#SWAAYthenarrative

What if Your New Year’s Resolutions Weren’t Self-loathing?

Lifestyle

What would it feel like if at this time next year you looked back at how you lived your 2018 and said, “That was a wild awesome ride, let’s do it again!”?


I invite you to put away the resolutions for a minute and stop listening to the troll on your shoulder dancing around mocking all your bad habits, failures and what needs to be changed. Instead think about one dream that you’ve always said ‘someday you’re going to do’ and imagine accomplishing it in 2018.

You see your dreams are like the pea in the Princess and the Pea fairytale. There’s a mile-high stack of old mattresses on top of that pea. You shouldn’t be able to feel it anymore, but yet it’s still there.

I call this whisper of dreams the Desire Effect™ and it’s the marriage between yourself and life. Even if you hid your deepest desires away they’re still there in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, and for better or worse. They never leave because they’re the key to your true happiness, self-esteem, and a life lived without regret, yet they are covered everyday with another mattress. This marriage with your desires may be the least nurtured relationship in your life.

Your desires are the most powerful allies in being able to live the life you’re meant to live and to break the desire/regret cycle, yet most people will die never having let the desires come to full effect.

Most of this has happened subconsciously. Once you understand it, well then it does become your responsibility to change it. So decide if you’d like to take control of your life and throw off all those mattresses before you read on, because what I’m about to tell you will leave you in control and some people would prefer the excuses. They’d rather leave their lives in the hands of programs and gurus, doctors, and bosses, bad relationships, and blame, because there’s a part of their brain that says, “We’re safe. We don’t like discomfort.” Seventy-five percent of the population is motivated by external forces: praise from others; fear of pain; fear of being reprimanded; love from others, etc. So oftentimes you make decisions based on what society will deem success and right.

So are you ready to see what those external forces have done to you?

Let’s take a little journey together.

Everyone starts with dreams and desires. Little kids imagine what their lives will look like. They dream big. Every adult has a list of, “Some day I’m going to_____.” So imagine you’re standing at a split in a road with a huge mountain in front of you.

That mountain looks steep and rocky. You’re holding a treasure chest of all your dreams.

When you look to the right you see the people in your life. They’re urging you to follow the path they’ve taken or want you to take. “You want to be a dancer? That’s silly. Barely anyone makes it and you don’t have the body. You want to be a writer? I wanted to be a writer but it’s not practical. An artist? Well maybe if you go into graphic arts. Sail the world? Everyone wants to travel, but then it’s time to realize that life doesn’t turn out the way you want and it’s what happens when you’re making other plans.”

All these external voices are coming at you telling you what you should be. Many of these voices are well intentioned. These people love you and they don’t want to see you fail. Their personal fears and experiences are placed upon you. Add in the media and all the propaganda you’re fed about what makes a successful life and there’s a constant bombardment battling with your dreams aka the mattresses on top of the pea.

Let’s turn away for a moment and look at the left split in the road—the chance to follow your desires. This path is terrifying. There’s very little data on how it will work out, because it’s a unique path, one that only you can take and no one else has ever done. There’s no map, no one to take your hand and say, “See this is how it will end up.”

So you take the path on the right. At first it works out well. You see the design in front of you, and you know the goals. You work hard to get there. Yet underneath, The Desire Effect™, keeps haunting you like that little pea that won’t allow you to sleep comfortably. Suddenly life, even if it looks perfect on the outside, starts feeling like a chore and resentment builds along with unhappiness. The stress compounds and the psyche yearns for release. Food, alcohol, social media attention, fighting with loved ones, creating drama that gives you a boost of brain chemicals, all create bad patterns that are hard to break. You begin to zone out; to get away for one minute from the life you’ve built by binge watching television or just shutting down.

Ultimately you need an outside force to break you from this pattern and you see commercials for workout systems, diets, financial programs, counseling, coaching, etc. They give you a new vision of what will make you happy, and forward momentum happens as you get an endorphin rush based on a future results. The feeling is fleeting, failure starts to be debilitating and once again you start to simply make it through the day.

By the end of most people’s lives they look back and wonder, where did all my dreams go? Where is my health? My life? Oh well this is just the truth of living.

But it’s the biggest lie ever told.

What if instead, you got off of the right path and stepped into the unknown. It’s scary, your brain and that troll are going to tell you it’s impossible. You can’t remember your dreams anymore, or you can, but they aren’t practical. You have responsibilities. You like your life. There’s no real reason to complain. There isn’t enough money.

But what if you could climb the Appalachian Trail? Or take a month off and live in Italy? Or write that novel? Or learn to dance? Or whatever your pea has been whispering for so long.

Let’s take an imaginary stroll down the left path. There’s excitement and fear wrapped together because it means so much to go after your dreams and you don’t know if you have what it takes to do it. You take the first small steps and think, “Well at least if I fail I’ll know I tried, but to fail would hurt so much because I want this badly.”

