The start of a New Year, and any new phase in your life, is a great time to put together a list of great ideas for authentic living as we let go of the old and ring in the new.

A key principle in self-development or personal growth is to write down a list of goals. Goal-setting focuses your intention and energy, taking you out of autopilot mode where you are drifting passively through life, so that you can live more consciously. Once you have your list of goals you can then revisit them regularly to help you stay anchored in your life purpose. Make sure that each goal in your list is attainable and that its success can be measured so that you can see how you are doing and if anything needs to change.

I am going to ask you to write down a list of seven goals while tuning in to your deeper, authentic self. When you have some quiet time to yourself, free yourself from any distractions, still your mind, focus on your breath, and get in touch with the real you behind your thoughts—your authentic self. Goals based on your authentic needs and values will be the roadmap to living your true life purpose—what I call authentic living. Authentic goals are not based on how others think you should live, or on how your unchallenged assumptions dictate you should live. They are based on how you—in your clearest, most present and aware state of being—know you can live.

For your self-development, and to help you ring in the new, more authentic you, I am giving you some ideas for authentic living in the list below. Use this list to inspire you and to take your thoughts into areas of authentic living that you may not have considered, or may have shied away from. Then write down an outcome that would fulfil the deepest part of you and ground your authentic self into your daily life.

  1. Make a date with your authentic self on a regular basis, no matter how busy or procrastinating you are. Free yourself from distractions and psychological clutter and declare to yourself your intention to discover the real, authentic you behind the roles you play, the identities you adopt, and the thoughts and feelings that transfix your attention. Then explore the ways that you can give voice to your authentic self in your quiet moments of self-inquiry, or your moments of peak experience when you realise that life is more magical and meaningful than you thought. As you connect with your authentic self, identify what your authentic needs and values are that bring you closer to your authentic self. Then start to use these to navigate with in your new, authentic life, as you choose new options for your lifestyle, relationships, and career path.
  2. Be more truthful and genuine with the thoughts you think, the words you say, and the things you do. If you are afraid of how others—or even your own regressive ego—will react, don’t let your fear or guilt imprison your authenticity, but instead dare to be the real you, for you and the world deserves this. If the people that compromise your integrity then fall away, consider that to be a cleansing and a blessing, and know that your authenticity will attract to you those who support your authenticity. A side-effect of being genuine and transparent is that others will trust you more, which deepens your relationships, strengthens your support base, and brings customers back if you are a business leader. You will also accept yourself more, for you can only truly accept yourself if you are being the real, authentic you.
  3. Listen more to your body. What is your body telling you about your thoughts, feelings, and behaviour? How is it teaching you to ground your authenticity and to be more physically present, rather than stuck in your dissociative world of thought? Your body is like a barometer and will show you through its posture and health the effect of your psychology and behaviour upon you. Do something to become more connected and in tune with your whole body, such as taking a regular full-body massage, showing up to a yoga class, becoming more aware of the messages of your body langauge, or listening to your body’s messages when you get ill.
  4. Let go of unproductive, draining, or abusive relationships and ring in new, productive, stimulating and respectful relationships that affirm your authenticity. Relationships that diminish or harm you do not serve you, although before you are able to release them you may need to learn a lesson about yourself, such as owning and protecting your self-worth. If a relationship is going stale, or is not doing anything for the new authentic you, figure out how it can be transformed into an authentic relationship, and if it can’t then consider whether it is in your best interest to be in it. Surround yourself with people that respect your boundaries and affirm, support, and stimulate the expression of your authentic self and your self-development. This is the essence of successful relationships.
  5. Do something to build an authentic community of personal, social, economic, and spiritual relationships. Set up a group that meets in your home or a public space, or join other groups that promote positive community interaction and build community spirit. Consider your place in the local community and how you can help your local community to be strengthened through local face-to-face interaction and mutual support. If you are a business leader, what can you do to enhance community spirit in your workplace; to enhance your local community with local business partnerships; and to develop more partnerships with your local community customers and stakeholders? As you build authentic community into your life, you become more authentic by meeting your social needs.
  6. Exchange, invest, and borrow money locally wherever possible. Find out if the place you work at, the business you do, the place you shop at, and the bank you use is truly enhancing your community or simply draining money and energy out of your community. Consider doing more swaps or barter exchanges with friends and contacts in your local community, or even using a local community currency in addition to the main currency. If you are a business leader, what can you do to enhance your local economy? By practising new economics—economic principles that keep wealth in your local community—you become more authentic by helping to maintain a social environment and living space that better nurtures and supports your being.
  7. Reduce your ecological footprint by considering your impact on the local ecology and environment. Can you be less wasteful and less polluting? Can you take action to preserve and restore the natural environment and its biodiversity—even if you just start in your own garden, or in the management of your business practices? Can you begin to withdraw your financial investment or purchases from companies and organisations that are ecologically unsustainable and harmful to the planet, and redirect them to benefit those companies and organisations that are ecologically sustainable and care for the planet? As you practise green living, you become more authentic by honouring your ecological needs and the ecological matrix that sustains you.

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I am available for True Life Purpose consultations that will help you to connect with your authentic self, determine your authentic needs and values, and develop a strategy for self-development and authentic living. For information on talks, workshops, seminars, or interviews, click here.

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