CREATING YOUR OWN
REVOLUTIONARY LIFE IN 2013 By Alicia Curtis
WANT TO LIVE YOUR MOST REVOLUTIONARY LIFE? The world needs Revolutionaries to challenge the way we live and ensure a better future. The world needs you! Revolutionary living is about aspiring to be a better human being. It’s about living in alignment with your values, strengths and goals. Having the courage to move away from the external influences of the media, societal trends and other’s needs, wants and pressures, to live a life for the benefit of humanity. Revolutionary living is about making a contribution to the wider community, however small. It’s about being a global citizen and acknowledging your responsibility to contribute to our world. This guide will help you plan your most revolutionary year yet - have fun with it. Viva la revolution, Alicia www.revolutionarylives.com
â€œWhether we acknowledge it or not, we all have a choice to be either accomplices in the status quo or
We have a choice whether to succumb to the cultural trance, eat fast food, and race by each other in the night, or to build lives of caring, substance and healing. So much depends on that choice.â€? John Robbins, Author of Healthy at 100
Designing your Revolutionary Life 12 activities to design and create your revolutionary life!
Ignite your relationships
Wellbeing is wealth
Identify your highest self
Willpower to act
Daily rituals for daily success
10. Community contributions
11. Life adventures
Practice your strengths
12. Manifesto making
1. Practice Gratitude
“Gratitude is not only an emotion, felt when receiving a benefit gladly, but it is also a stance toward life.” Robert Emmons, Author of Thanks
Gratitude is a stance toward life! I want my gratitude for life to colour my whole existence! Gratitude has even been scientifically proven to make you happier! Abraham Maslow recognised that “Self-actualizing people have the wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder and even ecstasy, however stale these experiences may have become to others.” When you have this disposition, you see opportunities, develop meaningful connections with others and discover what is truly possible. Revolutionaries look for what’s good in their life and this drowns out society’s feelings of entitlement, depression and scarcity. Instead, gratitude encourages moral behaviour like helping others. Change your mindset this year to focus on what you can be grateful for! Appreciate! Appreciate! Appreciate!
1. ACTION Practice Gratitude
What were you grateful for in 2012? What were your favourite times and achievements during 2012? What are you looking forward to in 2013? Who has impacted your life? And when was the last time you told them? How often to write or express what you are grateful for?
ACTIVITY: Start a gratitude journal in 2013 and track all the wonderful things you have to be grateful for this year. You can do it daily or weekly. It can be really small things in your day to big achievements. You could also ponder on different aspects of your life - who are you most grateful to have met? What do I have to be grateful for living in Australia? What experiences am I grateful for experiencing this month? Martin Seligman recommends a similar activity where you ask yourself “What went well day and why?” which is a wonderful way to reflect on your day before going to bed! Write a gratitude letter to someone who has influenced your life and if possible, meet with that person to read out your letter to them personally. This activity is recommended in Sonja Lyubomirsky’s The How of Happiness. She notes to describe in detail what they did for you and how often you remember their efforts.
READ: Annual Gratitude Activity Soaking up the Solitude
Gratitude helps you see the world in all it’s wonder, beauty and mystery. There is much to be grateful for when you seek it.
2. Challenge Success
“Fame or integrity: which is more important? Money or happiness: which is more valuable? If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never truly be fulfilled. If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” Lao-‐tzu, The Tao te Ching
Where do you look for success and happiness? Do you look for it in material possessions, money, fame or in others? Edward Deci in Why We Do What We Do shares that focusing on intrinsic aspirations like personal growth, family and community contributions makes us healthier, happier and more content. Are you looking for success inside or outside of yourself? Make this the year where you seek love, approval and appreciation from your own personal satisfaction. Connect with what truly matters in life and let that guide the way!
2. ACTION Challenge Success
What does success mean to you? Where do you seek success? Are your definitions of success or your goals focused on extrinsic or intrinsic values?
ACTIVITY: When we truly challenge what success means, it can open us up to focus on the important issues of life. The world needs Revolutionaries who focus on more than wealth, fame, material possessions and skin-deep beauty. We need Revolutionaries who role model a deeper sense of what’s important. Firstly assess your own goals, are you predominately focused on extrinsic goals that keep you depressed, anxious and feeling like it’s never enough? The best way to change focus is to think about the question “How can I use my greatest gifts in greatest service to the world?.” In Marc and Craig Kielburger’s book Me to We they suggest with every decision or personal goal ask yourself “How will this choice affect me and my family? What impact will it have on the community and the world? How will it affect future generations?.” This is a powerful methodology for assessing what’s good to strive for!