And then you do fail. It’s inevitable. It happens, yet instead of running back to the right path you realize you’ve started to climb the steep mountain and didn’t even notice. You learn from the failure and decide, “Hey it hurt, I fell, but I’m still okay.” Your confidence goes up.

Suddenly there’s a desire to be healthier because you want to climb this mountain faster and your diet and workouts are chosen to enhance what you’re doing. You begin to make financial decisions not based on stuff, but on a life well–lived with meaning and experiences. You realize if you’re out of debt or make more money you’ll have freedom to have more dreams, more fun, and you start making better decisions. Suddenly the view of the top of the mountain comes into sight and you’re not even breathing hard. You notice that you’ve been meeting like-minded people who also chose the unknown path and you’re happier in your relationships. The regret is gone.

You reach the top of the mountain, with a few bruises, a few healed injuries, but as you summit you see a whole world before you that wasn’t visible at the original crossroads and you realize that this one dream that you took a chance on has led you to a huge life. There’s no longer time for zoning out, or binge watching television or all those things that allowed you to escape. You need at least five lifetimes because there’s so much to explore.

Do you still want to make that resolution based on changing what you dislike about yourself?

Want to step onto the unknown path? Don’t know where to start? Take the Dream Survey to see where you stand with your Desire Effect™. Join our Facebook group A Year of Dreams and like our Page Dare to Dream/ Marci Nault for a year of inspiration and support. Only in dreaming can you see how magnificent your life is meant to be. Make 2018 the year you settle for nothing less than magnificence.

How to Learn Much More From the Books You Read

It is one thing to read and another thing to understand what you are reading. Not only do you want to understand, but also remember what you've read. Otherwise, we can safely say that if we're not gaining anything from what we read, then it's a big waste of time.

Whatever you read, there are ways to do so in a more effective manner to help you understand better. Whether you are reading by choice, for an upcoming test, or work-related material, here are a few ways to help you improve your reading skills and retain that information.

Read with a Purpose

Never has there been a shortage of great books. So, someone recommended a great cookbook for you. You start going through it, but your mind is wandering. This doesn't mean the cookbook was an awful recommendation, but it does mean it doesn't suit nor fulfill your current needs or curiosity.

Maybe your purpose is more about launching a business. Maybe you're a busy mom and can't keep office hours, but there's something you can do from home to help bring in more money, so you want information about that. At that point, you won't benefit from a cookbook, but you could gain a lot of insight and find details here on how-to books about working from home. During this unprecedented year, millions have had to make the transition to work from home, and millions more are deciding to do that. Either way, it's not a transition that comes automatically or easily, but reading about it will inform you about what working from home entails.

Pre-Read

When you pre-read it primes your brain when it's time to go over the full text. We pre-read by going over the subheadings, for instance, the table of contents, and skimming through some pages. This is especially useful when you have formal types of academic books. Pre-reading is a sort of warm-up exercise for your brain. It prepares your brain for the rest of the information that will come about and allows your brain to be better able to pick the most essential pieces of information you need from your chosen text.

Highlight

Highlighting essential sentences or paragraphs is extremely helpful for retaining information. The problem, however, with highlighting is that we wind up highlighting way too much. This happens because we tend to highlight before we begin to understand. Before your pages become a neon of colored highlights, make sure that you only highlight what is essential to improve your understanding and not highlight the whole page.

Speed Read

You might think there have been no new ways to read, but even the ancient skill of reading comes up with innovative ways; enter speed reading. The standard slow process shouldn't affect your understanding, but it does kill your enthusiasm. The average adult goes through around 200 to 250 words per minute. A college student can read around 450 words, while a professor averages about 650 words per minute, to mention a few examples. The average speed reader can manage 1,500 words; quite a difference! Of course, the argument arises between quality and quantity. For avid readers, they want both quantity and quality, which leads us to the next point.

Quality Reading

Life is too short to expect to gain knowledge from just one type of genre. Some basic outcomes of reading are to expand your mind, perceive situations and events differently, expose yourself to other viewpoints, and more. If you only stick to one author and one type of material, you are missing out on a great opportunity to learn new things.

Having said that, if there's a book you are simply not enjoying, remember that life is also too short to continue reading it. Simply, close it, put it away and maybe give it another go later on, or give it away. There is no shame or guilt in not liking a book; even if it's from a favorite author. It's pretty much clear that you won't gain anything from a book that you don't even enjoy, let alone expect to learn something from it.

Summarize

If you're able to summarize what you have read, then you have understood. When you summarize, you are bringing up all the major points that enhance your understanding. You can easily do so chapter by chapter.

Take a good look at your life and what's going on in it. Accordingly, you'll choose the material that is much more suitable for your situation and circumstances. When you read a piece of information that you find beneficial, look for a way to apply it to your life. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn't all that beneficial. But the application of knowledge from a helpful book is what will help you and make your life more interesting and more meaningful.