“In order to fly, you need something solid to take off from.” —P.L. Travers, author of Mary Poppins
Last week, Norman and I went out walking near Mount Bachelor where there was still about three feet of snow. The trail had been walked upon numerous times, but after a few weeks of warm weather and rain, the snow was far from solid which made for a very slow walk as I was frequently falling through partially, and sometimes completely to beyond my knee. While I was making this walk and Norman ran about freely on top of the snow (yes, snow shoes would have been helpful – maybe an investment for next year ;)), I quickly found my quads saying hello – the workout had commenced!
As I was walking back to the parking lot, I began to remember how walking on solid ground without snow would be far easier, as too would be recently groomed and compacted snow in wintery weather as it would be firm and fortified. All of this contemplation gave me pause and appreciation, and then I remembered the quote above that Emily Blunt shared in her interview during her press tour for the release of Mary Poppins Returns this past winter. Having a solid foundation makes a tremendous difference in how well we can leap, how high and/or far we can travel and how much energy we have to expend.
Imagine for a moment how you spend each day. Where do you expend your energy? Part of the reason I advocate regularly for routines is to conserve as much energy and decision making as I can. Similarly, how well we plan and protect our priorities enables us to have the necessary energy to do what we enjoy and what is required as well as possible.
The foundations of our lives hold many forms, all of which benefit from being examined from time to time to ensure we aren’t “falling through the snow” when we could be easily striding on top of it or without it at all.
Below is a list of foundations to examine in your life. Consider how they contribute or impede your progress toward your goals, dreams and the quality of life you want to enjoy each day. When we become more conscious of what the unnecessary drains are on our energy, we can be productive in our adjustments and more quickly than we might expect, see vast improvements.
1.Start with you — mind and body
- The strength of your mind
- Are you able to stay present?
- Is your self-talk a friend?
- Regular quality sleep
- Healthy and enjoyable eating regimen
- Well-rounded exercise regimen – aerobic, strength and flexibility
- Spiritual/philosophical outlook that is healthy, helpful and open-minded enabling you to reach your full potential
2. Social structure
- Do you respond rather than react to unwanted or unexpected news and events?
- Are you engaged in your relationships (friendships/romantic/family/work/community) in a way that allows you to remain whole?
- Are you maintaining some privacy, to a degree that provides comfort?
- Are you encouraging yourself to be vulnerable (allowing people to get to know you), to a degree that makes you feel comfortable?
- Do you express gratitude sincerely and freely?
- Do you have clear boundaries?
- post/episode to read/listen to – The Elements of a Strong Social Well-Being
- Are you living within your means?
- Are you saving something for the future?
- Do you have a reasonable plan for reaching your financial goals that allows you to still enjoy the everyday?
- Have you let go of trying to keep up with the “perfect lives” you follow on social media? In other words, can you window shop, applaud and appreciate without competing, envying and “trying to keep up”?
4. Stimulating growth
- Do you introduce new or intriguing information, ideas, skills, destinations, etc. to your mind regularly?
- Do you give your mind and body time to just wander and be?
- What do you share with the world (via your expertise, talents, etc.) – immediately or generally?
- What do you give without expecting something in return?
- How well do you listen?
- Do you engage with the world in your own way that enables you to sleep well at night?
- Do you spend time in nature?
- Do you make time to enjoy your own company and revel in it?
Each of us is responsible for building our own strong foundation. Often we will be a part of others’ strong foundation and others will be a part of ours, but each foundation does not create itself magically. If we are fortunate as children, our parents and immediate family provided the foundation we needed to grow, sleep and eat well, but as we become adults, we begin to choose what to hold on to, what to let go, what to seek out and what to strengthen or tweak as we build our own foundation.
The foundation of our life is much like a house – if built well, it can be tremendously powerful as we try new things, venture to far and different destinations and inquire about new paths and identities until we figure out what truly works well for us. Knowing when we leap, the ground will not waiver, we have more confidence, and that confidence can take us much farther than a timid shuffle.
Today, consider what is the relationship between the actions you are taking and the foundation you need to live the life you love. Are there bad habits that are slowly chipping away at what you value and deem necessary to live well, or are you regularly maintaining, investing as necessary and thoughtfully thinking about how your actions contribute to the life you are building and enjoying so that you can enjoy it for years and decades to come? Whatever your answers may be, the good news is that we have the opportunity to reform our foundation when and where we see a need, without needing to take out a home improvement loan. 😉 Happy building!