The power of thanking your past self. Small, but grand ways to bring more intention & ease into your life, with a little upfront effort now!
You may have seen me write on my social, in stories that I thank my past self for certain things. I actually thank myself out loud too, I acknowledge that shit, even if it seems weird. It's like giving myself a mental (or in some cases a physical) high 5. Even my husband has said it a couple of times lately too.
Each time I acknowledge past me for the effort to do something for future me, it gives me more motivation to keep doing it. The early (current) effort pays off, especially for moments when you have less time or are unwell.
It doesn't matter what phase of life you are in right now, you just start where you are, it is NEVER too late to start!
“Effort is between you and you.”
There are infinite ways that you can do things now as present you, that future you will appreciate & love you for.
One of the main areas I do this around in food prep (as seen on my social media). It makes my weeks, especially the beginning of the week A LOT smoother, because there are less decisions to be made and less time on preparing 3 meals a day (if that’s how you eat or if you are fortunate enough to have the resources to that too).
I find that if I get to Sunday night & I haven’t been able to do food prep for at least Monday & Tuesday, I feel slightly on edge & like I’m starting the week with excess decision making already.
So how do you know where to start?
Have a look at your current habits & lifestyle & think about what would best serve you & save you time/money/inner peace?
Just to give you some examples, here are other ways that I put the effort in now & in the past, for current & future Ashlynn. You’ll notice that there is a range of small habits to bigger life things. Don’t underestimate the power of small consistent shifts & changes.
I do a range of different exercise practices outside of the yoga classes that I teach. Yoga is amazing, but I love variety & want to build a strong body for life, not just now in my youth (36 is still my youth, I want to live to at least 100!). Do I always feel like it, nope! But, 95% of the time I do it anyway. I know that I will age better & have a longer healthier life as I maintain a healthy relationship with movement & exercise.
I eat really well 90+% of the time. For me this is minimising processed & packaged food & making as many of my meals at home as possible.
I weaned myself of excess sugar. I had a strong sweet tooth, which isn't hard because we are wired to want the calories from sugar as part of our evolution as wild animals, that didn't know when the next opportunity to eat was coming. Now my tolerance is quite low, I'll get a sore through if I have too much sugar.
I prepare my morning water & tinctures that go in it the night before. All I have to do is boil the kettle in the morning to add to it. This is actually how I started the habit of drinking water in the morning, by getting it ready the night before.
I don’t drink coffee that often. TBH I was a little late to the coffee party, but I see that as a blessing. It gives me the jitters if I drink it at the wrong time & wrong state of mind/being. It would be very easy to be a daily coffee drinker but I keep it in check because I know my nervous system can't handle a lot of caffeine.
I always take a drink bottle with me wherever I go. HYDRATE friends, it will help with life!
I make a meal plan for the week. It doesn’t matter if I stick to it or not, but I still do it. It helps to decrease the decision making needed each day.
I make big batches of food - cook once, eat twice (or more). This also helps for times when I take a meal to my Nan’s, preparing my treats for workshops & events or friends coming over.
Outside of the Sunday food prep session & general dinner meal plan, I try to organise or plan my meals for the next day.
I clean as I go, especially in the kitchen, but all around the house too. If it only takes 60 seconds or less to do then I just do it, I heard this from Gretchen Ruben. It all adds up to maintaining some degree of tidiness. If I say I'll do it later, I really won't!
I clean the kitchen before I get into bed. A messy kitchen in the morning a pet peeve. It feels like a huge energetic slap in the face when you wake up to a messy kitchen. Do I want to do it? No, not really but the satisfaction & clear energy motivates me & it’s one less thing to do/distraction in the morning before I start my day.
Tend to my garden & yard. Sometimes I let it go, but come back to it. Weeding regularly pays off for the times when I have let it go. Then when I do jump back it isn’t too bad. because I past Ashlynn had been consistent.
I try to go grocery shopping for 2 weeks at a time, so I spend less time going there, & it's peopley.
I only drink alcohol when I actually feel like it. It took a little effort to get out of the ‘drinking to numb stress’ habit especially at the end of a draining work week at school, but it was well worth it. I have a much healthier relationship with it now, not that it was necessarily a problem, I just didn't want it to become a problem & it was undoing all the other positive things I was trying to do for myself.
Stay on top of the washing so it doesn’t build up.
I prepare my vitamins in a weekly vitamin container. So much less stuffing around with the different containers everyday, once a week is so much more efficient.
I plan my outfits the night before, again less thinking in the morning.
I’ve started taking better & smarter notes in the book that I read. As well as applying the things that I learn so that they integrate & I understand them better. Otherwise it just turns into just another 'shelf help' book.
I have hard conversations. They can feel awkward AF, but totally necessary & always better off for having them.
I have cold showers & do things that push me out of my comfort zone. I know there are a lot of health benefits to it, but the challenge for my mindset is the main one. Pushing myself through the ‘flinch point’.
I stopped frivolous spending by not going to the shops (plaza). It was the thing to do & we did for a time, but then we decided to save our money for travelling (a much better life investment for us).
