The Alive Project: A personal review

Fourteen days, fourteen challenges and numerous great responses, insights and ideas – I am really proud of everyone who participated in The Alive Project and embraced the daily challenges!

As promised I also completed every challenge and will share my experiences and insights in today’s blog post.

And if you haven’t had the chance to follow The Alive Project on Facebook, Twitter or via email, you can find all the challenges listed in this article. Enjoy!

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Day 1: What’s your definition of being alive?

For me, being alive means to fully live in the moment. To embrace whatever life offers, to go with the flow and to follow my heart’s desires. I feel alive when I am truly and authentically myself.

What makes me come alive?

Waking up with energy, joy and excitement.

A heart filled with love, life and laughter.

Warm, deep and emotional connections.

Positivity. Optimism. Inspiration.

Being open towards new possibilities and embracing the unknown.

Radiating authenticity, burning passion and seeing that light in other people’s eyes.

Being fully present.

Acknowledging my fears and insecurities. Accepting my failures and weaknesses.

Adventures and challenges.

Going with flow and ease.

Following my heart, soul and intuition.

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Day 2: Surround yourself with people who lift you up & make you feel energized, inspired & alive. It’s all about connection!

Connection is one of my most important values. Without loving and emotional connections, I would feel empty, uninspired and lonely. But actually finding YOUR tribe (that is people who lift you up and make you feel alive) is not always easy.

I am thus very thankful for all the amazing people in my life, especially my closest friends Nora, Julia, Raelke, Maria and my mum. I am grateful for their support, their never-ending love and their heart-warming understanding.

Barbecue

We all know the energy-drainers, dream-shitters and grumblers in our lives. People who drag us down, demotivate us and leave us without energy and positivity.

It’s time to say “STOP”.

It’s time to focus on relationships, friendships and social connections that truly serve you.

Who is part of your special tribe? Who inspires and energizes you on a daily basis? Let them know how important they are in your life. Because we all love to be loved.

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Day 3: What makes you feel alive? What do you love to do? Give yourself permission to invest in yourself.

We use money every single day of our life. We earn, we save and eventually, we spend it. For cars, groceries, our phone bills or new clothes. But when was the last time you really invested in yourself? In something that helped you grow? That you were passionate about and that made you feel truly alive?

Thought so.

Way too often we make sure everyone around us is happy, appreciated and looked after.

But what about YOU? When have you been to a massage for the last time? Or signed up for a language class? Why not book that self development seminar or weekend trip TODAY?

Spending money on our basic (and not so basic) needs is way easier than actually investing in ourselves. In our personal development. In our dreams and passions.

During the last couple of months, I learned how to invest in myself. I cut my costs on things I don’t need and started investing in what makes me FEEL good. For me, that is travelling, healthy food, quality clothing and personal development stuff. It’s buying a plane ticket (oh, how I love to buy plane tickets!), signing up for conferences and getting 20+ ebooks (and the crazy thing is, I allowed myself to take the time to read them all!).

After writing this challenge, I decided to sign up for the Sprint Triathlon in Frankfurt in early August this year. One of my very best friends, Julia, will join me and hell yeah, I’m excited!

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Day 4: Wear your favourite outfit!

Why wait for the perfect opportunity that never comes? Put on your most gorgeous dress and your favourite pair of heels.

Because now is the time to show the best of you – inside & out.

The same is true for using your best pens, papers, plates and whatever else you’ve stored in your household for years. USE the stuff you love, it’ll make your life so much more beautiful!

On Day 4 of The Alive Project, I decided to wear one of my favourite casual summer outfits: shorts, simple black top and flats, and some matching accessories. Et voilà – it felt great! And on top of that, I bought myself a gorgeous, full-length, navy-blue summer dress. Ahhh.

Summer Outfit

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Day 5: Smile. You’re never fully dressed without a smile!

We often let our daily tasks determine how we feel – stressed, meaningless, burnt out. But just a simple smile can make a huge difference.

The shortest distance between two people is a smile.

Remember, smiling is contageous. And healthy!

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Day 6: Change your perspective. Only when we open up our heart & mind and let go of judgments we can see the bigger picture!

Do you know that feeling when you’re caught up in assumptions and judgments that serve neither you nor the people around you?

It’s so easy to get lulled into our own limited perspective and forget about the bigger picture.

Open up your mind and change your perspective on what you thought is right in YOUR world.

