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The alarm goes off. You slide out of bed; attempt to get yourself ‘ready’ for the day: clothes, hair, make up. You then move to getting everyone else and everything else in your household ready: clothes, packed lunches, projects, presentations. You drive the kids to work, take the dogs for a walk, and then approach the never ending “to do” list.
You perform the household chores or work tasks almost robotically. The hours somehow pass by. The end of the day nears, the evening routine ensues, the house becomes quiet, and you approach the few opportune moments you have to connect with your inner self.
What’s going on? You did everything you needed to do. You got everything done. Everyone else got what they needed. As far as productivity goes, you could call the day a success. So why do you feel so empty?
As you review your day, the hours, minutes that passed, did you spend your precious life energy how you wanted? Not how you “had to” or were “supposed to”, not what was “right” for everyone else, but how YOU wanted to? Did you remember to include YOU in your day? And if not, when was the last time you did?
Don’t spend these precious few moments wishing you could change the past, your path, or wallowing in hopelessness; take action!
First: get clear on what lights you up and ignites your energy. Here’s an exercise that I picked up as a Corporate Wellness Facilitator, and I still use it with clients now. It’s called “When I’m At My Best”.
· Find a quiet space in your home or at work where you can sit uninterrupted for a few minutes.
· Sit in a position that feels comfortable in your body and take a moment to connect with your breath, slow it down, and let the tension in your body dissipate for a minute or two (10 seconds is better than nothing!).
· Open your eyes, and with a pen and paper handy, write down “I am at my best when…” then let the pen flow where it will- let ideas, adjectives, hobbies, memories, passions fill the page.
Second: Ok, you’ve got your overall vision, and hopefully it’s big and broad! But that can feel overwhelming and keep us stuck. So now we’ve got to break it down:
· First rank the items on your list in order of importance to you in terms of incorporating into your life right now (it’s tough to choose, but by taking this approach you can eventually build all the pieces back in)
· Next rank those same items in terms of ease of implementation (some items, like taking 5 minutes of ‘me time’ might be easier to take action on than taking a 3 month hike through the wilderness).
· Choose your top three after the two ranking exercises: we’ll start there!
Third: I’m all about clear cut action steps, but only because I’ve found personally that I can get swept up in the excitement of big visions, and then live my days with a dream hangover by taking no meaningful action. So here, we’re going to take it one step further, so that the things that bring you life have a place in your daily routine!
· Choose one of your top three items (I recommend the one you feel most confident about implementing; there’s nothing more empowering than building trust in your own word to yourself).
· Estimate how much time you need to bring it fully to life (1 month? 3 months?)
· Then create daily (or weekly) action steps that bring you continually closer to action-ing that dream to reality. I like to use the S.M.A.R.T. process for this:
o Specific: In very clear terms, what action step will you be taking? On what days? At what time? Get molecular here!
o Measurable: How will you track your progress and hold yourself accountable? It could be as simple as setting aside 5 minutes at the end of your day to review your action step, and if you need it, texting/calling/emailing your accountability partner to check in (email me if you need one).
o Attainable: We tend to be overachievers, sometimes because we expect too much, and sometimes because our fear sets us up for failure so we don’t really have to take action. So be HONEST here: is this action step attainable in the time limits you’ve set? Remember, we’re not trying to set speed records here, we’re aiming for successful implementation, self-trust, and most importantly, fulfillment!
o Relevant: This one’s for the people like me, who can get caught in splitting hairs, and end up down a path that deviates significantly from our overall vision. Reflect: Is this the most meaningful way I can take action toward my goal right now?
o Time-bound: Another way to hold ourselves accountable. Set an end date. Be clear on date and time. Then utilize the space between to your best ability!
The world needs you to be the fullest best version of you now, not in 5-10 years when you ‘have time’. And guess what, you DESERVE to feel happy and fulfilled every day. So don’t wait; where can you set aside time within the next 48 hours to complete this exercise and start living the life that the Universe designed for you?
PLEASE SHARE YOUR INSIGHTS BELOW! IF YOU FEEL A FRIEND COULD USE THIS EXERCISE, PLEASE PASS IT ON!