Tag Archives: thought exercise

Selecting Mantras to Guide Key Areas of Your Life

I love mantras… And over the years, I’ve shared some fun ways for you to adopt your own. I’ve asked folks to share their favorites, created a 30-day challenge (with accompanying actions), and even pulled a few from a much-loved novel.

Sometimes I use mantras as motivation to keep going when I want to quit, other times they help me celebrate what I’ve already accomplished. It’s comforting, no matter what you use them for, to have a few words that you can pull out of your back pocket at a moment’s notice. Something concrete to focus your thoughts on when the abstract is causing your mind to spin and spiral.

Recently, I tried out a new way of identifying mantras for key areas of my life. I found the process to be a lot of fun and the mantras I came away with have become like little beacons of guiding light in these ever-stressful times.

Want to learn how I did it?

Step 1:

Make a list of 5-10 of your core motivations. These are the key areas of your life that are important to you. Think: Your career, partner, family, hobbies, earning more money, paying off debt, or traveling the world. 

Step 2: 

Identify your core values. 

Take a look at the list above. Write down every value from the list that resonates with you. Don’t put too much thought into it. If you think of a word not on the list that embodies one of your values, write that down too!

Step 3:

Now you’re going to create a column for each of the motivations you identified in Step 1. Then place each of the values you wrote copied down into the column that you think it best fits. For example, if you identified COMMUNITY as one of your core motivations, you might pull ACCEPTANCE, FUN, and LOYALTY from your values list and place it in this column. 

Step 4: 

Look at each column. What is the value that stands out the most to you in each of your lists? Go ahead and highlight or circle it. These will be the root words for each of your mantras. For the example above, you might highlight FUN because that is what you value most when seeking out community.  

Step 5: 

To create each of your mantras, you’ll want to add some sort of action to your root word. In other words, FUN can become —> Seek out fun people, experiences, and conversation. If you also identified having a HAPPY HOME as one of your core motivations and chose SIMPLICITY as your root word, you might write —> Make space for simplicity. These are now your Community Mantra and your Happy Home Mantra. 

Step 6: 

Find ways to display your new mantras where you’ll interact with them regularly. Here are two options I implemented after doing this exercise — 

  • Decorating an index card for each of my mantras and tucking them inside a drawer that I go in frequently. On some days I might just see the top card, but on other days I pick them up and flick through them as a way of grounding my day. 
  • Creating a Mantra Board in Asana. I use Asana as a project management tool for my work, but I created a board to “pin” my motivations. Under each motivation, I have the mantra I created, and then some inspiration pictures (like a vision board!). For instance, one of my motivations is TRAVEL (“Take the next adventure.”) so I added a picture to represent a Summer 2021 trip as well as a picture of somewhere on my bucket list. 

If you follow the steps, I’d love if you would share one of your mantras below! xoxo

P.S. How to wind down, and 15 date night ideas.

My Julie/Julia Theory

Have you ever read the book Julie and Julia: My Years of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell? Or seen the movie version starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep?

In it, the eponymous Julie embarks on a daring project. She vows to prepare ALL 524 recipes in Julia Childs’ landmark cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” She then sets up a blog to document her successes and failures along the way that becomes wildly popular as her audience becomes increasingly invested in the project.

It’s a great book (and a great movie!) and ever since reading it years ago…I’ve had this theory. My Julie/Julia Theory, if you will.

I believe EVERYONE has a Julie/Julia project inside of them. Some sort of challenge they could take on and be uniquely suited for. Some journey folks would follow and find fascinating.

What do you think? WHAT WOULD YOURS BE?

Would you snap a pic of every building on the historic register in your town? Knit 100 little projects? Read all the books on the Rory Gilmore reading list?

Kind of a fun thought exercise, huh? The possibilities are endless!

While your Julie/Julia challenge may never happen…figuring out what it would be is a fun way to help identify your passions, blog niche, or a hobby worth investing in. And, if nothing else, is a neat topic of conversation for a Friday afternoon! (Go ahead…go ask your friends/co-workers what they would do!!)

What would your Julie/Julia challenge be? Do you have any fun thought experiments or theories we could explore on this lovely afternoon? Spill the beans below! 

P.S. If you enjoyed this content and would like to support my sweet blog (thank you!)–click HERE.

The Broken Places

ernest hemingway quote - the broken places

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” -Ernest Hemingway

How you fill those spaces created by life’s hardships is up to you. Maybe you grow fiercer. Maybe you grow braver. Maybe you simply learn something new.

To me, believing I’ll grow strong in the broken places is what gives me the audacity to TRY. Try again, keep going, choose joy, fail gracefully, repeat and repeat and repeat.

Vulnerability is a measurement of courage, not weakness.

I choose to fill those spaces inside myself that Hemingway calls broken with pluck…a little bit of determination…memories, happiness…and the knowledge that the sun always rises again in the morning.

What about you? How do you fill in those spaces that the world breaks open? Chat in the comments!

The one small thing I do every day to put myself in a good mood…

Years ago, I found myself in a bit of a rut. No matter how hard I tried life wasn’t turning out the way I had hoped and the pressure to turn things around started to feel like a black cloud rather than a rainbow of possibility.

Then one day, something changed.

I decided I would spend my drive to work (at a job I never expected to have) looking for things that would make me smile. A sweet old labrador lumbering down the sidewalk. A pair of siblings running to their bus stop. Weird license plates. Light hitting a puddle just so.

In the span of my 15 minute commute I went from grumpy to great! I continued to practice this exercise every day and was dumb-founded at the difference it made. Suddenly I was “finding delight” in the present moment instead of worrying about the future or what my life should look like.

Now, I still make time to seek out things I delight in every day. Whether this means looking out for things that make me smile when I’m stuck in Miami traffic (I clocked that burger graffiti pictured above while waiting at an intersection) or reading an article just for fun or asking myself “What will bring me joy today?” and then doing THAT. Just taking a few minutes to shift my perspective to the present moment works wonders. It’s the easiest, and simplest, way I know to turn my mood around!

So, I’d love to know — What made you smile today? If you’re still struggling for an answer, take a look around RIGHT NOW and look for something to delight in. What do you see? Thanks for sharing!