We’re all chasing the dream – the wonderfully bright future we envision for ourselves. Some of us manage to maintain sanity throughout the journey. Others, like myself, get caught in a tailspin and wind up in a ditch. 2017 was a ditch year for me. And although scientifically proven to be impossible (yes, I did Google it), I did see the stars more clearly from the depths of the ditch of my personal darkness. In other words, I made one essential realization: in the process of chasing the dream, I became detached from my present self. My mind was off galavanting through my lovely fantasy future while I was stuck in my comparatively dissatisfactory present.

I have a feeling this may resonate with a few of you.

I propose that we make it our mission to be authentic and in harmony with ourselves this year. Make it our only goal; the rest will follow. To do that we need to be present in our lives. And for that, I have 8 tricks that have worked well for me!

Chill

We all have off days. In my experience, battling a bad mood to reach positivity and optimism achieves the opposite.

Most of the time, what I really need is to find some time in the day to be alone to just chill; let the mood wash over me like a wave and pass. And I invite you to do the same.

When you are more aware of your emotions, you are more present with yourself and more in tune with what brings you joy and what makes you tick. Ask yourself what the source of your negative emotions is.

Rather than fighting bad moods from one day to the next, eradicate the root of the problem. Over time, it begins to feel like you’re carving away all the problematic pieces to reveal a more harmonious and authentic you.
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Be Present

Kind of the goal here – definitely easier said than done.

Meditation really helps with this one. I never meditated, was averse to it and had no idea how to do it. I bought the Headspace app (taking advantage of their new year promo), and now I meditate every day. If you’re like me, try Headspace. If you have your own way…your expertise is welcome in the comments section. Seriously, this is as much of a guide for me as it is for you. I’m learning a lot about what works…as I write this fourth draft… So any tips are encouraged!

Orlova 8 Steps to Happiness. Wearing Vintage 80's Christian Dior Jacket.

Find Joy

Do something “just because” at least once a week.

Chasing our dreams, we tend to gravitate toward result-oriented activities, leaving purposeless hobbies behind. That’s what gets us in the tailspin.

As the chase keeps going year after year, hobbies keep dropping off like flies…Until we wake up one day, not knowing what year it is, and what it is we’re chasing, because our mind ran off into the future years ago, and no one has been keeping track of who we are. In terror, another chase begins…in some odd direction, not at all in tune with ourself.

Ground yourself.

Take time for yourself with your “pointless” hobbies.

Orlova 8 Steps to Happiness. Wearing Vintage 80's Christian Dior Jacket.

Reignite Your Creativity

While we’re on the subject of being present and bringing back activities we enjoy… Read Julia Cameron’s, The Artist’s Way. I’ve heard about it from friends. I was skeptical. I ignored it. Then, a new friend who appeared in my life at a perfect moment, just handed the book to me and my partner, Nikita. My skepticism went out the window.

Julia Cameron focuses on bringing out our inner child and killing off our inner critic. And she does it well.

If you’re reading this, and you’re interested in what I have to say…you have to pick up The Artist’s Way. I’m no expert; I’m just sharing my experience. Julia Cameron wrote a book on the freakin’ topic!

Orlova 8 Steps to Happiness. Wearing Vintage 80's Christian Dior Jacket.

Discover Something New

Change up your routine to engage your mind in day-to-day activities.

If you live in a city like Toronto, you can probably have your morning coffee at a different cafe every day of the year. I don’t propose you do that, but even trying a new coffee drink is already something (think cortado over latte ;))

Orlova 8 Steps to Happiness. Wearing Vintage 80's Christian Dior Jacket.

Get Physical

Find a physical activity you enjoy and commit.

A big part of being present is being present with your body.

Go and pump some blood through your veins; feel alive! (Why is it every time I read that line, I read it in Jerry Seinfeld’s voice?)

Orlova 8 Steps to Happiness. Wearing Vintage 80's Christian Dior Jacket.

Plan

None of the above would be present in my life if I didn’t plan it out. Having a planner helps me write out my envisioned future, break down the steps to it and forget about it.

I focus on the present, confident that I am heading in the right direction.

I have searched far and wide for the perfect planner (I even had a custom one made). Nothing has lasted the year except for the Passion Planner. I’m on my third one, and I couldn’t recommend it more. It is a paper life coach.

Orlova 8 Steps to Happiness. Wearing Vintage 80's Christian Dior Jacket.

Love Yourself

You’re unique, intelligent and worthy of a full and happy life!

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