A Simple Way to Name and Claim the Life You Long For: Mind the Gate

At the first of the year, when everyone was making resolutions and choosing their Word, I was drawing circles. Unlike my previous resolutions, six months later my circles continue to surround and support me, helping me to hold focus, and creating days filled with the feelings and experiences I value most.

This profound yet simple technique begins with a circle. Draw one now, on paper or in your imagination.

Inside your circle, put everything you want to experience: descriptive words and feelings that you would like to fill your days and years.

Outside your circle, put descriptive words and feelings you wish to AVOID.

The circle itself—the line you drew—becomes the boundary between what you want to experience and what you want to avoid. The strength and impermeability of this line determines your life experience!

This is an important line. It represents self-management. On it, write what YOU need to do to help yourself BE the person who experiences your desired experiences.

One last step: add a gate. You are in charge of this gate, how opened or closed it is, and what you allow to flow through it.

Here is what I drew for myself at the beginning of this year…

Since adopting “Mind the Gate” at the start of this year, my days have transformed! I have enjoyed increased focus on what I want to experience (naming), increased responsibility to create conditions for my desired experiences (owning), and increased detachment from what isn’t mine (discerning).

With heightened awareness of what I DO want to experience, I find myself scanning situations and environments for MY desired experiences. When I seek, I find.

When I find myself experiencing something negative, stressful or otherwise undesirable, I ask myself these powerful questions that help me return to my circle:

  1. What have I let through my gate, and what do I need to do about it?
  2. Am I meeting my needs, or do I need to strengthen my boundaries?
  3. Have I stepped outside the gate looking for this other experience, and why?

As simple as this process is, it is packed with deep psychology, solid neuroscience, and timeless spiritual wisdom. Its real power, though, is in the moment YOU decide to give yourself the life you long for. Is this that moment?


Consider the Self-Care Summit: a high-value, evergreen resource to support permanent lifestyle shift toward sustainable self-care.

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