Before I begin writing this post, I want to address the elephant in the room. Can we just take a moment to acknowledge that I haven’t said a peep on this platform in almost a year and a half?
That’s not all. The last post incentivised a well-balanced holiday in Bali. In hindsight, that really didn’t age well. If only that version of me could have foreseen: in a month’s time, none of us would be travelling at all.
Nevermind eating watermelon from a floating tray.
Nice try, Kenzie, but you missed the mark. Like, entirely.
There is something slightly redeeming about the fact that I haven’t written for myself, for this platform, in such a lengthy time.
Here, and only here, it’s as if this whole pandemic never existed. You could almost convince yourself that we’re kicking off from the same place.
Ubud. February 2020.
In some ways, I’m glad we’re not.
A LOT has happened since I last posted. Not just to me, but to us all. I won’t embark on my side of the picture in its totality. But I will share three things.
These three have had a huge impact on my health and wellbeing over the past year or so. They’ve shaped where I am today: the fittest I’ve ever been. The most mentally strong. More comfortable in my own shoes and in the direction I’m walking.
That’s such a large component of being “well”, right? It’s not just about getting in our daily movement. Or, eating a healthy amount of protein, fats and carbs. There’s so much more to being “well” that has far less to do with our bodies. Far more to do with our minds. Our perspective. Our ability to marry the internal with the external.
So without further ado, in true Currently Loving fashion, I’ve learned some things. And now, I’m here to share them.
I LEARNED TO HONOUR DAILY INTENTIONS.
It’s no secret just how easy it is to get caught up in wellness fads today. You know, the ones that encourage you to wake up each day and meditate. To drink lemon water and to walk 12,000 steps before 8am. To have some nourishing brekky, tofu scramble or protein pancakes. And of course, to document the whole thing with the hashtag #thatgirl when you share it on TikTok.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I do a lot of these things. I aim to walk everyday for my mental and physical health. I even favoured lemon water for a certain period of my life. Not because I thought it was detoxing my liver or some shit. But because it genuinely helped me drink more water.
Anyway, my issue (yes, I’ve learnt I have one) with these trends is that they tend to ignore a concept we’ll title as “healthy fluctuation.” The truth is, a hearty stack of pancakes may serve us one day. Skipping the hour in the kitchen, and logging into a Zoom meeting may prove more crucial the next.
Even if Zoom looks far less good dressed in a minimal filter.
My point is, it’s all well and good to be inspired by wellness and productivity, hustle and mindfulness content. But trying to infuse these all at once will leave us feeling lost, confused and deflated.
I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re far better off honouring natural shifts in our priorities. In real life, our responsibilities are subject to constant variation. That’s okay. We don’t have to throw all goals out the window. We can and we should plan for these shifts, with the help of unique, daily intentions.
Where multiple focuses leave us feeling torn, unsure where to direct our energy, an isolated daily intention ensures we have clarity on the most important outcome on any particular day. On a weekly basis, we’re able to spread ourselves evenly across the areas that matter most.
Unique daily intentions create space for stepping away from a certain goal, so we can return fresh, strong and well-rested.
Let’s apply this to running, for example. Running 42km may be an incredible, productive feat one day, pushing me forward as an athlete. To attempt the same again the following day would be far less fruitful.
In fact, the value of the feat would be somewhat diminished. Not only because rest and recovery should now be priority. But because running 42km when you know you should be doing something else (like spending time with loved ones, or simply, resting) is far less gratifying.
I BEGAN TO RESPECT MY OWN VALUES.
Most of us believe that we invest our time, money and resources, according to our values. It’s a lovely thought. But I’d argue it’s not always the case. How we truly manage our investments is often dictated by the values that we feel we should have. Or alternatively, the ones we feel okay to outwardly express.
Let me explain. You might feel confident to invest in nutritious food because eating well is unequivocally important. No one’s going to debate you on its value. You mightn’t feel so confident to train for a marathon. To start a YouTube channel. To invest all your money in stocks. Because that would express an extreme value, desire or belief that not everyone shares.
“I dare you to become clear on your personal values.”
Not the ones you think you have. YOUR values.”
Let me tell you, it’s an amazing revelation when you comprehend: not everyone has to share said value. Not everyone will share said value. And guess what, neither of those truths justify your surrendering of that value.
I dare you to become clear on your personal values. I mean, your ones. Not the ones you think you have. YOUR values.
I dare you to take 10-15 minutes. Find a quiet place and identify 5 values that matter to you most, avoiding any bias, judgement or prejudice. Not towards what you place on the page. Nor the order you place your words.
Now, once you’ve identified your values, the next step is to validate them as often as possible. You can start by saying no, when someone asks you to act contrary to your values.
You can also start to plan your life, according to your values.
Something I’ve been doing lately is writing big old to-do lists in the Reminders app.
I know what you’re thinking: to-do lists aren’t exactly revolutionary, Kenzie. And to that, I agree. But what happens when you start to let your values govern your to-do? What happens when you stop noting only the tasks and the responsibilities that OTHERS deem important? But also… those that YOU do?
I know, it sounds crazy at first.
Imagine placing your morning run on the same list as a work deadline. Imagine attributing those two the same number of value points within your day. Imagine adding a walk or talk with your partner onto the same list. Imagine prioritising it BEFORE you make a call to the electrician. Start on the work task. Write a book. Finish an epilogue. Whatever it is that you promised someone else you’d do.
That’s called respecting your values.
Not everyday will look perfect. We don’t always have 110% control over our time. That’s just life. But the key to maximising the control we do have, and even, to recognising that we have more than we think, comes down to getting honest with our values.
Do me a favour. Don’t simply note your values down once, and let them be forgotten. Check in with your to-do list and your value list everyday. Ask yourself: does the way I spend time on this earth adhere with my own values?
You’d be surprised by the gap that often grows between our values and what we prioritise on a daily basis. Just like we cook the same meals, or reach for a slice of pizza out of habit, we prioritise out of habit too.
My advice – don’t be afraid to question that habit. To ask yourself, am I still acting in line with my values? And if not, how can I change that? Can I move something up the list?