Design is my life, and an important aspect of any great design is the plan behind it.
We plan parties, we plan vacations, we research our next cell phone or car with great diligence, but what amount of effort do we really extend to our lives? To the present we are living, and the future that we hope to create? Just as we put effort into the planning of the little things that are apart of our lives, so should we put effort into the big picture of it. It is imperative to deliberately work towards the big picture of our lives just as we would do anything else. We should take things as they come and be flexible, but live with clear intention.
It almost goes without saying that you reflect the things and people you surround yourself with.
If you surround yourself with people who exhibit bad habits, negative attitudes, or judgmental personalities, you yourself will begin to mirror that negative behavior. On the other hand, if you surround yourself with people who exhibit healthy habits, positive attitudes, who build up and treat others with respect and kindness, you are influenced by that positive energy and begin to mirror that positive behavior. This mirroring directly effects the quality of our lives, and goes the same for our surroundings. If you surround yourself with clutter, your thoughts become just as disorganized and scattered as your surroundings; and conversely the opposite is true. By creating surroundings that reflect the person you are and want to be, you are setting yourself up for success. It's a very important step towards living not just a blissful life, but towards achieving your personal goals. So, we go back to the question "who do I want to be?" and add a new one, "what does the surroundings of that person look like?"
So let's make some positive changes to our surroundings to create a life worth reflecting back.
Here's where the fun of Step Eight comes into play: Whatever your goals for this year may be or whatever person you intend to become, how about creating the living environment you imagine that person exists in? The fit and healthy person, the person with strong relationships, the career minded go-getter, the peaceful and balanced person, or fill in the blank. Create a home for yourself that reflects who that person is to you; who you wish to be for yourself or your loved ones. In creating this environment you are reinforcing the lifestyle changes you are making this year. Have fun with it and be playful. If you share a living space, work with your partner to create an environment that reflects your ideals as a couple. If you rent a room in a house of friends or house mates, or you still live at home with your parents, create this environment in your room or what personal space you have. There's no excuse for not doing so, even on a limited budget anything is possible with a little creativity.
So let's get a little specific with a few common New Year's goals people take on each year.
Health Oriented Surroundings
If one of your goals for the New Year is to be a more fit and healthy person, think about what the life and surroundings of that person looks like. What’s in his/her pantry and refrigerator? What are his/her eating and exercise habits? How does this healthy person spend his/her free time? How does he/she stay on track with his/her healthy lifestyle without feeling deprived? And how does this person feel about his/her body?
(I’m going to answer the last question for you because I think that there is a common misconception that to work towards bettering one’s self, health or otherwise, is to say that there is something “wrong” with one’s self. On the contrary a person who works towards bettering themselves doesn’t do so out of hate or blame, this person does so out of love for self, and that’s the place you should come from always. Love yourself and therefore take care of yourself, and that includes your body, in its current state and the one you wish it to be. This is the place to come from to gain true bliss through your actions with any goal.)
Relationships Oriented Surroundings
If one of your goals for the New Year is to strengthen your relationships, think about what the life and surroundings of a person with strong relationships would look like. How does he/she interact and treat other people? Who is that person in the lives of his/her loved ones? – a loving friend, a support system, a listening ear, a reliable ally? What is this persons key personality traits? – honesty, supportiveness, dependability, kind-heartedness, cheerfulness? How often does this person see the ones he/she cares about? And what is the quality of his/her interactions with them?
(Think about the people in your life that mean the most to you. What is it about these people that make them mean so much and how do they make you feel about yourself? How do they influence your behavior? Learn from the love and friendship they show you and be that person in return. If you don’t have ideal relationships with the people around you, think about what type of relationship you would like to have and what influence you would like to have on other people. We get back what we put out into the world.)
Career Oriented Surroundings
If one of your goals is to move up in your career or job, think about what a person with that career or job’s life and surroundings would look like. What time does this person wake up in the morning and what time does this person go to sleep? How does he/she balance other areas of his/her life? What type of worker is he/she? What does his/her work space look like? Is it organized and free of clutter? How does this person treat and support other people he/she work with? What does his/her living environment look like? How does this person feel about the job he/she is doing? What is this person’s outlook? What type of goals does he/she have, and what does he/she do to achieve them?
(If your career is your focus in the New Year, just as working on any other area of your life, it is important to think about how you are going to go about creating that ideal existence. It is important to have some type of plan in mind and goals that are appropriately set to aid in carrying out this plan. Furthermore, as I've said before, surround yourself with things and people who will promote the success of this goal.)
Peace and Balance
If one of your goals is to create peace and balance in the New Year, think about what the life and surroundings of a peaceful and balanced person looks like. What‘s in his/her living environment and how is it organized? What time does he/she wake up and go to sleep? How does this person relax and treat themselves? What are his/her eating and exercise habits? How does this person feel about his/her life? And what does peace and balance mean to this person?
If what you want for yourself isn’t yet clear to you, don’t worry; the universe will put hints in your life to help lead you where you are meant to be. And even if your “ultimate purpose” is still unknown to you, there must be things in your life that you know you want however small they may be; so work towards those in the meantime. Take the time to design your life and research how to make it possible for yourself!
Stay tuned for a deeper look into what such environments can look like and tips for creating one of these spaces for yourself.