Perhaps it’s the change of season, or the falling leaves, or the memories of crayons stowed in a spanking new schoolbag; fall brings with it a desire to start afresh. Don’t let that energy dissipate – take advantage of it. Here are five steps to clear the way for positive change.
1. Take Stock
Grab a pen and write down the following:
Friendships & Family
Now, without over-thinking it, quickly write down from 1-10 how happy you are with each of these areas in your life. Then, again without thinking too much, quickly write down what would make this area a 10 for you. Maybe you’ve put a 3 next to career, and your first thought of how to make this a 10 is to ‘work at home.’ Now you’ve got something new to think about, to research and investigate, and to aim for.
2. Take a Breather
Many people run from work to the gym, then go home to a bombardment of tasks and demands, and then finally collapse into bed. Take a real day off – alone. Go for a walk, spend time at a coffee house, take a bath, take a nap and restore yourself. Then look back over the list you made in the last exercise. What jumps out and really calls to you? Take a red pen and number the list by priorities.
3. Take a Raincheck
Be fair to yourself. You may want to get in shape for a marathon, but right now you’re working fulltime and going to school at night. Perhaps it’s more reasonable to spend a hour at the gym three times a week until you’ve finished school. And if the areas of Home or Learning/Growth just don’t interest you at the moment, take them off the revolving list of things you beat yourself up about not getting to. At some times, career will be paramount, at others love will, and at other times family will. You can avoid a lot of unnecessary frustration and guilt if you mentally set aside some things for a later date.
4. Take a Look
Start noticing when you do beat yourself up; start noticing how you ‘converse’ with yourself. If you’re like many people, you ‘talk’ to yourself pretty harshly when you think, “That was really stupid, I shouldn’t have said that to him.” Stupid? Would you talk to a friend that way? Usually we’re far kinder to friends and strangers then we are to ourselves. Then we wonder why we lack motivation. If we beat ourselves down, just like being beat up in real life, we lose energy and need to recover. If your negative self-talk never stops, you’ll be too tired to get in control of your life, nevermind pursue your dreams!
5. Take a Chance
Once you’ve cleared your perspective, enlist help and support getting to your new life. The internet offers communities around all most any interest and activity, so join up! Seek out support groups by searching in your community. If you’re religious, talk to your pastor, rabbi or priest. Or find a certified life coach to help you get going and keep going.
Autumn is nature’s season of change. For us, it’s a chance to choose to live authentically and passionately. Happiness comes from chasing your heart’s desire.
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