Find a treasure trove beyond routines and achievements

Habits and goals can be the cornerstones for maintaining focus and moving things forward. However, nowadays we talk so much about them that we may forget there’s much more to life!

If we are always doing things efficiently with goals in mind and our days revolve around rituals, we can start to feel exhausted, restricted, rigid and dull. This can lead to lower mood and lack of motivation. Also, achieving the goal may become an obsession, there’s only a little joy in what we are doing and we can feel like robots.

Routines and goals should be balanced with some randomness, newness and flexibility. Doing something different out of curiosity or for fun, by throwing ourselves into the flow without knowing where it will take us.

Mountain Sunrise. Photo by Helena J. /Abroadland

“These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.”

― Najwa Zebian

REFRESH AND ShakE things up

We all have different tolerances for monotony and our perception of what each of us finds inspiring, boring or unusual also varies.

I tend to seek some change and novelty by nature. I prefer to go to new destinations rather than places I’ve already been and I choose alternative routes to places. I’ve often changed the location of our furniture or the colour of my hair, I join groups and courses to meet new people and discover new phenomena. I often think if something could be done differently. Also, my design and art projects give me a good dose of variety and, as a foreigner, I’m often outside my comfort zone.

And yet earlier this spring, I began to feel that my life was revolving too much around following a plan and trying to be productive. My spark was not as strong as before and I needed to do something new, even if it wouldn’t be something as extraordinary as jumping off a mountain to glide across the sky or moving to the other side of the world (although I’ve done these too).

I started adding new things to my days. In a rather short period of time, I tried new online exercises, went birdwatching for the first time, visited six new cafes, went on day trips to new locations, played piano, read books I don’t normally read and signed up for volunteering without knowing what the tasks will be and in a language I can’t yet speak well.


I began to feel more alive, even if – or maybe also because – some things were not that pleasant or I wasn’t good at them. For instance, I was like a silly wannabe among the seasoned birdwatchers with my smaller camera lenses, forgetting to bring my binoculars, and when I was walking by myself, I accidentally scared away a gorgeous Kingfisher from a perfect spot.

In the 1st photo is a Kingfisher (I’ll try to get a good photo next time).

Another new and concrete thing I did – for fun and for no particular purpose – was a clay experiment:

I went to buy some clay and moulded a piece of it into a ball. I pressed the middle part down and the edges took the shape of mountains (I must be brainwashed by these alpine landscapes). I tested if a candle would fit inside the form and it did. I also scraped the surface to make the mountain walls look more authentic. When the clay was dry, I painted it and a random mountain candle holder was born!

Later, I lit a candle inside the mountain and it reminded me of one of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen: the sun rising over the mountains. As a nice surprise, the candle holder was also casting shadows on the wall.

I have no idea if the clay work is beautiful or not (that’s indeed in the eye of the beholder) but but for me, this experiment was not about the looks – it was about wanting to do something different, something new and being present while creating it.

The cherry on the cake (or the candle on the clay, ha ha) has been, that in this changeable spring weather, this mountain candler holder has given joy and light to rainy days. Plus, it brings the mountains to us when we can’t get to them!

What new will you do this week?

With ♡

Text & images: Abroadland /Helena

PS. Also as a new thing, I’m organizing Abroadland’s first Giveaway! You can win five useful goods with unique prints I’ve designed, simply by signing up to the newsletter.

Win a set of fresh & functional printed goods from Abroadland!

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