Are you so caught up in being busy, doing what you do, making a living and paying off all the bills for the “stuff” you have, that you forgot to design the lifestyle you truly want to have?
You’re not alone.
We all let life control us in some ways.
We fall into a career and stick with it because it’s all we know. We accept relationships because of the longevity we have invested in them. We accept the stuff in our lives because the outside world tells us we need those things to survive.
But if you start peeling them away, one by one, you’ll find a very interesting thing happens. You start asking better questions. You start looking at yourself through different eyes. You start discovering the real you. You start connecting with yourself in a more meaningful way.
Look at your life right now:
Physical Health – Are you your ideal weight? Do you exercise regularly? Do you eat right? Are you suffering from ailments you can control?
Mental Health – How is your life balance? Do you take care of you? Do you put personal time in your days to make sure you have well-being in your life?
Love and Relationships – How close are your intimate relationships? Do you give the people around you what you wish to receive? Are you taken for granted? Are you lacking? Do you wish for things to change?
Productivity and Performance – How organized are you? Do you get results when you do things? Are you doing what you most like to do? Do you stay busy just for the sake of being busy, or do you have end goals in mind?
Career and Business – Are you doing what you’ve always wanted to do? Have you achieved levels in your career or business that you have set up for yourself? Can you do what you’re doing now for years to come?
Wealth – Is your financial life giving you the freedom to do what you choose to do? Are you saddled with debt or do you control temptations? Are you well prepared financially for everything in the future: retirement, college for the kids, unexpected speedbumps, etc?
Giving Back – We all like to feel needed in this world. What are you doing to give back? How solid are your goals for what you choose to give or create? How will you participate in the world throughout your life?
Where are your strengths? Where are your weaknesses? Where can you build? Where can you grow?
What can you do?
1. Start by recognizing your weaknesses
Walking through the seven life areas above, you probably recognized an area or two that is weaker than the rest. Have you ignored these areas?
Don’t worry; we’ve all been there it before.
Maybe you realize your relationship with your spouse has been slowly falling apart. You’ve ignored it, hoping to have more time in the future to make it a priority.
Or maybe you’ve watched your bank accounts dwindle away after a pay cut or a job loss. Expenses always far outweigh income, and you just can’t make it all work. You hope to be able to fill your savings and retirement accounts in the future, but for now ignoring is the only thing you do.
Recognition is your first step in making a change. Only when you admit your weakness and get serious about changing will real change occur.
2. Take action
Continuing down the same path will never give you new results. Only if you commit to bringing about change will it occur.
If you want a better relationship with your spouse, you have to spend more time together working on your relationship. Weekly dates where you digitally detox and dedicate one-on-one time with each other can help to see each other in a new light. Communication will help you see the situation through each other’s eyes. In some cases, a mediator will help you break through. You have to take action to get results.
Waiting for someone else to change, or the economy to get better, or your kids to move out, or a new job to come your way, or … None of that will ever work. It only works when YOU decide to take action and do so in a positive way that propels you into a new environment.
3. Create a vision
We’ve all heard the analogy of climbing the corporate ladder. But what if you find out the ladder was leaning the wrong direction from the very beginning, and you’re twenty years into your career? Frustrating. All of a sudden you are in midlife unhappy, miserable in a job you hate, and twenty more years ahead of you before you can even ponder retirement.
So you make a plan. “I’m going to get a new job.” You start sending out resumes and take another job in a similar field. And you hate it all the more.
Plans don’t work. Plans are simply another word for your to-do list. They are short sighted tasks that make a change in your life without discovering if it’s the true change you are looking for.
It’s important to move beyond planning and create a vision instead. Plans change. They move, change, grow, adjust. But a vision is where you choose to go in this life. It’s a strategy for your life, not just the details you fill in along the way.
Your vision gives you the end destination. It tells you what your life will look like when the pieces fall into place.
You can create a plan to write a book. But that doesn’t show you how your new dreams fit into your long term goals.
You see yourself as a writer, with twenty books to your name, a best seller on several lists, enough royalty money to travel around the world. Fans in every port, connections that allow you to create sales whenever you desire.
That’s your vision. That’s how you change your life. That’s how you adjust who you are today and what you’ll do in the coming years and decades.
That’s how you bring real change into your life.
Tony Robbins has a saying:
Most people overestimate what you can do in a year, and they underestimate what they can do in a decade.
Here’s my challenge to you this week:
Where do you stand today? What is your vision? What do you choose to accomplish in the next decade?