READ: How you can have your most revolutionary year yet Living Life according to your values Making the World a Happier Place
3. Connect with your highest self
“The highest goal is simply to be in this experience of connection or truth all the time. That remains a goal, of course, because this is something you spend a lifetime working towards rather than attaining. But your commitment motivates, inspires and guides your journey, and gives you more and more time in this state of connection” Michael Ray, Author of The Highest Goal Instead of focusing your goal-setting on what you want to do or have, reflect on the person you want to be in 2013. What qualities do you want to be known for? Now imagine yourself living those qualities and being driven everyday by your values, being disciplined in all your good habits, happy, grateful and giving your strengths in service to the world every day. Imagine this person...this is your highest self. What’s just one thing you can practice in the new year that moves you closer to your highest self? Go one step further and encourage others to live their highest selves too. Encourage good habits, practice intrinsic values, be grateful and encourage others to share their talents.
3. ACTION Connect with your highest self
What does your highest self look like? Really clarify this for yourself. What’s one thing you can practice in the new year to move you closer to your highest self?
ACTIVITY: Ok, so you’ve challenged your notion of what success really in the previous point. This is important because this will be your biggest obstacle to living your highest self because we are so conditioned to go for the fame, fortune, status and material wealth that it clouds the true vision of who we can be. Take time to unplug and move away from the craziness of the world often and connect into your true values, strengths and goals. Then work on how you can put them into action every single day. Sonja Lyubomirsky in The How of Happiness describes an activity called the Best Selves Diary. Give yourself 30 minutes to imagine your ideal life in 1, 5 or 10 years time. This activity is about visualising your life if it turned out exactly the way you wanted your ideal life. This activity has been shown to enhance wellbeing and optimism. It’s also another way to tap into your highest self!
READ: Are you living the highest version of you? Giving up being Busy Time for Deep Thought
The Revolutionary in you is not discovered. It’s created through your everyday actions and through your courage to share your talents with the world.
4. Daily rituals for daily success
“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” John C. Maxwell Think of one ritual that you could practice daily that would improve your life. It could be exercise, kindness, meditation, gratitude, journalling or drinking more water every day. Make it fun to pursue your daily ritual - put a calendar on the fridge that follows your commitment, get a friend involved, blog about it - anything that keeps you committed to your daily ritual for success. If you get to February and you’ve dropped your ritual already - start again! Recommit every month! Everyone fails, revolutionaries recommit to their highest goals and rituals again and again and again.
4. ACTION Daily rituals for daily success
JOURNAL: What daily ritual can you practice that would impact your life the most? How can you make your daily rituals fun to pursue? What daily rituals could you practice that would contribute to achieving an important goal for yourself?
ACTIVITY: Let’s ritualise our ideal life. For many people, mornings can be the most powerful time in the day as our self control is at it’s highest. With that in mind, what activities could you include in a morning ritual? Instead of hitting the snooze button, racing out the house without breakfast and grabbing a coffee before work, what could be the most empowered way that you spend your mornings? But don’t just leave it to the mornings, what lunch-time rituals could you set up? What about an evening ritual? This is your ideal life - fill it with activities that bring you joy and happiness.
READ: My Split with Social Media Life’s too short not to have a good day 20 Unconventional Work Ideas Wake up -‐ Are your habits holding you back?
5. Inspirational me
“To be nobody but yourself - in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else - means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” E.E Cummings
What inspires and energizes you? For me, it’s getting up early and working on my creative projects. It’s enjoying different forms of exercise like an early morning walk, dancing or yoga. It’s having a clutter free office filled with books, photos and creative materials. What can you do regularly to fill your inspiration reserves? The famous author, Zig Ziglar once said “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing that’s why we recommend it daily”. Think about what you allow into your mind, whether it’s the news broadcast every day both in the morning and at night, radio programs that cater for the lowest common denominator or even a work colleague that complains all the time. Replace a negative influence like checking your phone first thing in the morning with an inspirational influence like playing your favourite piece of music, listening to a TED video or reading a book. Think of activities and influences to build your energies not sap them.