We all have different opinions and values, and thus a very diverse perception of the world around us.

For me, it was acknowledging that not everyone is going to support my career decisions. That there will be criticism, judgment and doubt. And that it’s okay. I stopped judging people for their seemingly limiting mindset or for working a “boring” 9 to 5 job. Those things most certainly don’t work for me but hey, they might be totally fine for someone else.

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Day 7: Connect with nature – walk, hike, run, bike… Whatever works best for you!

We spend so much time studying, working – tucked away behind our desks, PCs and laptops. And suddenly, the week has passed by and we didn’t even get a glimpse of the warm, energizing summer sun out there.

We need to re-connect with nature.

We need to have fun, play and just be.

After realizing how much energy nature can give me, I decided to take a day trip to the Chiemsee – Bavaria’s biggest and most beautiful lake. Here’s a collage to give you a picture of this amazing place on earth:

Chiemsee

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Day 8: If you woke up with no fear, what would you do first? Go and do it today.

What is your biggest fear? What are you afraid of?

Name it, acknowledge it and do what makes you come alive ANYWAY.

I have this little inner voice that regularly annoys me with questions like “Who are you to follow your big, crazy dreams?” “Who are you to be a life coach?” “Who are you to think you’re special?”

Screw that voice.

On Day 8 of the challenge, I filled out a couple of papers, sent them to my local tax office and will soon be an officially self-employed personal coach. Yay!

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Day 9: Drop an annoying habit of yours and replace it with a fun, authentic one!

My annoying habit? Logging onto facebook, twitter and my email account RIGHT AFTER waking up. Very bad. And I’m sure a lot of my fellow blogging colleagues know this habit very well.

Being connected to the online world 24/7 drains my energy. I know that. And still, there’s this temptation of just taking a short (really short) peek on my mails. And on facebook.

Et voilà, an hour has passed. Damn.

I don’t like this habit of mine at all. And thus on Day 9, I dropped it.

Now, I wake up, pour myself a glass of water and start my day with a short session of yoga.

My friend Nora pointed out an amazing Youtube Channel called Happy & Fit Yoga (German) where you can find all types of yoga instructions – from 8 up to 40 minutes. Perfecto!

Of course, I still don’t do yoga EVERY SINGLE DAY. It just doesn’t work. Sometimes, I have an early morning meeting or a friend of mine slept over. And on rare occasions, I was out the night before and simply can’t be bothered to do anything else than corpse pose.

But that’s fine. It’s not about getting it right 100% of the time. It’s about making a move in the right direction. A direction that makes you feel more alive, step by step.

What are your secret, annyoing habits? What do you want to change in your life? And what holds you back from really BEING ALIVE?

There is always something in our lives we want to change, but usually resistance and fear is what hold us back. If you replace one habit at a time, and make it a fun game, I promise you’ll feel so much more alive!

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Day 10: Come up with something positive to keep in mind when negativity surrounds you.

Have you ever been dragged down by the negativity of others? Have you ever had that uncomfortable gut feeling when people around you tell you how hard and unfair life is? And all you want to do in that moment is to tell them to shut the hell up?

I guess so.

Well, at least I know these situations pretty well.

It’s really hard to maintain a healthy sense of positivity when you are surrounded by dreamshitters and naysayers.

So what to do?

I came up with a slogan that always puts me in positive mood.

Life Is Good

Life is good.

It’s our thoughts that can make certain incidences feel like a catastrophe.

IT REALLY IS ALL ABOUT YOUR THOUGHTS. ALWAYS.

Keeping yourself in a positive thought bubble (especially when negativity surrounds you!) is the best way to feel happy, balanced and alive. And to just ignore all these negative vibes out there!

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Day 11: When was the last time you did something for the first time? 

This challenge was one of the hardest for me. I just couldn’t come up with something new that I could do right on the spot. No clue.

I was thinking about taking a day trip to a city where I’ve never been before or signing up for a new online course. And then it hit me: There is so much opportunity every day to try something new – you just have to pay attention to the little things!

Like buying yourself flowers for the very first time in your life. Or eating with the left hand instead of the right one.

So I dumped all my crazy, complicated plans and just went running with a good friend of mine. I’ve never been running with him before, so it counts as something new, and we had a great time chatting and watching the soccer world cup afterwards.

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Day 12: Write a “NOT-to-do” list. Think of everything that you dislike and that doesn’t serve you. And then STOP DOING IT!

