Happiness doesn't happen by accident. Sure, there's room for spontaneity and happiness will happen in some of those moments too, but it's a whole lot easier to make happiness happen when you are living life on purpose. When you are being intentional.
But how do you go about turning up the volume on intention? Being intentional happens when you are actively learning from your past experiences (which I call reflection) and planning for your desired future (which I call vision). Here's the catch, not all personalities are equally good at reflecting and visioning. Usually you are better at one than the other.
Regardless of whether or not you know which one you are good at, these ideas will help you boost your reflection and vision abilities so you can live life more intentionally. R
• One of my favorite tools to help my boost my reflection abilities is the One Line A Day journal. There are a few different versions of these, but the gist of it is that each page in the journal represents a day of the year. There are 5 spots on each page and each spot corresponds to a year. So everyday you capture just a couple thoughts about that day. The cool thing is that as you start your next year, you get to boost your reflection because you'll be able to see what you were doing the previous years.
• Speed Journaling is a little tool I created to help folks do some reflective work. You can do this in a journal or on a post-it. It is that easy! Are you ready? Just write these words as a list down the left-hand side of a piece of paper: Mad, Sad, Glad and Scared. Start at the top of the list and identify one thing that happened today that made you feel mad. Now one thing that made you feel sad. Etc. Why am I asking you to look at the "bad" feelings along with the glad feelings? Because numbing one feeling numbs all feelings. So when you allow yourself to feel the full range of your emotions, you amp up your ability to feel happiness.
With either of these reflective techniques, you'll notice patterns over time and when those patterns are identified, you can determine what changes, if any, you want to make in your life.
Now that you've done some reflective work, it is time to start imagining what you want from your life. The key is to do vision techniques on a regular basis. Both of these techniques can done in just a few minutes every day.
• Write as if it has already happened. Pick an area of your life that you'd like to improve and sit down and write a page in a journal about what life would be like when things are how you want them to be. Here's the catch: write about it as if it is already happening. Just aim to write one page, if you write more, great! You'll know you've gotten into the groove when you feel that warm, fluttery, excited feeling of anticipation. Don't worry, coming back to reality after that doesn't have to be painful. Just ask yourself: how would it feel to live my vision? how can I get some of that feeling today? Then, take some sort of action, no matter how small, that takes you in the direction of your vision or gets you that feeling.
• Create a map for your future. Local author and speaker Patti Dobrowolski has done amazing work with folks on creating visual maps to move them from their current reality to a desired new reality. She wrote a book about how to do it yourself called Drawing Solutions: How visual goal setting will change your life. She presents this work all around the world and provides free resources on her website to help you create your own maps. What I love about this process is that it is actually a combination of reflective and vision work AND it is creative.
There is so much more we could talk about when it comes to intention, but when you bookend your days with reflection and vision, it makes it easier to figure the rest of it out. You become so deeply connected with who you are and what you desire that you become more clear about what you want to accomplish in a day, you make different decisions and you look for the people who will support your vision rather than squash it.
And all of that can make you happier.
Do you want your own One Line A Day journal? You can win one by signing up for my newsletter and/or liking my Facebook page. So you have two chances to win! A winner will be drawn on 2/21/13!
Click HERE to go to Elise's Facebook page.