JOURNAL: What really and truly inspires you? When was the last time you felt buzzed!? What were you doing? What negative influences could you replace in your everyday life?
5. ACTION Inspirational me
ACTIVITY: Sonja Lyubomirsky in The How of Happiness shares a number of activities to live in the present moment and savor life’s joys. Here are a couple activities to practice: Enjoy the Mundane: Think of ways that you can relish everyday activities such as eating, cleaning, washing or driving home after work. For example, you could set up candles on the dinner table as you eat your meal, think of 5 things you are grateful for when you are brushing your teeth, buy yourself a nice soap to use in the shower or listen to a podcast on the way home from work! Relive happy memories: Remind yourself of a happy time, memory or event that happened in your life. Gather photos or souvenirs that will help you remember it and spend some time reminiscing about it. See the beauty and excellence around you: Take a moment to acknowledge the beauty or display of talent, genius or virtue. Luxuriate in the sight, smell, sound, taste or touch of these things.
READ: When you don’t even have the motivation to get motivated To write or not to write, that is the question! Why my dog is my Happiness Guru
Living an inspired life starts with small inspired acts everyday. What’s yours?
6. Practice your Strengths
â€œA great deal of talent is lost to the world for the want of a little courage.â€? Sydney Â Smith Will 2013 be the year where you find the courage to share your strengths with the world? Make it a year where you identify and regularly practice and utilise your strengths. A key part of living your highest self is using your strengths every day. How can you practice your strengths deeply and deliberately? As mentioned in books such as The Talent Code and Talent is Overrated, we need to deeply and deliberately practice our strengths by finding mentors, moving out of our comfort zones and focusing on the smallest improvements. Practicing your strengths makes you feel strong and happy! Martin Seligman has proven that those who practice their strengths regularly have greater wellbeing and life satisfaction. So you win as well as the world by putting your strengths into action! Make 2013 the year of deep and deliberate practice of your strengths.
6. ACTION Practice your Strengths
Can you acknowledge your own strengths quickly and easily? If not, you have some work to do, it’s time to give this serious thought and journalling! How do you utilise your strengths in everyday life? How can you develop mastery in your areas of strengths?
ACTIVITY: You can identify your strengths in a number of ways - personal assessment or through a strength assessment tool such as the Virtues in Action (VIA) Character Strengths test at the Authentic Happiness website. Once you’ve identified your strengths, Martin Seligman recommends the best thing to do is to create a new way of using your strength. Then reflect on the activity - how did you feel, was it engaging, challenging and did time pass quickly? We often think that we are not amazing and we have nothing to give to the world, but other people, wow, they are amazing. This feeling holds us back. Derek Sivers came up with a great video that you can watch on youtube which is an outtake from his book ‘Anything You Want’. The video reminds us what is obvious to you is often amazing to others. What are you holding back from sharing because it seems obvious to you? You may be denying the world from your unique perspective that could influence others for the better. Free your ideas and strengths and share them with the world!
READ: Best way to plan for 2013
7. Ignite your Relationships
“Self-actualizing people have a deep feeling of identification, sympathy, and affection for human beings in general. They feel kinship and connection, as if all people were members of a single family.” Abraham Maslow, Author of MoFvaFon and Personality
Take a moment think about the important people in your life. Who are they? How do you appreciate them? How can you go above and beyond this year to foster and ignite the relationships that are important to you? * What goals do your loved ones have in 2013? * How can you be more kind and loving? * When was the last time you told people who you appreciate what they mean to you? * How can you practice your listening skills? * How can you have more fun with your loved ones?
JOURNAL: Which relationships mean the most to you? How can you strengthen the relationships with loved ones and friends?
ACTIVITY: Here are a couple of inspiring activities to try with your family and friends:
7. ACTION Ignite your Relationships
Ritualise Time: Do you have a weekly or monthly ritual to spend time with friends or family. It could be cooking a meal for your grandparents once a month or spending the last Friday of the month seeing a movie with friends. Set up a time and activity to have fun with your loved ones. Watch What you Say: John Gottman, a well known marriage researcher, found that happy relationships can be easily spotted simply by the ratio of positive to negative affects being 5:1. How can you increase the positive exchanges between you and your partner or friends. Connect to the Disconnected: How you can reach out to someone either in your family, friends group or even the broader community? Unfortunately there are so many people that feel alone and isolated. How can we as Revolutionaries reach out to the disconnected and make them feel important? Work Relationships: How can you improve the relationships in your place of work? How can you role model good relationships with the people that you work with? Let’s get rid of bullying, ego-talk and unnecessary negativity and make our workplaces ones of encouragement, kindness and lifting people up to achieve their best!
