Finding Purpose

No one particularly enjoys Mondays, but apparently, today is the worst of them all. The 3rd Monday in January is known as ‘Blue Monday’ – the most depressing day of the year. It turns out that this concept was actually researched and created by a travel company a few years ago in an attempt to sell more holidays in January, but still, it is a time when people can feel most down. A mix of the post-Christmas blues, rubbish weather, having to go back to work and what feels like a lifetime waiting for payday all help drive the mood down to rock bottom. But you can at least take comfort in the thought that if today is the worst day, then tomorrow can only be better.

Remember, you are in control. You can choose to notice the things in life which you are thankful for, instead of focussing too much on what you don’t have. Often, that empty feeling can stem from a perceived lack purpose, or a desire to do more with your time. To give back. If you’re feeling a little directionless – you want to do something, but can’t quite figure it out – then ask yourself the following question:

If you were given a vast sum of money, and you had to spend it on improving the world in some way, what would you choose to spend it on?

What’s your first thought after reading that? It might be that one thing jumps out at you straight away. Some people are already very clear on the cause closest to their heart, but it took me a little while to really think what my answer would be.

I’d never really thought of purpose in this way before. I’ve been happy enough obsessively following one interest for a while, before switching over to something else and repeating, but never getting down to that deeper level. I haven’t been one for a grand plan and have instead chosen to focus more on the here and now, following whatever takes my fancy at the time. As I get older, I want to find a larger purpose – something in the world that really drives me to change and be the best version of myself that I can be.

So if, like me, you find yourself thinking about what to do, and which direction to take then maybe you should ask yourself this question. The answer you come to might surprise you, but once you have it you can start taking steps in the right direction. Very few people get to change the world, but we can all make a difference in our own small way, and you never know where the path may lead.

Morning Routine

When I’ve studied the habits of the people I look up to, there are a few things that seem come up time and time again. One such thing is a productive morning routine. If you’re anything like me then your current morning routine consists of setting your alarm for as late as you can get away with, snoozing it a couple of times, then rushing through your essentials in some sort of mad dash to get to work on time. As I’m sure you’ll agree this isn’t exactly the stuff of champions.

On those rare occasions where I do get up on time, and fit in some exercise or writing it sets me up for a more content and engaging day. By fitting in some ‘me time’ at the start of the day for things like writing and meditation it means I’m not trying to cram it all in to the evening when I get home from work.

It often feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done that we want to. I don’t have time for a 90 min morning routine!! – but it comes down to making conscious choices about what is most important to you, and then making sure you stick to it. So, it’s not a new years resolution as such, more a tweaking of current habits which should set me up for much more fulfilling days.

Finally, any productive morning routine starts the night before. Making sure you have a good night’s sleep is essential for wellbeing, so going to sleep earlier is part of this new deal. No more falling asleep with the TV on, or checking something on the phone. I’m going to have my book on the bedside only.

So for the last few weeks I’ve been trying to stick to my new routine- slightly different for weekdays and weekends. The first thing I do is 35-50 pushups, not a major work out but enough to get the blood pumping and it wakes me up. I’ve started exploring yoga, and have learned a couple of basic routines. I’ll alternate between that and meditating, as I find they both have a similar effect on me. After that I’ll do some writing, whether that be for the blog, some journaling/ idea logging or some creative writing. Once I’ve done that then I do the essentials – looking after the dog, and getting ready to leave the house looking at least semi presentable. Ideally I’ve left enough time to sit down and have some breakfast, otherwise I take it to work and eat at my desk.

On the whole I’ve managed to keep it up, though there have been a few days (mainly Mondays) when I have really struggled to get out of bed. I’ve never been a morning person (sounds better than bloody lazy!) but I’m determined to force myself to keep it up.

Weekdays

  • Push ups (2 mins)
  • Yoga or meditation (10-15 mins)
  • Writing (15-20 mins)
  • Feed & let the dog out (10 mins)
  • Make lunch (10 mins)
  • Eat breakfast (10 mins)
  • Get ready for work (20 mins)

Weekends

  • Push ups (2 mins)
  • Yoga (10 mins)
  • Meditation (10 mins)
  • Feed & let the dog out (10 mins)
  • Writing (30-45 mins)