In my last two posts, I talked about different challenges, the role they play in our lives, and ways to more mindfully engage with them. In this post, I want to share a simple, yet effective exercise to help you bring in more of the challenges you want engage with and how to integrate them into your lifestyle.
It’s probably best if you read Part 1 and Part 2 before doing this exercise, so you can get the low down on all of the juicy information. The challenges I’m talking about are called enablers. I’ll refresh your memory about them as you read further into this post. This exercise is simple and won’t take up much of your time, maybe an hour or so. So get excited, because when you commit to following through with this exercise, you’re going to have a lot more fun activities and experiences to look forward to in the coming year. But first let me refresh your memory about enablers.
Enablers are the challenges we consciously choose to have an experience with. These are the ones we are excited to have in our lives, because they bring us the most fun, fulfillment, meaning and personal sense of accomplishment. Most people would say, “Enablers are the challenges they want more of, yet don’t never get enough of.” If you are serious about bringing more of these into your life, you need the intention to actively pursue them and a willingness to wholeheartedly embrace the experiences bring. So what do you say, are you ready to try the exercise out?
This is a feel-good exercise that requires some time for personal reflection. All you need is a quiet, comfortable space, a pen and paper and a calendar and you’re set. So let’s not waste any more time, let’s get to it.
How to create new challenges in your life – A practical exercise.
Setting the scene.
Find a space somewhere to be alone without any interruptions. The space should definitely resonate with you. It’s better to be somewhere quiet where you can relax and get totally comfortable. You can use whatever you like to create an ambient environment, maybe; some candles, essential oils, or incense, soft music or loads of comfy cushions. Oh and also remember to switch off your mobile phone.
Reflections and dreaming.
Now time to get comfortable in your space. Please use this time to nurture yourself and enjoy immersing in the experience. When you’re ready, start with taking some deep breaths and focus on your inhalations and exhalations. When you have a nice even rhythm going, you can gently close your eyes. Now start to observe, but not foucs on your thoughts. Just let them come up and release them to the universe. They serve no purpose in this moment. The idea is to clear your head of any thoughts or things that happened in your day. Take as much time as you need until feel more peaceful, present and relaxed.
Now it’s time to set an intention. It doesn’t have to be long or extensive, but try to make the words fairly precise. For example, you could say something like, “I would love to bring in some new and exciting challenges that make me feel unrestricted, exhilarated, reenergised, free, alive, happy and purposeful.” It’s totally up to you to decide what experiences you would like to create. Now, let your mind wander back to those times where you were involved in activities that generated feel-good emotions. Or alternately, imagine yourself getting involved in some new activities that you’ve always wanted to do. Take some time to reflect and immerse in some of those experiences.
Remember, this is not an exercise that involves thinking. It’s about connecting with your inner self and reminiscing about some of more enjoyable experiences you had engaging in past challenges. So take your time, recall as many of these activities and experiences as you want. There’s no time limit here.
Enhancing your lifestyle.
Once you feel like you’ve had enough, bring yourself back into the room and gently open your eyes. When you’re ready, start writing down the enablers that you came up with. This is going to be your enablers’ wish list. The idea is to generate 12 challenging activities for you to pursue over the next year. By having 12 activities, you will get to participate in one activity every month. If you had trouble identifying 12, just repeat the exercise as many times as you need until you have all of them. Remember, the enablers don’t have to be big challenges, or even cost a lot of money. But they do need to be realistic and totally actionable.
When you’ve finished writing your list, prioritise the enablers and assign one enabler to each month of the year. You should then schedule the enabler with the top priority, to be completed within the next month. BTW, lock your dates in and don’t compromise on timeframes, otherwise you wont get the full benefits of integrating them into your lifestyle. You’re aiming for both consistency and regularity, because this is what brings about sustainable change. Put the list somewhere you can see it during your daily routine, that way if you think of any more enablers you can add them to the list.
Journaling your progress.
It’s a good idea to also start a journal, so you can record each activity after it’s completed along with the answers to the following questions. This will help you to reflect on any personal changes that came about as a result of your activities. Make sure you run through the same set of questions each time you complete one of the activities. Reflecting on these experiences will help you to see how much you’ve grown over the year and to gauge if your quality of life has improved.
- Was the activity worth doing?
- How do I feel after engaging in this activity?
- What was the experience like?
- Did it challenge me? if yes, how?
- What did I learn about myself?
- Has it made a difference to my life?
- Was it worth doing?
I hope you get to enjoy this exercise. It certainly has the potential to bring you a lot of personal gains. But don’t take my word for it, try it out and let me know how you go. I’d love to hear more about your experiences, so please feel free to leave your comments.
Part of our role at FEEL, is to encourage you to step out of the comfort zone. Because the more you test your limits and capabilities the more you get to really know who you are.
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”