“Do what you love.”

“Do what you’re passionate about.”

“Do what lights you up.”

As much as I like these motivating words, they are literally EVERYWHERE. In every self-help book, blog post and quote. Duh.

What if we shake things up a little? And focus on what we DO NOT like to do instead?

Here’s my list:

Not-to-do list

Ignoring my intuition // Worrying // Playing small // Hiding my truth // Neglecting my needs // Eating unhealthy food // Sleeping less than 7 hours // Being stressed.

And now it’s your turn: What is on your NOT-to-do list?

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Day 13: Take a deep breath, slow down and do something that relaxes you.

We usually have a to-do list longer than the guest list for our next birthday party. We have dreams and visions, but instead of sparking inspiration, all they do is draining us. And they make us feel overwhelmed.

Which is why Day 13 was all about ease. Simplicity. And slowing down.

When thinking about what relaxes me, a sweet childhood memory came up: strawberry picking! Wohooo!

And so I grabbed my bike, rode to the next town and spent an hour picking (and eating!) tons of strawberries. Is there anything better? I doubt it.

Strawberry Picking

What are your secret tools to slow down when life gets all hectic and overwhelming?

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Day 14: TRAVEL. Expand your horizons, explore and meet new people. It’s one of the best ways to really feel alive!

Travelling leaves you speechless, and then turns you into a storyteller.

Ah, the beauty of travelling. I could write hours about this topic. But for now, let me just promise you that nothing makes you feel more alive than travelling.

Expand your horizons.

Open up your mind and heart.

Be free.

Go on a day trip, plan a weekend in Italy or set off on a pack backing journey through South America – whatever floats your boat!

As for me, I already have some pretty awesome travel plans for the next couple of months. Stay tuned!

Air View

And now it’s your turn: Share your ideas, insights and thoughts on one, two or each of challenges in the comment section below! Let us know what makes YOU come alive!

Always happy travels!

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16 responses to “The Alive Project: A personal review

  1. Wow Ramona, du schreibst wirklich genial! Es ist immer wieder spannend von dir zu lesen, weil es das Gefühl gibt, mit dir zu wachsen, eingefahrene Perspektiven zu hinterfragen und neu zu bewerten. Weiter so 🙂 Statt “nur” I like: I love it 🙂

    • Vielen Dank für deine lieben Worte Regina! Because a little praise always makes us feel alive as well, right?! 😉 Bis hoffentlich bald und liebe Grüße!

    • Thank you 🙂 I’m glad you like it Brenda! I’ll be starting The Alive Project again in August (probably with a focus on travelling) so feel free to join!

  2. love love love the challenges, ramona! 🙂 my absolute favorites are #4 (you’re a doll!), #9 (hmmm . . . where to start?), #12 (appreciate the unique slant to this), and #14 (my absolute favorite – i’m actually planning a 4th trip to south america in october!). i’ve decided to do the alive project (on my own), beginning july 1!

    • South America sounds great April! How long will you be staying and what countries are on your itinerary? Thank your for the lovely comment and take care. xx, Ramona

      • hi again, ramona. 🙂 we have an apartment in buenos aires so we’ll be going to argentina for most of the trip. but we’re also planning to visit chile for the first time (santiago) – i can’t wait!

      • This is amazing April! Enjoy every single minute of your trip 🙂 Lovely regards from Miami and always happy travels! xx, Ramona

  3. Fabulous follow up post Darling! Now i did start doing the challenge but fell off the wagon after a few days because life got in the way – not an excuse! The challenge is super motivating – all of it!! For me #8 and #9 are my weak points. Both i think feed of each other me thinks! So to stop the inner voices (# 8) i have started to put myself out there even more to shut them up! 🙂 xx

    • Thank you Roxy! I’m glad you participated and, like I wrote in #9, it’s not about getting it right 100% of the time – even if you just got to do a couple of challenges, that’s awesome!! Also, printing out the challenges and doing them on your own pace might be a great idea when life gets busy 😉 Hugs, Ramona

  4. Hi Ramona, Loved the post! It’s weird that I think that if I were to do a ‘Not-to-do’ list, it would exactly like yours! 😉 Oh, and love your favourite outfit too! 🙂 xxx

    • Hi Liz! Thanks for your lovely feedback 🙂 I love that you have the same not-to-do list, seems like we’re quite similar on that! Take care, Ramona

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