Book of the Year!

Every year I find one really good inspiring book that sets the tone for the next twelve months. This year a book fell in to my lap and within three chapters, completely opened my mind.

What does everyone want more than anything? To be happy!! Radically Happy by Phakchok Rinpoche and Erric Solomon is such a down-to-earth book that takes knowledge and wisdom and teaches it through relatable experiences from a business CEO and a Master Meditation Teacher. What makes this book so good is how easily digestible the lessons are and how funny their personal stories can be.

Each chapter is pretty short, around 15 pages, so it easy to digest and read for people with limited time.

Each chapter contains a little practice you can do outside the book and make these lessons part of your daily life and eventually effortless.

What’s hidden throughout the book are the Yoga Sutras written in modern language and without any pressure or stiffness. Having a history in studying Sutras is NOT necessary for this book and I would actually recommend reading Radically Happy before the Sutras. It is a foolproof way to understand the basics of life! Which is what the Sutras are, a guidebook on living.

To the point: Radically Happy gives you the tools to filter out all the thoughts that are counterproductive to our happiness by creating anxiety and feelings of loss.

Pros: This isn’t a book solely written by a teacher with a long lineage of ancient studies, it is combined with a modern CEO, science and ancient lessons that give a fully rounded education in being “happy”.

It also has mini lessons each chapter to incorporate behavioral practices that encourage satisfaction, groundedness and confidence.

This is such a creative and inspiring book to read this January! Check it out on Shambhala here and tell me in the comments what you think of it!

Breaking up with Resolutions

By now you’ve already questioned your resolutions and if you’re like me even slipped up on a few.

Resolutions are a guaranteed way to set yourself up for failure. Traditionally, resolutions are a set of goals that are unrealistic. Here are some of my tips to help you navigate realistic and long lasting goals for the year (and possibly healthy changes for your lifestyle).

1. First think about the different aspects of life. I applied a goal to Financial, Educational, Wellbeing/Health, Creativity, and Relationships. These are areas of my life that need work and are important to me. Your areas may be different, may include Career, Parenting, Free Time or so on. Individual goals should be just that, individual! Write these down in a journal or planner with space to write your goals for each.

2. Make your goals clear, concise and achievable. Be realistic and set yourself up for success. Instead of writing “save money” in my financial column I gave myself a specific goal “do not buy plants this year and care for the ones you have”. This is specific to me and a result of spending my money on something instead of saving. With this one I plan to use the money saved on not buying nonsense each month to pay off everything I bought for the holidays. Which leads to our next tip:

3. Each goal has a positive result. This is your motivation to stick with it! In Wellbeing I wrote to practice yoga a little everyday (5 minutes to 1 hour) and then I write why I’m doing it, less pain, more flexibility and strength and a calmer mind. Writing the positive effects you’ll get from it will keep you motivated in times when you start to talk yourself out of it.

4. Healthy habits start slowly. Make a plan to spend only a minimal time on each, I set mine for painting each day at 5 minutes. I gave myself a month to a read a book. Though I’ve spent more than 5 minutes each day on these, some days are harder than others and instead of skipping, having a low time expectancy is achievable. It doesn’t feel like failing when I only read for 5 minutes yesterday and then fell asleep, I still completed a goal for the day and can do more when I have more in me.

5. Have goals that will work together. One of my goals is to spend less time mindlessly on my phone, either scrolling or playing games. So I set time limits for each of those at one hour. It turns out that I have been spending my free time on my other goals and rarely hit my time limit anyway. Everything feels in balance and cohesive and my day feels a little more important by the time I rest my head down.

6. You can make some personal goals about your behavior that you want to change. I was to take one breath before responding to people. Especially at home. If I remind myself “BREATHE” I often don’t respond as negatively as I would have if I responded habitually. These changes take time so remind yourself you have an entire year to create this new habit (although it usually only takes 6 weeks)!

7. Some goals may not lend easy to seeing tangible results so I try to have at least one that I can look at everyday and see my accomplishments. My yoga practice may not give me physical results (and if it does it will take some time) but my creating practice will have some result everyday, whether a handmade bracelet, a pencil drawing or a painting that I can reflect on at the end of the day. This one is for our ego, it keeps us motivated in our longterm goals when we have daily short term ones.

The most important part of making goals is getting closer to a life you love. By having daily and longterm goals we consistently work on our habits and evolve our personalities. We continuously practice mindfulness and teach our brains to live in the present moment and focus which helps reduce anxiety and depression. So make sure that when you’re practicing your goals you’re remembering why you’re doing it. Try to have fun with it and the process will be effortless!