7 Ways to Uplevel Your Joy in 2019 (That You Would Probably Never Think Of!!)

Happy New Year Beloveds!!

I hope that you all are well and looking forward to all the possibilities that 2019 holds for you!

Two weeks ago, I was reviewing with my Miracle Sister what I felt my biggest wins had been in 2018, and I realized that by far my biggest win was that I feel I learned how to EXPERIENCE JOY DAY-TO-DAY, NO MATTER WHAT CHALLENGES WERE EMERGING. 

I’ve been reflecting ever since then on exactly how I created that for myself so I could share these learnings with you all.

Here’s what I found was the secret sauce to me having my most joyful year to date, despite navigating some pretty demanding personal challenges along the way:

1.Make the Decision that You Will Have a Joyful Day (or Peaceful Day…) NO MATTER WHAT COMES UP!  

This may sound silly, but if you take nothing away but this, this decision will turn you into a Joy-Machine in 2019!

So many of us think our feelings and moods are determined by things happening OUTSIDE us. They’re not. WE determine our feelings and moods by CHOOSING HOW WE RESPOND to things, good, bad, ugly, or neutral.

Here’s an example – I wake up, and before I leave my bed I ask myself how I want to feel that day. I hear “I’d like to feel joyful, peaceful, and at ease.” I make the decision to experience that no matter what comes up. I go to the doctor and find out I have a pretty complicated health challenge I need to take care of. Doctors look at me with worry and fear and invite me to join them. I notice the impulse to drop into fear myself and make impulsive fear-based choices with them. I remember my commitment from the morning. I anchor into what’s true that “I have the power to feel joy, peace, and ease, even now, no matter what is happening.” I breathe, thank the doctor, and let them know I’ll take this information away and let them know what I want to do about it WHEN I’M READY.

I go home, I let myself cry over the CORE feeling of “helplessness” that we all exist in a human body that sometimes faces challenges. After about 5-10 minutes, I check in with myself, and that core feeling feels witnessed. I surrender this feeling to the universe and bless everyone on earth who’s suffering feelings of helplessness at this time. I make the CHOICE to be willing to feel JOY, PEACE, and EASE, despite the uncertainty of what lies ahead, and invite the universe to replace my core pain with these feelings instead. I tune into what would bring me joy now and discover it’s going for a run. I take myself running, jamming out to Sia, and before I know it I’m vibrating with the best energy possible in my body. Any time after that when fear or any other wounded feelings come up (“I’m scared I don’t know what to do about this yet” etc), I repeat the process above. And joy becomes the music of my life as I make the necessary love-based actions and decisions about what to do.

2.Commit to Responding to All Breakdowns as “BREAKTHROUGHS IN THE MAKING!”

 Your partner and you get into a fight about something, yet again. Instead of letting the wounded parts of you make disempowering meaning of this, as most of us do when faced with challenges, (“He just doesn’t get me – maybe we should end this now” or “Nothing I ever do will ever be good enough) you get curious and ask “I wonder what the learning is here?” How is this situation, conflict, or challenge, actually showing me a pathway to what changes are needed to experience more joy in my life?

For example, you realize you’d rather bang your head into the wall for 12 hours straight than go into work. Ask yourself what’s REALLY going on here? What is your heart yearning for instead of being at that job? Ask yourself what you’re feeling and needing and listen with curiosity and openness to the answer. Perhaps you hate working in corporate America and what you really want is to put a plan in place to be your own boss. AWESOME! Breakthrough!! Then ask what action is needed to turn this breakdown into fuel for transformation?

Do you need to start coaching people in your off hours so you gain confidence to leave your job & begin coaching full time? Or in the example above, perhaps it’s time to hire a Relationship Coach who can create a safe space for you and your partner to listen to what you both are feeling so you can deepen your connection and learn to listen to each other with some guidance. Yes, deciding to open to that breakthrough may take work and patience, but that’s what life is calling you to do. And it’s infinitely better than throwing in the towel on a partnership prematurely or staying in a job you hate for years or decades etc.

Tuning into your breakdowns to hear how life is inviting you to your next greatest level of joy will not only make you feel better at that moment, but it will also empower you to know NO MATTER WHAT COMES UP, YOU CAN TRUST YOU ARE SOMEONE WHO’LL LEARN WHAT NEEDS TO BE LEARNED & USE THIS TO MAKE YOUR LIFE EVEN MORE JOYFUL, BEAUTIFUL & ALIVE THAN BEFORE! In the process, you also save yourself from repeating painful patterns in the future (like jumping into another partnership with someone else who triggers the same wounds in you that are now up for healing).

3.Consciously Create & Look For Opportunities for CONNECTION!

I used to have a terrible track record when I was working on major projects of pushing my deepest needs aside to be dealt with “in three month’s time when this deadline has passed.” So one of the biggest discoveries this past year was that we can accomplish HUGE, MAJOR THINGS while we ALSO live lives of joy, health, and connection!