We stopped going to the movies as much, for the same reason as above. The benefit of that has been saving our money, but also only seeing the movies that actually are worth it. I want my mind to be blown or wow'd.
In the last year I have stopped going Op shopping too. I actually have the lockdown to thank for that! I loved the thrill of the find, but I was still wasting money & getting overwhelmed with all the stuff I was collecting. Letting go of this has felt liberating.
I don’t watch the news or follow any news media. There has been a huge improvement in my outlook on life since I stopped watching all the doom & gloom. I find out the things I really need to know anyways.
I don’t follow gossip magazines or celebrity stuff. That was a great way to feel inadequate. Letting go of that gossip/celebrity culture was liberating.
I set up direct debits for our bills. Set & forget! I did this about 8 years ago to help with managing our money but the reward in the effort to set it up was not having to think about regular bills too much after that.
I’m always learning & being curious & open minded. Learning can be hard, but the benefits outweigh the discomfort of feeling silly/unintelligent/ignorant.
I invest in myself, Personal Development; mind, body & spirit. I didn't used to, but this has been game changing for me. It can be super uncomfortable to get into the nitty gritty of who you are, why you do the things you do & the beliefs & stories that you have around life. Sometimes this looks like reading books, taking courses or investing in a coaches. Things that I have 'worked on' are range from money mindset, emotional intelligence, relationships, business, health, wellness my beliefs & perception of the world . I would argue that travel is an investment in experience & memories & being open minded. Investing in yourself in any way is NEVER wasted!
I thank past Ashlynn for having the guts to leave my teaching career. No regrets! She dreamt of a happier life & is going for it every day
I am incredibly grateful to past Ashlynn for becoming a High School Art Teacher in the first place. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, university & the job itself. (It turns out I had some limiting beliefs around my ability to learn & intelligence). I learnt a lot about myself & up leveled my self awareness, gained skills that are transferable to everything, developed boundaries what I will & won't tolerate, it generally opened the world up to me in ways I would never have expected.
For taking time to cultivate my health & wellness to new levels & standards of living that are in alignment for me.
Managing stress! I learnt the hard way after burning out in my teaching days. Rather than pushing through things as I used to, I take the time I need to rest & heal. This is the missing link for most of us & a life skill that isn't taught. This is a big theme of the work that I do too.
Also for following the breadcrumbs of life. This is a magnificent & wild ride & I love all of it, even the tough shit!
I surprised myself with all of these things that I do. I wasn’t sure that I could think of many, but I did & I bet you could too!
There were a few themes that I noticed within all of this; mindless consuming, finding more ease & peace within, letting go & expanding...deeper connection to life & joy.
My point though is that, it doesn’t have to be a lot of things all at once either. These are all things that have occurred over the past decade or more. Take your time and allow these choices to become a lifestyle.
“Remember that the most difficult tasks are consummated, not by a single explosive burst of energy or effort, but by the constant daily application of the best you have within you.”
& another gem;
“If a warrior is to succeed at anything, the success must come gently, with a great deal of effort but with no stress or obsession.”
I love this distinction "with no stress or obsession". Allow yourself to stuff it up, resist trying to be perfect & 'get it right'. Sometimes we can turn a positive behaviour or or mindset into kryptonite when it starts to become obsessive stressful.
I’m far from perfect & that’s not a word that I ascribe to anyways. There are also many other things that I would like to thank myself for in the future.
Tax, not fun. But, if I commit to doing it once a month it will be a lot easier come tax time.
I try to buy gifts early if I can. The stress of last minute gift buying is yuck.
I want to thank past me for finally doing my photo wall in the living room! it is dragging on a few years now!
Purging the excess material possessions that I have. Too much visible & physical clutter makes me feel uneasy.
Be more consistent with my gardening. I really want to be able to grow some of my own food. Not just to save money, but as a life skill too.
To thank past me for putting the time into learning a language. Its a bucket list thing for me & so good for the brain.
For communicating more effectively, to improve relationships & continue to develop my emotional awareness & articulation. This will be a lifetime kind of adventure.
For letting go of more limiting beliefs. Yep, shock horror, I’m radically human too!
Sharing with the Awaken community more, & letting go of fear of judgement.
& much more.....
What do you want to thank past you for doing now? Share in the comments below.
Think of things that give you time back or make you feel good & contribute to your overall Health & Wellbeing.
Once you identify a change you want to make that you know future you will love you for, put some small steps in place to create the shift. Things don't change, if they don't change!
If your not sure how to make the desired changes, then seek support. Ask someone close to you that you know will help, or better yet invest in yourself & get a coach. Having some skin in the game can be a great motivator & increase the speed of your progress. And coaches can see different options or deeper beliefs beneath the surface that aren't clear to you, because you're 'in it'.
This change work is what I LOVE to help people with & I would love to help you too! Reach out for a chat or check my Coaching services. Or just let me know how this blog may have helped you.
Keep fighting the good fight.
Big love xxx