Hello from Australia! Sorry for the recent radio silence; I was making the most of my last few days on the road offline, exploring Hawaii and spending some quality time with my hubby.
Now that I’m home, I’m super excited to be catching up with friends and settling into a routine … but I’m also feeling a bit overwhelmed. So much is going on and my brain is trying to do 10,000 things, all at once! Can you relate?!
If so, I think you’ll enjoy this post. When my brain goes into overdrive, I find it really helpful to take a time out and reset my compass – so make yourself a hot drink, get out your journal and some colourful pens, and take a moment to recharge with one of these fun, creative exercises to inspire intentional living.
DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY
Imagine your perfect day, in detail, from when you wake up in the morning until your head hits the pillow at the end of the day. What does your perfect day look like?
Doing this exercise serves two purposes:
- To help you clarify your priorities, values, and dreams – and to visualise how they play out on a day to day basis. For example, you may dream about having a healthy, active lifestyle – but what will that actually look like? Will you go hiking every day? Spend afternoons at the gym? Train for a marathon? Knowing the specifics will help you understand your motivation.
- To find your next step. Compare your perfect day to your current ‘every day’. How are they different? Do you notice any small changes you could make to your life so that today more closely resembles your perfect day? Is there anything you could let go of?
Of course, not every day will be ‘perfect’ (and this is a good thing) but this exercise helps us learn more about ourselves and prompts us to review our current lives and mindfully consider what is and isn’t working.
DEFINE YOUR BELIEFS: WRITE A MANIFESTO
Who are you? What do you stand for? What do you believe in? Answer these questions by creating a personal manifesto.
As I wrote a few months ago, intentional living does not require having your whole life figured out, but you do need to consciously consider your direction.
If you’re unsure of where you should be headed, one way to get clarity is to create a personal manifesto (especially if you’re a visual person, like me!)
Your manifesto is a collection of ideas expressing what you believe in. It should act as a source of inspiration you can refer to daily to remind yourself who you are and what kind of life you want to live.
How you create your manifesto is completely up to you, but here are a few ideas to consider including:
- your values
- your code of conduct (how you want to treat others)
- your dreams
- quotes + affirmations
- a declaration of who you are
I created mine in my journal, using a few colourful pens, but I could easily imagine getting more creative with paint and collages or testing my graphic design skills in Canva.
RELATED POST: How Defining My Core Values Changed My Life
WRITE A LETTER TO YOUR FUTURE SELF
Write a letter to your future self, outlining in detail how you’d like your life to look and feel after a specified period of time (3 months, 1 year, etc) and use FutureMe.org to schedule it.
I originally did this exercise as part of a blogging course I took last year. I loved it for two reasons:
- I had to think critically about what I wanted my life to look like in the future, and this inspired me to review my current situation and consider what I was doing to achieve my goals.
- When I eventually received my ‘future self’ email, I was prompted to reevaluate my life again and adjust my course as necessary.
FILL YOUR JAR
I don’t know about you, but when I think about my priorities, I rarely consider that I have limited time and energy. Unfortunately, the reality is life is about tradeoffs; if you’re spending time doing one thing, it means you’re not doing something else.
It’s important that we make these choices intentionally – if we don’t we risk finding out down the road that we didn’t leave space for what matters most.
A helpful, visual way to define these priorities is with this ‘fill your jar’ exercise.
There’s a good chance you’ve heard a version of this story before but just in case you haven’t – here’s a quick summary (or you can watch the video instead.)
A professor walks into a classroom and presents a jar. He fills it with big rocks and then asks the class if the jar is full. They respond yes. Then he presents a bag of pebbles and pours it into the jar, filling the space between the rocks. Again he asks if the jar is full and the class responds yes. He repeats this process twice more, with sand and then water – until the jar is truly full.
The jar represents our lives; the big rocks are the most important things, the pebbles are slightly less important, and so on.
The lesson is we have limited time in our lives (just like there is limited space in the jar.) If you want to make sure you have time for the most important things (the big rocks) then you need to put them in your jar first. (Imagine if you started with the sand and pebbles – you’d never fit the rest in!)
So what are your big rocks? And what are your pebbles? Use the free worksheet I created for you (below) to define your priorities!
Remember, because you have limited space in your jar (just like you have limited time in your life) it’s important to make an intentional choice about what matters most.
The ‘big rocks’ idea was first presented by Stephen Covey.
Thanks so much for reading! Did you try any of these exercises? If so, what was your favourite? Do you enjoy any other creative exercises? Let me know in the comments! xoxo