Do the Work
After coming up with my “word for 2024“, I wondered what to focus on next.
The nudge I received in response was, “Do your inner work.”
Inner work? You say. So what is that, exactly?
Inner work means focusing on your spiritual and emotional self—your thoughts, feelings, intuition—the energy that fuels your whole human being.
Think of yourself like a piece of technology: your body is the hardware and your energy is the software. Doing the outer work is taking care of your body by paying attention to your eating and exercise; inner work is taking time to strengthen your inner guidance—the software that feeds your inspiration and energy to create new ideas.
Doing the inner work is just as important as the outer work.
Just like technology, if the software is out-of-date and running old programs, the device won’t work properly and may produce jumbled data—or in a worst-case scenario, crash the entire system. Similarly, repeating old beliefs, mulling over unresolved issues, or harboring negative energy affects our physical and mental health.
Need a boost? Here are a few tips for doing your inner work:
Pay attention to people. Be aware of those people who fill your tank versus drain it. Mom was right—you are the company you keep. Choose carefully with whom you spend your time and attention. Notice how they affect your vibe.
Notice your thoughts. Take note of any “stinkin thinkin”. Practice reframing by replacing negative thoughts with alternatives. You always have the choice of which thoughts you focus on. What feels better?
Refill your spiritual tank. Reconnect with people, music, movies, places, and other activities that bring happiness and that ‘full-fill’ you. The body needs food for fuel; the spirit needs positive energy!
Listen within. Listen to your body. If your eating or exercise are out of balance, make subtle changes—one thing at a time. Try something new, notice how it feels, course-correct (if necessary), let it stick, and then change something else when you’re comfortable with the new change.
Take breaks throughout the day. Take a refreshing walk, eat a healthy snack, have a friendly conversation, take a nap, or have a music break. Give your brain a break throughout the day and your productivity will increase.
Do something fun for yourself. Plan a Netflix night, go out for dinner, go bowling, or play games at a retro arcade—just get out of the house (and out of your head) and enjoy something fun and different. Better yet, bring along a good friend and double the fun!
Doing the work can sometimes be challenging, but change gets easier the more you practice it. May this new year bring you a new awareness of the power of supporting and nurturing yourself, and help you to jump-start into healthy habits for 2024.
Michael Thomas Sunnarborg