The Year of the Best You – “Cultivate What Ignites You”


“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” ~ Steve Jobs’ Commencement Address – Stanford University, June 12, 2005

As mentioned in my post last week, this coming year will be the “Year of the Best You” – with the emphasis on the YOU! On the first Sunday of each month, I will introduce a ‘pillar’ along with our goals and a PDF worksheet to print off for the month. You may want to organize your worksheets in a binder or a duo-tang.

Today is Pillar #1 – Cultivate What Ignites You. We will discuss this pillar a bit more below, print off the PDF worksheet and then recap how we made out on January 29th.

Cultivate what ignites you

The above statement from Steve Jobs’ Commencement Address has always stuck with me. In fact, a few years ago I painted it on a wooden plaque and gave it to my husband Colin for an occasion. Fast forward to today and he is living on this premise as he embarks into the last 6 months of a Radiology partnership, heading into a new phase where he hopes to respond ‘yes’ more than ‘no’ to the above question.

But let’s face it, not everyone can change directions, or forge a new path given their situation and responsibilities – namely paying the bills. In our situation, we had to wait for the right timing, resisting any previous urges for a drastic change for the sake of our family. However, that is where the enjoyment of our ‘side projects’ comes in – such as this blog/website and Physicians For Physicians – allowing us to follow a path that truly excites and ignites us.

Finding what ignites you

What excites you, motivates you, inspires you? What do you feel passionate about? Maybe you can give a list instantly. Maybe you have no ideas that come to mind. Maybe your answers align with your work and maybe they don’t. The best way to really discover what ignites us is to really get to know the person in the mirror.

Starting today through January 28th, we are going to approach this using the following 3 steps:

1) Get quiet/be still – Meditation comes up a lot in my posts but with good reason – the benefits of carving out time to be quiet are undeniable to our overall well-being and sense of clarity. If you don’t already have some sort of mindfulness/meditation practice, just 4 minutes a day can make a difference. This is a guiding principle of the founders of Mindfulness Based Achievement that offer free guided meditations. Another option is to check out Insight Timer – a free app with a lots of options to explore, including just a bell that rings at the beginning and end of the time you have allotted to be still.

Goal – to meditate every day for 4+ minutes.

2) Self-reflect – journaling offers many benefits through self-reflection and discovery. You may already keep a journal, or may be like me, journal much less frequently than you would like to. Journaling prompts can be helpful and I have included some on the PDF worksheet. This will be key to re-connecting with what excites us.

Goal – to journal every day (length is not relevant).

3) Uncover goals – Hopefully steps 1 & 2 will help uncover goals related to discovering what ignites you. Goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-sensitive) – you can read a bit more on this topic in one of my previous posts Set Goals, Not Resolutions. Every goal can point toward one outcome or all 3 goals can be different, or any variation in between.

An example of a SMART goal related to starting to write would be – ‘I will set aside 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, toward completing a 10 week online Gotham Writers writing course.’ You may want to jot these goals down over the next couple of weeks and then have them set for January 29th when we meet again.

Goal – to devise 3 SMART goals toward pursuing what ignites us.

I hope I have outlined my thoughts and the process clearly enough. If not, please feel free to get in touch with me via e-mail through my contact form.

Please print off the worksheet and try to have some fun with it. Most importantly of all, be kind to yourself if it doesn’t go as planned.


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