READ: Sharing the World Peacefully -‐ We are all Human Revolution in Kindness
Propel and ignite your relationships with the spirit of kindness.
8. Wellbeing is wealth “The more we bring our individual lives into alignment with the whole of existence, the more we feel nourished and at peace.” Joshua Rosenthal, Author of IntegraFve NutriFon Wellbeing is much more than what you eat and your exercise, although they are key too! Yet it also encompasses your mental health, your friendships, relaxation, your hobbies and more. Dan Buettner, in The Blue Zone explored the habits of the longest living people around the world including the Okinawans in Japan, Sardinians in Italy and Nicoyans in Costa Rica. Interestingly they found nine characteristics that were similar to all these communities. These characteristics included moving naturally, relaxing, eating a plantbased diet, putting family first and belonging to a community. Many of these characteristics are centred around our wellbeing. What does that tell you? Think of wellbeing as a way to re-energise, rejunevate and replenish your body and soul. It’s compassion of the highest kind - self compassion!
8. ACTION Wellbeing is wealth
What does wellbeing mean to you? How can 2013 be the year where you become your healthiest self? What can you do to improve your wellbeing today?
ACTIVITY: With the Western world leading the need for mental health services as well as dying from obesity related diseases, as Revolutionaries it is vital, for our society as well as our own health, self discipline and productivity, to focus on prioritising our wellbeing. Brainstorm ways to integrate wellbeing practices into your life everyday: • Commit to incidental exercise - take the stairs, park away from the shopping centre (there’s always a park!), take the dog for a walk, walk with friends instead of going for a coffee. • Try a new recipe every week. Food blogs can be a wonderful inspiration. • Join a new group - meditation, dance, yoga, cooking • Treat yourself to a wellbeing retreat. • Set a challenge for yourself - participate in a 10K run. • Journal every night
READ: My Movement Philosophy My Food Philosophy Challenging your eating assumptions Walking Appointments My Meditation Metamorphosis
“People who have better control of their attention, emotions and
9. Willpower to act
actions are better off almost any way you look at it. They are happier and healthier. Their relationships are more satisfying and last longer. They make more money and go further in their careers. They are better able to manage stress, deal with conflict and overcome adversity. They even live longer. If we want to improve our lives, willpower is not a bad place to start.” Kelly McGonigal Do you control your habits or do your habits control you? Self control, discipline, willpower - whatever you call it, Revolutionaries need it. Anything worth achieving requires willpower and willpower is like a muscle in the body, we need to work to strengthen it. Kelly McGonigal in her book, The Willpower Instinct, notes a number of activities to strengthen your willpower such as meditation, slow breathing, exercise, self compassion, reducing the variability of our behaviour everyday and making a pre-commitment today. Are you ready to pre-commit today to the habits that will impact your life the most in 2013? Take away all other options and give ourselves only one option to succeed! Let 2013 be the year to develop our willpower and strive to be our highest selves.
JOURNAL: Could your willpower be better? What activities are most important to you to practice and require willpower? Are you willing to working on building your willpower?
9. ACTION Willpower to act
ACTIVITY: How do you develop the self discipline to achieve what you want in life? Kelly McGonigal in her book, The Willpower Instinct said the two best ways to build your willpower are: Meditation: “Neuroscientists have discovered that when you ask the brain to meditate, it gets better not just at meditating, but at a wide range of self control skills including attention, focus, stress management, impulse control and self awareness.” Kelly McGonigal goes on to say that even if you are ‘bad’ (meaning you’re always distracted) at meditation, it’s exactly what you need to be doing as it will help you in real life when your mind wanders from what you should be focusing on! Physical Exercise: “The willpower miracle is physical exercise. A 2010 analysis of ten different students found that the biggest mood-boosting, stress-busting effects came from five-minute doses of exercise, not hour-long sessions. There’s a lot of potential good in committing to just a five-minute walk around the block”. She also mentions the added benefit of green exercise where you get outdoors.
