Plan Your Journey

As we come to the end of another year, some of us are already thinking about New Year’s resolutions, or what I prefer to call Purposeful Intentions. How can we eat healthier? What gym membership should I sign up for? How can I better organize my calendar? Who in my family do I need to reconcile with and build a stronger relationship with? What are my goals for the new year and how can I be sure that this year things are different and I actually attain them? I have found I am much more successful in reaching my goals when I write them down and set a purposeful intention. That works well for small goals, like taking my dog for a walk after lunch every other day, or remembering to brush my teeth before I go to bed. For more long-term, life-altering ambitions, I like to put a bit more thought and effort into it. I like to get crystal clear on what I want, and that includes feeling into my vision.

What the heck does it mean to ‘feel into your vision,’ you ask? It means not wanting what others tell you that you should want (read nicer car, bigger house, 6-figure income), but what feels right inside of your heart. If it sparks joy inside of you, then that’s something you should look into. For me, I have bought into the lies about upgrading so many aspects of my life to create a sense of happiness and fulfillment based on external information. No longer! The way in which I plan my journey, my journey into achieving my dreams, is to start with the vision. I close down my eyes and think of all the ways, in great detail, what I’m doing when I’ve obtained this vision, who I’m with, what I’m wearing, where I’m at, how I’m feeling. After I have a vivid picture of what I truly want and what brings ME joy, I write it down. Again, in great detail. Really feel into your vision. There is no such thing as asking for too much.

Then I start to work my way backwards. I start with the vision, and begin to listen to my heart and what it’s telling me would be small steps I can take, every day, to reach my vision. Small steps when done repeatedly over a long period of time will create the growth you are truly looking for. For example, if my intention were to quit drinking, here are some small steps I can add to my daily routine to make my journey something I enjoy and promote growth along the way.

  • ensure my fridge is always stocked with delicious healthy non-alcoholic drinks
  • keep my list of 30 fun and interesting activities handy and when a craving arises, turn to the list and take action
  • reach out to an accountability partner at least once per week, have coffee or tea with them, go see a movie, or engage in a conversation on the phone
  • meditate every day, if I’m feeling a bit stressed as my day progresses, I will meditate again
  • incorporate yoga into my daily routine to strengthen my mind-body connection
  • find and follow sober influencers online and subscribe to their emails

When coming up with your small steps, be mindful of the journey you are on. It is not the destination you should focus on, but rather the process in which you find yourself moving through daily. So if Dry January is on your list, don’t focus on February 1st, focus on one thing you can do today to bring fulfillment into your life.

Throughout Your Journey

Once you’ve solidified your vision and have come up with your small steps, it’s time to take action. Simply having a plan laid out is no good unless you take action on it. Just like acquiring all the self-help and personal development knowledge in the world is no good, unless you take action on it. So many people get caught up in achieving the end result they are looking for that the entire process feels like a drag. You begin to feel like you have to do this or that. It’s so much more enjoyable and fulfilling when you change your mindset and tell yourself that you get to do this awesome and amazing thing for yourself. You begin to enjoy the process and pay more attention to the little victories along the way. The more victories along the way you are celebrating, the more likely you are to not only stick with your vision, but the more likely you are to continue with your vision, mold it along the way, and see incredible transformation.

If you’ve chosen to participate in 31 days of sobriety for the month of January, or perhaps you are wanting to quit for good, ensure you are keeping track of your progress. One of the most rewarding and yet easy things you can do to ensure you are following your own journey is to document it. Whether its journaling on the daily, keeping voice recordings of how you have felt at the end of your day, or maybe you create a visual timetable online. I’ve seen people start their journey publicly posting each of their days. Regardless of how you want to keep track of your progress, make sure you go back and periodically and compare where you were to where are you. Personally, I find it very helpful and rewarding to read back through my journals from several weeks or months ago to see where my head was at the time and compare that to where I’m at now. Having the ability to review your progress throughout your journey not only brings awareness to your growth, but it gives you motivation to keep going.

31 Days of Growth

If you’re not sure how to get started, I’ve come up with a list of activities, journal prompts, and other ideas you can refer to throughout Dry January. I hope this list will spark some ideas of your own, because when you create your own ideas, you have more skin in the game, you are more emotionally tied to the outcome, and you are enjoying the process more. Good luck to you on your own journey!

  1. Listen to a TED talk to get you motivated
  2. Stock your fridge with delicious non-alcoholic beverages
  3. Journal idea: What makes this intention personal to me?
  4. Take a break from social media for 24, 48, or 72 hours
  5. Create a vision board
  6. Declutter and reorganize one area of your living space (closet, desk, pantry)
  7. Spend 30 minutes practicing Yoga
  8. Listen to a motivating podcast, like Happier with Gretchen Rubin
  9. Journal idea: If I could do anything in the world, no limitations to time/money/resources/knowledge, it would be…
  10. Find/Buy a 32 oz. water bottle, fill with filtered water, drink 3 of these every day
  11. Listen to Solfeggio in bed and allow yourself to fall asleep to it…early
  12. Light some candles, pour a bath with healing bath salts and relax
  13. Play your favorite motivational song and dance like nobody is watching
  14. Cook/Bake/Order your absolute favorite dish
  15. Locate and sign up for a local volunteer opportunity
  16. Visit a thrift store and find a gift for yourself
  17. Read a self-help book
  18. Start a daily meditation practice
  19. Journal Idea: How can I make my sobriety not about quitting, but something heroic and endearingly vulnerable?
  20. Start a daily gratitude journaling practice
  21. Mindfully eat your lunch, do NOT work through it
  22. Take the free enneagram personality assessment so you can make more informed choices about what you need
  23. Do 1 selfless act of kindness for a stranger
  24. Take a nature bath (Go to the woods/a park/anywhere away from people, but IN nature and just sit for 20 minutes)
  25. Get to know your life values and discover in what areas you need to bring in more attention
  26. Identify your worst money habit and come up with a plan to fix it
  27. Journal Idea: What am I holding onto that I need to let go of?
  28. Create a positive mantra for yourself
  29. Make a big donation to your favorite charity, don’t have one? Find one here!
  30. Catch up on sleep or take a nap
  31. Celebrate your success and keep going!

Outside Resources

For more tips on having a successful January check out these outside resources:

CBS News Dry January Tips

Real Simple How to Have a Successful Dry January According to Experts

NBC News Dry January Tips