 5-10 minute meditation each day. Make sure you find a pose and space that feels comfortable, with no distractions, where you can allow yourself to be present and get to know yourself better. While meditating, remind yourself of your goals, get excited about all the great things that are coming your way. Visualise how you want your day to go - things you want to accomplish. Use whatever form of mediation works better for you. The main goal is to quiet your mind and start the day with calm thoughts. Do what feels true to you. Details don't matter, just practice and commitment.

I love using Headspace. It's a course of guided meditation that helps me stick to my meditation routine best. 

 

6. WORKOUT

The A.M. workout ritual gives me that much needed energy boost in the morning. It's what makes me feel energised, focused, organised and healthy. Plus, committing to a short workout every morning is the best way to make sure you stick to a regular workout schedule. Going to the gym, going for a run, a simple short workout at home, stretches or a sun salutation - add to your morning routine what's more convenient and most enjoyable to you. It doesn't have to be high intensity, just get the blood and oxygen running. The main goal is to take some time to move and stretch your body well in the morning.

Tip: After my workout I make sure to dance around to my current favourite upbeat tune. It does wonders to improving my mood, so that I can go and continue singing in the shower, hehe :)  

 

7. AFFIRMATIONS

Positive and motivating affirmations work wonders. It's another ritual that will help you set the right tone for the day and get yourself into a motivated and can-do mindset. Most importantly, they will help you believe in your own strength and potential. You can whisper them, say them out loud or think them, but I suggest you stand in front of the mirror and say inspiring things to yourself that will help you achieve your goals. This will give you lots of confidence, focus, happiness boost and feel in peace. Read this article and get some ideas for affirmations that you can add to your a.m. routine.

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.
— Paulo Coelho

 

8. EAT A DELICIOUS AND NUTRITIOUS BREAKFAST + SPEND TIME WITH YOUR LOVED ONES

I'm sure that you've heard “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” way too many times. I'm here to say it one more time - it's the fuel for the day. Not only does it give you energy to start the day, but also improves your performance during the day. It's also a perfect time to spend with your loved one, family or friends (depending on who you live with) before you all rush off to complete your daily agendas. Take this time to connect, share positivity, tell each other about your aspirations and what you're looking forward to on this day. Healthy & delicious breakfast in lovely company is definitely something to look forward to the night before.

 

9. SOMETHING FOR INSPIRATION AND CREATIVITY

I usually get most done and feel most creative when I'm feeling inspired and motivated. Sometimes I just wake up having this feeling and some mornings I need some help with this. In order to make sure that I get my daily dose of positivity and inspiration, I make sure to schedule it in my morning routine. Do this by making your inspiration intake a seamless habit. Read or watch something that inspires and motivates you. It could be a podcast, a video or a blog post. Plan it the night before, so you know exactly what you will be reading, watching or listening to, as it will save you time browsing in the morning.

Lately I've been listening to Brendon Burchard's podcast “The Charged Life”. #1 New York Times bestselling author shares his thoughts and insights on success, motivation and performance. I find it very easy to relate to almost every single one of his podcasts, as he covers topics, situations and feelings that most of us experience during their lifetime. I feel that listening to podcasts like this fills my brain with positive ideas and thoughts that help me understand myself and others better, makes me want to be a better human being or simply allows me to learn something new. Plus, you can listen to a podcast while you are putting on your makeup, therefore saving more time in the morning while still getting your daily dose of inspiration. Win, win! :)


 

10. MAP OUT YOUR DAY

Lastly, before I leave the house or simply get ready for doing some work at home, I sit down, open my notebook/agenda and create my to do list and plan how I will tackle all the tasks. Mapping out the day helps to achieve that feeling of being organised and ready to complete your to-do-list. Just remember to be realistic about the things that can be achieved in the day. Instead of making yourself feel overwhelmed, schedule your most important tasks and get excited about a productive day ahead. Use the morning to do big-picture thinking and prioritise your tasks. Now go out and make wonderful things happen!

You might not have time in the morning for all these activities, so I suggest you choose some that you find the most motivating/inspiring or convenient to fit your routine. These are habits that need to be practiced and with time it will be part of your day, where you won't even have to think about it and instead you will just do it automatically. But to start, whatever morning ritual you decide to do, make it a habit. Set up a routine and do your absolute best to stick with it every day. Eventually the routine that you tailor will become so effortless that you will just do all the positive and inspiring activities without thinking. Then it will become an essential part of your life.

It’s not about the end goal. It’s about who you become by consistently pushing to the edge of your limits.
— Robin Sharma

 

What are your morning rituals? Do share with us :) 

Thank you so much for reading! 

With Love,

Zané