READ: Don’t get sucked into the sensationalism
Take oﬀ the masks of fear, ﬁtting in and impressing others and live life according to your own values.
10. Community Contributions
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. This is to have succeeded.” Ralph Waldo Emerson You have the power to create positive change in the world and the world needs you. We must all “rise above the narrow confines of our individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all of humanity’ as Martin Luthor King once said. Start small. What’s the number one thing you would like to see improved in your local community? Is it building a community garden, spending time with the elderly, sharing your knowledge with a young person or volunteering at the local animal refuge. Could you volunteer your professional skills to a community organisation? Devote time in 2013 to helping others.
10. ACTION Community Contributions
How can you serve your community? What’s a cause bigger than yourself that means something to you? Who can you get involved to help with you? Volunteering is a lot of fun with friends.
ACTIVITY: There are so many ways to serve your community, here are some ideas to get you started: Serve your family first: Commit to your family whether it’s caring for your partner, children, parents or grandparents. Maybe you could engage these people and do something in the community all together! Think Local: Share in a local community volunteering activity. There are many organisations that can link you with worthwhile causes. Do some research and choose something that appeals to your heart. Think Global: Once you get involved in a local activity, perhaps it’s part of a wider, global movement or organisation. Step up and join the state or national committee or attend the global conference. This will give you greater insight into the cause as well as meet other inspiring people.
READ: 10 Simple Ways to make a diﬀerence Being uncool and making a diﬀerence
11. Life Adventures “The basic story of the hero journey involves giving up where you are, going into the realm of adventure, coming to some kind of symbolically rendered realisation, and then returning to the field of normal life” Joseph Campbell, Author of Pathways to Bliss
What’s your hero’s journey for 2013? What adventure will take you out of your comfort zone, challenge you, then deliver you back to reality with a renewed sense of what life’s truly about? What adventure will stretch and challenge you in the new year? Maybe it’s learning a new skill, creating a goals group with your friends or exploring a new place (doesn’t even have to be far from your own house!). Life is an experiment - try new things! You only have one life - live it well!
11. ACTION Life Adventures
What personal adventures would you like to go on in 2013? What would stretch you out of your comfort zone this year?
ACTIVITY: Life adventures are not always about grand trips overseas or daring personal feats however they can be! Although how can you make even the mundane, normal and boring tasks that you have to do in life into great, mystical life adventures? What adventures can you have at your local park, in your kitchen or with a loved one? Could it be running 1500kms in 2013? Trying a new recipe once a week? Or having date night once a week or month with your partner? Perhaps it’s doing something you never thought you would do like trying a new hobby, attending a new networking event or conference or contacting someone that you admire. Be a tourist in your own city and visit the museums, art galleries, parks and beaches. Get out and do something! Be adventurous!
READ: Are you challenging yourself this year? How you can have your most revolutionary year yet! Make this week diﬀerent
What’s your own hero’s journey going to be? What dragons will you slay? What mountains will you climb? What will you learn about yourself?
12. Manifesto Making
That which transforms your life is what you practice. And what you practice constitutes your personal laws of life—not what you merely believe in, but what you practice. It’s all well and good to read books, and to attend seminars, lectures, and workshops, and to say, ‘Oh, that really resonates with me! It’s now part of my life’s philosophy.’ Your philosophy may give you a temporary state of euphoria, but if you want to be anchored in reality, it takes practice, practice, practice. We are not here to be euphoric but to get free. Rudimentary spirituality is theory; advanced spirituality is practice.” Michael Beckwith, Author of Spiritual LiberaFon From all this reflection, what are your personal laws of life? Describe and clarify this in your own manifesto. Your manifesto is what you are committing to in 2013. What practices do you declare are important to you, declare to practice every day and declare that the world needs? man·i·fes·to : a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer Your manifesto may answer some of the following questions: • What’s most important to you? The qualities you want to embody? • What consistent action do you need to practice? • What does the world need? Your manifesto will guide your year and remind you of what’s important.
Personal transformation can and does have global
effects. As we go, so goes the world, for the world is us.
revolution that will save the world is ultimately a personal one. â€? Marianne Williamson
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