Here’s an example: I have a very big surprise coming for all of you (more on that later!). And creating it has been a full-time job around the work I’m so blessed to do with many of you. But during this project, I discovered early on that I LOVE to partner dance!! Argentine Tango, Zouk, Kizomba, you name it! And I realize now the reason I love partner dance so much is that it DEMANDS a level of MOMENT-TO-MOMENT CONNECTION, PRESENCE, and DEEP LISTENING that nothing else requires. I’ve been doing research and we humans are CONNECTION MACHINES! We are literally DESIGNED FOR CONNECTION – both for play, for development, for love, protection, and a sense of physical, mental and emotional well-being. So anything you can do that creates a DEEP SENSE OF CONNECTION with another human being will directly feed you joy like nothing else!

Here are some other examples of ways you can uplevel your sense of connection this year, whether you’re single, or partnered:

~  Any and all forms of partner dancing (look on FB Events “Near Me” and filter on “Dance” to see what exists near you, or look on Meetup.com to scope out what’s happening.

~ Play Chess, Dungeons & Dragons, Taboo (my fav!) or any other interactive game IN PERSON with friends, or a group near you (look up magazine or gaming stores nearby and call to ask about this)

Help someone learn how to do something you know how to do (i.e. volunteer to help someone struggling with unemployment to freshen up their resume & practice interviewing for a job they want with you, deliver meals from a soup kitchen to someone who’s stuck at home with physical challenges etc & bring them a big dose of joy in the process). ALL joy you give to others you will receive yourself – so give GENEROUSLY!!

~ Offer to babysit a friend’s child (so they get a date night), or set up a “play night” with one of your own children etc, and practice showing up as TRULY PRESENT for that person (this works with adults too!). The presence you give will feed your soul in ways that you can only experience from going out and offering it generously!

Call that friend, or friends, who keep popping into your mind who you normally assume are “too busy” to hang out – and let them know you’re thinking of them and would love to talk or meet up! Better yet – set up a recurring potluck with the people you love at your house! I did this for years and it was a joy-producing bomb every week!

4.Take the Risk of Regularly Telling Someone What’s REALLY Going On For You*  One of the biggest ways we sabotage our joy is by telling ourselves “everyone/s has got their **** together but me” so “it’s not safe to speak my truth.” The tragedy of these false beliefs is that they perpetuate a super damaging sense of SEPARATION and ISOLATION from other people that can last for life if we let it, and they ROB OTHER PEOPLE OF THE CHANCE TO SUPPORT US.*  At first blush, this might seem like “no big deal.” But this is a HUGE deal. I speak from experience when I say that suffering in silence hurts you terribly – emotionally, mentally, & physically – and erodes the connection we are born to receive.*  Sometimes the best part of a life breakdown, in my experience, is that it cracks open our heart, and we become willing, perhaps for the first time in our lives, to share what’s actually true for us – not some shiny Hollywood version of what’s happening – but the gritty, unpolished truth. Don’t wait for a life crisis to be witnessed! Share now! And grow your willingness to witness others sharing what’s really true for them so you can bless & expand the circle of care!*   So how do you begin if this is a totally new habit for you (as it was for me and is for many of the clients who I serve)?      ~ Start by speaking with someone truly neutral or non-threatening (perhaps there is a church, synagogue, or mosque etc you’ve been wanting to explore, or know but haven’t gone to in years – GO NOW – Talk to someone. Tell them what’s REALLY going on for you. Choose to open to receive the love and support that follows. Unity Church has a free prayer line that anyone of any or no denomination can call to be prayed with by a loving human 24/7 (their # is 1-800-NOW-PRAY). Use these resources. They are here for YOU.~ Feel into your existing friends, near or far, and ask yourself “Who could I share what’s really happening with me now who I think will have my back?” Then take the risk of calling or texting that person and asking if you could share something from your heart.

