Reflect, Refresh, Reset

Cottage view at Turtle Bay Resort in North Shore Oahu

I’ve been off for 10 days, taking the time with my family to visit the North Shore of Oahu and the beautiful beaches of Waikiki. It’s the longest amount of time that I’ve taken vacation – ever. For the most part, I like to try to keep time off to a week at the most, but the combination of a birthday and a wedding gave us a unique opportunity to extend our normal vacation and take extra time for ourselves.

It’s really amazing what some time to clear your head can do for you. I haven’t just felt less stressed – I’ve actually felt like a completely different person. I feel myself smiling more, hear myself laughing more, and see others enjoying my company more. In fact, I said (on more than one occasion), I think that being in Hawaii actually made me a nicer person.

Now, of course, Hawaii did not actually make me nicer. What it did was give me an excuse to leave my normal responsibilities behind and allow me a chance to reflect on my priorities and rearrange them so that I could adjust anything that was out of sorts.

This is why its so important to make space for the lighter side of life. We can’t fit more into life without first making space for it, and taking time to clear away the unnecessary so that we can fit the puzzle pieces together much more easily. By resetting, we can reflect and reset.

New Year, New Theme

Night sky

The start of a new year presents a great opportunity to set new goals. Like starting a diet on a Monday instead of a Thursday, having an easy moment in time to act as a starting milestone makes it easier to track progress.

I’ve always felt a need to make big, hairy, audacious goals out of my New Year resolutions. And each year, I’ve always intended to do well, but never really fully achieved what I had set to.

Two years ago, I changed my thinking. Rather than have a checklist of to-do items for the year, I instead gave myself a theme to follow. Throughout the year, I’d set smaller, more achievable goals but my actions were all driven by the thinking behind my annual theme.

My first year, my theme was “no.” I told myself that I had to learn to say no — before that, I had always “defaulted to yes” and the stress was becoming too much. But using the word “no” pushed me into a negative place. Saying no didn’t make me feel good or better about what I was achieving in life. It made me feel like I had put a wall up and was closing myself from opportunities — and hurting my relationships.

Last year, my family decided to go with the word “light” as our theme. It served as a daily reminder that we had happy, full lives, and we would keep that way if we “lightened up.” We could live light by having fewer material things, by having a different approach to “heavy” topics, by losing weight; we lived in the light mentally, physically and emotionally.

This year, we’re continuing with a theme for the year. In 2018, our theme is “space.”

How do we apply “space” to our lives?

We leave space in our hearts, by keeping open to new people and relationships.

We leave space in our minds, allowing in new ideas and new ways of thinking.

We leave space for personal growth, with more time for myself and more time for the people in my life to have space from me.

We leave space between commitments and not filling our time to the brim.

We leave space in our homes by keeping our wallets more full, and spending less.

What is your theme for 2018?