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Healthy Minds Healthy College

Live Life Your Way by Mario De Negri

March 3, 2014

Light-Bulb-StairsWhen I went to university I had a difficult time making the transition.  During my first year, I reached the half-way point and I still hadn’t found that feeling of being “in stride” with it. I understood the routine of getting up for classes and making sure I caught my bus at the same time every day.  I also felt the stress of the workload piling up on me and I barely had any free moments to relax and not think – to be young and having fun.

I thought my January resolutions would’ve held out … but who was I kidding. I knew it would be the same pattern as before, and just thinking that way had already set me up for failure. I knew that if I was to succeed with what I wanted out of life I had to really take a good look at myself, really see who I was and face some of the unwanted answers to the question “Who am I?”. I would have to make some tough decisions, and change the way I live by recognizing my personal patterns (both good and bad).

Here are some tips that helped me back then and continue to help make my life one that I design for myself and not something that others have programmed for me.

1)     Just Do It

One thing that stops most of us is our inability to just do something, anything. What should I do? How should I do it?  Just the momentum of movement will lead us to answers we seek as long as we remain detached to the outcomes and remain focused on ourselves. Energy creates energy. Fears will be there and barriers will come but by taking a simple step towards what you want you will bring yourself closer to that bliss we all chase.  This one step will also create emotions within ourselves which, when they are in line with our true path, will lift us up and carry us further down the path of our dreams. However if you deal with any type of anxiety this can seem like a huge deal. It’s easier said than done. Work on being gentle with yourself and working on non-judgment. If you can find yourself at a point where you can forgive yourself for doing nothing you are on the right track to getting into doing something. There is no race in life. You are on your own timeline which can give you that sense of freedom and relieve some of the pressures on ourselves. 

stairs light path

2)     Step by Step

Try to picture a set of stairs and imagine your goal is to sit at the top. In order to get there you first need to take one step. Don’t even think about how many steps there are, just focus on getting your two feet on that first step. Then move one to the next one. Jumping from the bottom of the stairs to the top seems impossible and in most cases it is. So coming from a place of awareness you can see that it is not the top you are after but the next step. Do not overwhelm yourself because all small things lead to great things. Just do what needs to be done to bring you closer to the top and keep that routine going as it will become “normal” living just as all we’ve done to this point has become “normal” living.

3)     Redefine Normal

Normal is what normal does. It’s crazy to think that I might be abnormal, but really what does that all mean? All of my life people have told me what normal is, how to behave normally. For example, that being single right now in my life is not normal, and that if I don’t follow the pack I’ll get left behind. This is all a state of conditioning that people have passed down over the years based on a sense of belonging for fear of being alone as well as learnt benefits. Yes we need to learn from those who have come before us as they have learnt lessons that now we need not repeat.  However, you are your own person and are allowed to follow your own light. Do not let others judgments, especially your own, steer you away from the true you, the one you seek.  Being a world traveling artist, this was one of the hardest and still life-redefining tips that I keep in mind.  Normal for me is not always normal for another – but I’ll still be just fine.

4)     Get Involved

Get into things. Do things that you are passionate about. Join clubs, groups, forums, sites – do whatever you can to start creating a new “normal” in your world.  If you do this, instead of finding one or two messages in your inbox that you would delete anyways, you’ll now have an inbox filled with a variety of different activities that you want to be involved in. Don’t worry about keeping up with everything because you never can. There is way too much information to process, but the whatever you do process will grow and be added to your database. This could include getting into a new genre of music, learning to play a new instrument or getting into a more active and living a healthier lifestyle.

5)     Buddy System

Surround yourself with people who are also following a similar path you wish to be on. There are so many people in the world and being such social creatures we thrive in environments where there are others who have a common goal. Talk to someone in your class (or your workplace) who is involved in something you want to get into. Find someone to workout with because it can be very difficult to start a new life pattern on your own. I know for me I won’t work out alone so I have done everything to paying trainers, joining classes and teams as well as always having a gym partner. People often say “why would I hire a trainer if I’m one myself?”. My ego gets a bit rocked with that question but I always remember I am human first and not defined by what I do with my life as those change over time. I know my strengths are being that person to help others get what they want in life, but my weakness is not being able to do it for myself. Nothing wrong with that, I just learnt to work with it by finding other options. Now I’ve strengthened those weaknesses while still getting what I want out of my life.

The truth that I’ve found at this point is that there is no clear way. No one way for all to be well. We all need to find it within ourselves to figure out what we need. It looks different in so many different situations. Being aware of how our present actions are affecting our future self is such an important tool to learn but it comes at the cost of objectively looking at ourselves through real eyes and this will expose some things we might not want to accept about ourselves or believe they are there. Learning to see these as just a part of living and being nonjudgmental on ourselves will help carry us towards greater things. Our ego is fragile and will try to gain control at all costs. Let it go and accept the world as it is and there is where you will find yourself free to be whomever you choose.