5.Cultivate Friendships with People Who LOVE CELEBRATING YOU, HAVE BIG DREAMS, and are CAPABLE & WILLING TO SUPPORT YOUR BIG DREAMS TOO!*  One of my best friends lives in Ojai, CA. She’s about as far away from me in Montclair, NJ as we can be in the continental US. And yet, we’ve called each other every two weeks for the past 5 years to celebrate each other’s wins, and share our “Miracle Intentions” for the coming two weeks! I LOVE supporting her in her vision for life as it unfolds, and I feel so blessed to be witnessed by her as I share my deepest intentions and wins with her. So if you don’t already have a circle of people who you can share your wins with, START CONSCIOUSLY GROWING YOUR CIRCLE NOW!*  Don’t be afraid to ask someone you love how they feel about putting a recurring time on your calendars every two weeks (or more) to CELEBRATE each other’s victories! This is one of the most powerful gifts we can give another being. Do NOT cut yourself out from the flow of love, well-being, and joy that this creates!*  And every time you notice yourself about to complain, catch yourself, see if you could phrase what’s really happening for you as a desire instead. And even better, see if you can name one thing that IS WORKING for you instead! This is not Pollyanna talk but a science-based strategy to rewire your brain to focus on what’s good & working in your life, so you can generate more of it!*  I start most of my coaching calls asking clients what their “wins” have been since we spoke last. I do this because, as a culture, we focus way more on what’s not working than on what is. So see how you can become a stand for what’s beautiful, miraculous, and victorious instead! (Some people get tripped up by thinking we can only celebrate “big things” like winning a lotto or a marathon!) But in fact, noticing your “small” victories will amp up your joy even more than waiting for the “big” ones! Notice, and share out loud with friends etc who love to celebrate your joy things like “Today at work my boss did her critical thing, and I stayed cool!” or “I led my first workshop and although only 2 people showed up, they both told me the content I delivered ROCKED THEIR WORLD!” or “I said no to someone who repeatedly asks for help but isn’t available when I need support!” You get the picture, right?

6.Give Yourself Permission to Focus on & Do ONE THING AT A TIME!*  I almost forgot to mention this, but it’d be such a disservice to you all to skip this! So many clients of mine struggle inside overwhelm, and feelings of “there’s not enough time to do everything I need to do!” And so they approach life (as I used to), as a neverending to-do list with very little reward. This in turn, produces anxiety, guilt, sleep deprivation, feelings of low self-worth, and general malaise. How about we stop that right now?!*  The best advice I got from a mentor last year was to pick just ONE THING I intend to do in a day, and then make sure I do that. Everything else is icing. And to break that down even further, before you take ANY action, sit down and write down everything you’re thinking about doing. Underline the 1-3 things that are MOST CRITICAL that you DESIRE to do now, and then CIRCLE the one thing you commit to doing in the hour in front of you. Then for that hour, do only that thing! I cannot tell you how much PEACE, JOY, EASE, and PRODUCTIVITY this one shift in how I approach working has made for me (it also makes celebrating way easier because we get to celebrate the micro goals we accomplish in each hour!). An example might be deciding “Tomorrow, I’m going to research at least 5 potential website designers & pick my favorites to contact about pricing & availability. Then in one hour, you may set the hourly goal of speaking to two designers). Make sense? This keeps us out of overwhelm and focused on our most critical path to success while experiencing joy along the way.

7.Commit to Moving Your Body DAILY (if only for 5 minutes)!*  But Anastasia this one seems so obvious! I know, I know! But I’m including it here because I really want to invite you all to claim to move your body daily as a non-negotiable. I used to put moving my body last after EVERYTHING ELSE was dealt with, which meant for some YEARS I did almost no physical movement at all! Last year I made physical movement each morning a non-negotiable, no matter what’s going on. So after waking up, meditating, sitting in prayer, and asking life for guidance, the second I get out of bed, I put on my sneakers and run for 30 minutes outside (snow, rain, mud, I’ve come to love it all!). To shake things up, I also bought a $50 used stationary bike I can hop on to get my heartbeat up 160, all while jamming out to music, listening to podcasts, or writing in my gratitude journal on my phone!*  Studies are showing how many benefits physical movement has on our days – from radically improving our IMMUNE SYSTEM function, to elevating our mood with increased levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.*  I know that the #1 challenge I hear to this commitment is “lack of time” – so for those of you with that issue, I invite you to consider that committing to 5 minutes of exercise DAILY is shown to build you this joy-producing habit way more powerfully, than doing a whole HOUR only once a week! So take the pressure off and let yourself do whatever you CAN DO inside a day:~ Google your favorite dance moves on YouTube (I did this for YEARS – dancing to Zumba in my backyard while I worked in corporate America)~ Walk up and down your stairs for 5 minutes!~  Buy yourself your fav machine to have at home (this is the bike I bought second hand; post on Facebook and ask if anyone has a machine they’re not using you could take off their hands!) This rebounder is $30 and jumping on this for 5 minutes will completely shift your mood (while helping your lymph flow as a bonus)!* I also learned from a friend and expert recently (who you’ll hear from soon too!) that sandwiching this habit (or any habit) between two you already do will help make it stick (so I put mine after prayer and before breakfast).

So these 7 commitments made 2018 into my most joyful year yet. And all it took was paying more attention to the place I was anchoring my consciousness, the way I honor my body, my need for connection, and my need for joy and peace in the face of whatever comes.

How will you implement some or all of these into your life in 2019?

I’m sending you all my love, and seeing you make 2019 your most JOYFUL YEAR YET!!!

With great love,

PS – Please reply and tell me your biggest takeaways? I’m absolutely thrilled to hear what resonates with you!

PPS – I have a MAJOR GIFT coming your way in just a few short weeks! So keep your eyes on your inbox as you are gonna want to GRAB THIS GIFT ASAP!!!