During a New Year’s Eve dinner at Lindy Focus last year, my friend Cari asked everyone to share their New Year’s “intention” for 2017. Unsure of what to say and hoping to hear everyone else’s answer before giving my own, I finally shared my intention of “living more mindfully” in 2017. This vague answer sounded deep at the time, but I really only had a few practical ideas of how to implement it or to understand the impact an intention could have on my dancing.
I started with a daily meditation practice, but as the year progressed, I continued implementing additional daily practices that all increased my positive energy, emotional output, and physical performance. As you think through your New Year’s intentions, I wanted to share eight daily practices I implemented in 2017 that I know will give you the same positive output in your life and dancing as well.
Set a daily meditation practice, and you will see an increase in your emotional and mental health and physical performance. Meditation is the process of training your mind to become aware of your thoughts and emotions without being controlled by them. Daily meditation taught me how to identify and release tension in my body while dancing, to handle large amount of stress at work without getting anxious, and to quiet my mind at will to ensure a good night’s sleep. There are many meditation apps available, but I recommend the Headspace app because I find it effective, efficient, and easy to use.
2. Do Something Physical
Whether that means dancing, working out, yoga, walking your dog, 10 minutes of jumping jacks, a short ab routine – whatever – do something physical every day. Physical activity improves your mood, confidence, body composition, ability to sleep, and your ability to handle stress. On good days for me, this means personal and partner dance practices, a workout, hopefully some yoga, and play time with my dog Sherlock. On days of long hours at work or little sleep this means a 20-minute yoga video or 5-10 minutes of dancing. Either way, focus on keeping your body moving in 2018, and your whole Self will reap the benefits.
3. Eat Healthy Food
Make a daily practice of eating whole foods with little to no hormones or processed ingredients to keep you energized and ready to tackle each day. Food is the fuel that lets you pursue your passion and purpose in the life. I do not have time to feel lethargic, heavy, sick, or clogged up when I am on such a mission. There are many nutritional plans out there, so find what works for you and commit to it. If you’re new to healthy eating, then reducing sugar, gluten, and processed foods are good places to start; sticking to fruits, vegetables, high quality proteins and carbohydrates are other good steps as well.
4. Eliminate Time Sucks and Energy Drains
Don’t waste your time on people and or things that give you no return on your investment. Social media, toxic people, dramatic relationships, television, and web surfing can be incredible time sucks and emotional drains that have very little positive output in our lives. Every minute we give to negative energy is a minute we could be investing in our dancing, our goals, our fitness, our rest, our close relationships, or our personal development. I’ve been amazed this year at how much energy I have left to give to things I believe are important when I stop giving energy to things that aren’t. Your time is valuable—invest it wisely.
5. Set Boundaries
Say “no” to things that that drain, degrade, disrespect, or devalue your sense of self, your time, and/or your energy. Boundaries are personal lines we set around ourselves and our soul to keep out the “bad” and let in the “good.” No one will protect these things for you; they are your duty and responsibility to guard and stand up for.Like me, this may be a new emotional muscle for you, but it is vital to develop. As you set boundaries in your life, you will be empowered to devote yourself more fully to all the activities, people, and things you want to pursue in 2018.
6. Feed on Positive Energy
Focus on increasing the positive energy and development in your life. For me this means listening to daily podcasts, reading personal development books, being more consistent with spiritual practices, and cultivating deeper relationships with my close friends. This healthy “soul food” will give you a new energy flow that will change your outlook and increase your ability to love yourself on and off the dance floor.
7. Pursue Your Goals
Write your goals down and take at least one step towards them every single day. Do you want to dance better? Practice for five minutes – every day. Do you want to get out of debt? Save $5 – every single day. Even the smallest step is one step closer than where you were yesterday. Goals don’t accomplish themselves. They only happen when you take action…even if it’s baby steps. As you do, you will look back in December 2018 and be blown away by how far you’ve come.
8. Always Bring Shoes You Can Dance In
Basing this on personal experience here, no matter where you go, when you are going, or for how long…don’t leave home without them. ☺
Incorporating even just one of these daily practices will have a significant impact on your life and will increase your performance both on and off the dance floor. What are your New Year’s intentions? Do you have any daily practices that have significantly impacted your life? If so, post them in the comments!
PHOTO CREDITS: Bruno Nascimento, Mark Adriane, Leslie Juarez, and Jannis Brandt via Unsplash.com.