How many of you reach the end of your week feeling completely exhausted and uninspired?
You’ve spent all week taking care of the family, volunteering, working your full or part-time job, maybe even growing a business. But you find it takes every ounce of energy you have just to get through the week?
Worse yet you feel overburdened, your to-do list got bigger instead of smaller, and you feel everyone is looking to you for answers and action.
You are not alone. The pace of life as we know it has drastically increased over the past 20 years. We are expected to be plugged in 24/7 to our work, our kids, our family and friends.
This works for some people and for some it doesn’t. The solution lies in knowing you have a choice to live your life the way you wish and at the pace that fits you.
So what really is going on in your life?
1. The best way to know what is happening in your life is to assess. I like to write, with a pen (not computer). So, take out a plain piece of lined paper and write out your day. Make a column on the left and start with when your alarm-clock goes off. Then continue, using each line, and list what you are doing until you end with the time you go to sleep that night. Hopefully it will all fit on one piece of paper (if not, get a second piece).
2. Then, to the right of each item, in a second column, write how you are feeling about each of these tasks. Don’t write what you think you should write, but write what you are actually feeling. No denial, just write it out. Nobody is going to read this but you, so be honest as you assess each item.
3. Then, on a second piece of paper, write your back-story. You know, the story (or stories) that are playing over and over in your mind while you are living your life. These are the things you’re concerned with or worried about. We are often times unaware that we are even thinking about these things, they are so prevalent in our lives, sometimes even comfortable, like an old sweater. Truth is, they are taking up bandwidth in your brain and draining you of life-force energy so let’s get them out into the open.
4. What did you discover about yourself, positive or negative that you weren’t previously aware of? How many items on your list do you enjoy? How many items on your list are frustrating/not enjoyable? Are there people in your life who are not healthy for you to be around?
5. Did you actually “do” these exercises, or are you just reading and intellectualizing this content? The key to really shifting is to “experience” this content and the emotions that surface as you go through the exercises. So, get your paper and actually DO the exercises, please.
What do you really want?
Believe it or not, this question stumps most people. They know what they don’t want, but don’t have a clear vision for what they do want. I prefer this exercise be more free-form. So take out a fresh piece of paper and just start writing. Grammar and punctuation don’t matter, just write. And don’t judge or say to yourself, “that sounds silly”, just write. What would you like your day to look like? Write a few different scenarios if you wish, after all no two days should be the same, right? Have fun with this and let your imagination run wild.
By now, you are probably more clear about what needs to change - either in a big way or maybe just a few minor shifts is all you need. Coming up with a few action steps will help you concretize your intentions. Start small with only 3 to 4 action steps right now. When you integrate these steps, you’ll be ready for a few more. It’s easier to make changes happen when we integrate only a few new things at a time. If we try to change too many things at once, we are more likely to become overwhelmed or frustrated and regress to our former state. Then, our belief becomes “this doesn’t work”. So go easy on yourself and just focus on a few new things for now.
Write down 3 action steps you can take to move you closer to where you want to be in your life:
This exercise never gets old, so after you’ve integrated a few new things, re-visit this exercise and take it to the next level. If you are seriously committed to making changes in your life, you’ll continue to make small changes. Step by step, you’ll move from merely surviving to absolutely thriving. Live life to the fullest!
Copyright Betsy Swartz, House of Potential