7. Be vigilant about finding sources of inspiration.

In part 6, I discuss how moving abroad gave me time to walk around. It’s also opened up my time to explore doing things I love.  These days, I make a lot of to-do lists. I use it to keep track of my chores, but I also use it to remind me of all of the fun things I need to do in order to stay inspired.

A typical list these days may look something like this:
-Vietnamese Homework
-Make Bed
-Discovery Weekly Playlist
-Watch/Read X Book, Movie, Song, or Documentary (1)
-Hunt down a good bowl of Bun Bo
-Go somewhere or try something new. 
-Write a report
-Skype/Email/Text X

Some of these items are staples; I put “make bed”  and "yoga" on the list every day. My mother once told me that she read that successful people make their bed first thing in the morning. Perhaps its because of the suggestion that I’ve assigned it this meaning, but as a result, I do feel pretty accomplished when I get to cross it off to start my day. Influence from home is also a positive and constructive thing, which means staying in touch with the people I care about is a priority. I make an effort to stay in contact with them on as regular a basis as possible, which ensures that a few someones' names can usually be found on the list at any given time.

When I left Los Angeles, I asked myself what I wanted to be doing every day, if given the opportunity to do so. My answers were, write, do yoga, and meditate. 

These three items have since fulfilled my basic needs. As I’ve spent more time living my life, however, I learned that there are a lot of other things I need to be doing in order to feel productive. 

“Discovery Playlist” is a rolling playlist of 30 songs Spotify makes me each week. I may like some, none, or all of the songs on the list, but I make the effort over the course of seven days to give myself the opportunity to decide. The ones I take to get added to a more permanent playlist, and the ones I don’t... well, I’m glad I at least got to experience their vision. 

Next, something grounding makes the list. A chore like laundry, or making sure I complete a report on time. These things ensure I’m making money and staying on top of my home life. It may not always be the most glamorous, but the sense of satisfaction I get when I cross these things off the list keeps me motivated. 

Something fun will also always make the list; some new adventure to be had. Sometimes it will be to attend a concert, or visit friends at a bar, take part in Bar Trivia, or explore the botanical gardens. Essentially, I challenge myself to go somewhere new, or to experience something I never have before. This usually extends to food as well. I love exploring local flavors and things I’ve never tried before (2), whether it be in my own explorations in the kitchen or in deciding to go out and try some local dish Colleen has recommended (3)(4).   

I am always looking for inspiration, and I make this happen through a balance of routine and exploration. I try to make fresh decisions on a regular basis while valuing what I already know works for me.

The anatomy of a To-Do List.

The anatomy of a To-Do List.

In our current climate, I think this is especially important. If you’re only exposing yourself to a certain kind of news, that news is the only thing you’re going to think about. If you’re focusing on only getting through the work day, work is what will become your focus. If you actively spend your time seeking out interesting youtube videos, this is what you’ll have to talk about when it comes to time to talk about things that are important to you. The content we consume is going to be what we think about, which in turn becomes what we talk about, and how we react. It affects how we interact with the world. 

Thoughts become things--choose the good ones. (5)  

1. Sometimes I like to posts links to the things inspiring me currently, so keep your eye on the site if you're interested. 
2. Post Pending
3. My friend Colleen is my life coach, foodie partner in crime, and corrector of my Vietnamese.
4. Most recently, my food adventures have come from the suggestions of friends in my Vietnamese language course--thanks Izzy, Scott, Darren, and Tu for showing me the ropes.
5. This is a motto I learned from daily affirmations sent to me by Notes from the Universe. Many thanks to my friend Holly for introducing me to the site.