We dream of things being different, and it’s frustrating to feel so far away from that possible future. When our daily steps don’t match our values. Anything which blocks our sense of progress towards our best self, feels stressful and overwhelming. Be that a known obstacle to a goal, or not knowing how exactly to reach a life where we are more fulfilled.
We all have changes we want to make, and there are hundreds, if not thousands of ways to set ‘smart’ goals, choose focus ‘words’, organise our time or work on visualisation to walk the path towards that potential.
Before we start thinking about changes, let’s spend a few moments thinking about how we define our situation.
What Changes To Make?
So often, when asked about goal-setting or making changes to how we feel, think, or behave, we focus on an end-result, an accomplishment of some description. We think about ‘reaching the end,’ and often this image has a sense of being effortless.
However, thinking about how we define our current state, we’re likely thinking about the last few days or weeks. What we did each day, how much energy we lacked, or how many things we didn’t get done.
We judge our present based on the day-to-day experience. What steps did you take today, towards that final goal?
What we want isn’t always some ‘outcome’ but actually for our days in the future to just feel lighter; for the experience of living to be that bit better.
So in reality, to make changes to that daily feeling, we need to look at our day’s current structure.
A Daily Steps Check-list:
1. Did anything today give you a sense of progress towards your best self?
List any actions or events which brought you to life, got your passions going or at least brought about relief at being accomplished. Even those tiny daily steps count.
2. What zapped your energy today?
Think about the activities you did or the thoughts you focused on which left you feeling drained, panicked or overwhelmed. List them out separately, and if there are any you can remove: do so! You may need to think about if you could do them less often, or if you could swap these tasks with another person. We’ll come back to this list later.
3. Focus on values.
What sense would you like in future days? Would you choose a sense of motivation, perhaps more energy to complete tasks or just feeling free to breathe in between various tasks? Think about the values of the activities you listed for question 1, and see if any themes come up.
4. Think about pace.
Although some things may be out of our control, when trying to fit everything in, we can sometimes make decisions that squeeze us for time, or that we know aren’t going to serve us well one those days. Think about the pace of each day when making plans, especially if you’re able to ‘tone down’ some activities. For example, coffee with a friend may take too much time with travel, but when you decline, offer a 30-minute phone call to catch up as an alternative plan.
5. Shape your future days.
How would the day look, if you had more energy, more freedom or were making regular progress? Schedule an ‘ideal’ day like a diary, and notice if any of those aspects could sneak their way into your current days. For example, if an ideal day begins with 15 minutes of meditation, can you put a 1-minute mindfulness practice into place tomorrow morning?
In order to change our future, we need to look at how we live each day.
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