Would you like to take a look on my agenda? Or the recent notes on my pad?
You wouldn’t need to read between the lines to realize that these days I find myself experiencing random moments, feeling mixed emotions on a constant basis. My ongoing to-do list, the tags on this blog, the outline of our upcoming book or the bookmarks on my laptop, everything reflects how varied is this stage of my life.
As much as work and unproductive distractions try to dominate the scene, there is much more out there and, most importantly, inside us. It is always important to keep in touch with all the relevant pieces of life that genuinely matter to us.
Writing a sympathy letter, fundraising for your favorite cause, requesting sponsorships for an entrepreneurial project, applying for that dream job, listening to that heartbroken friend, giving unsolicited advice to that teenager, remembering deadlines, anniversaries and birthdays, juggling your day-to-day with lifetime projects, keeping yourself updated about your interests and current news, while staying in shape and sane…Overwhelming, indeed, but it’s worth it. Everything shows that you care, not only about you, but also about others, and caring is the first move for giving and receiving love.
How can we do that?
I invite you to try this empirical exercise:
1. First, let’s divide our lives in areas.
Relationships, spirituality, health, lifestyle, career, finances…what would you add? Be aware that there might be aspects of your life that you are not taking into consideration and that might be just what you are missing.
Bonus Tip: If you need help or ideas to start, check out the goal-setting application Mindbloom, our dear contributor Laura Barboza introduced me to it years ago, and I cannot thank her enough.
2. Establish your priorities.
What goes first on your list? Yourself? God? Family? Work? Your partner? What are your big rocks?
What can’t you afford to lose? What can you live without? What is not negotiable? What is urgent? What could wait?
It’s never too late to start prioritizing in life, but ensure you begin before you learn some lessons the hard way.
3. Set specific goals for each area of your life.
Be healthy, spend more time with my loved ones, be more productive, get rid of debt…Our goals are often broad, take long to achieve and are difficult to measure. Set more specific goals with close deadlines that will take us where we want step-by-step while keeping us motivated with little triumphs along the way.
4. Identify the habits that serve your purposes.
Examine your everyday routine and answer: What do you spend your time, energy and attention on? Are you investing them in a beneficial and positive way? Are your current habits aligned to your purposes? If the answer to the last three questions is yes: Kudos! Keep going! If your answer is no, start reducing or eliminating those activities and substitute them with new habits that get you closer to your goals. Often, we don’t even enjoy certain habits, but we have had them for so long that we don’t realize their negative impact on us. Let’s be honest and complete the blank: We can live without____________________.
5. Plan your day and include one action towards each goal.
Now that we have established our priorities, set specific goals and identified the habits that we need to keep or eliminate, let’s take action and create opportunities to improve. How can we make our day better? What can we start doing today to change our lives? Let’s start right now! Breathe, stretch, choose to call instead of text, be proactive at work, pick a healthier selection for your next meal, find information about that project that you want to volunteer for, put that dollar bill in your piggy bank instead of the vending machine, ignore the urge to check your cell phone in public…everything counts!
6. Check often, be flexible, adjust, and celebrate!
Change doesn’t happen overnight, therefore during our journey to become and live better, we need to reflect and check how we are doing. If the results are not the expected ones, don’t quit. Be flexible, start again and keep going. Add or delete items from your list based on your current needs.
In case you find yourself checking off some of your goals already…Congrats! Be grateful and celebrate! Whoop! Whoop!
I recommend you these six steps because I have tried them and they work for me.
I feel better now, living a fuller life after adding the positive details that I craved for years and I keep looking, because no matter how full we think our jar of life is, there is always room for improvement.
How do you do it? Do you have other ideas? I would love to know, please comment below.
Your tireless cheerleader,