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Why You Need to Make a Life Plan

life plan photo

Do you have a life plan? Have you ever thought about how to make a life plan? Most people haven’t, but they should.

We are not talking about a 50-page business plan with maps and checklists. A life plan is really just meant to be general summary of where you are now in all the areas that matter to you, where you want to improve and what you’d like your life to look like in the future.

Don’t be scared off by the title. It may sound ominous, but creating a life plan does not need to be a difficult or lengthy process. It’s worth an hour to get the life we want, instead of chasing the wrong things and working hard, only to find that we have been following the wrong path.

How would you rate your life? – Are you satisfied with the way your life is right now? Somewhat satisfied? Not at all satisfied? The answer is for your eyes only. No one else needs to know. Be honest.

What is going on in your life now? – Briefly summarize the current state of your life. Consider your health, career, relationships, finances, spirituality, and emotional well-being. Add any other areas of life that are important to you. Don’t take too much time with this. Just write down what your life is like right now.

What makes you happy? – Think about what you enjoy. Think about things that are going well in your life. Include activities, people, and situations that bring you joy, satisfaction, or just make you laugh.

What are the happiness drains? – Pinpoint the drains on your energy and happiness.Determine what people, behaviors, choices or situations cause stress, anxiety, or a negative mood. We all have life toxins; people or things that suck the life out of us like vampires draining our life force.

What isn’t working in your life? – Think about where you want to improve. Identify your obstacles to living a fulfilling and happy life. Consider the lingering challenges in your life; health, fitness, weight, lack of organization, an unsatisfying or dead-end job, a difficult or damaging relationship. Perhaps, you simply need to manage your stress better, get more balance, or just learn to laugh again.

What would your ideal life look like? – Describe in detail what kind of life would truly make you happy to get out of bed in the morning. Describe what you would be doing, whom you would be with, and how you would be feeling. Be honest and be clear. It’s important to be really clear about what you really want in your future.

What do you need to do to get that life? – Think about what needs to happen for you to get from where you are now, to where you want to be. It doesn’t have to be a detailed action plan right now, just some general goals or ideas to work toward. You can get more detailed later, but you need to define a target. Consider what habits you’d like to adopt or whatways you might change your attitude or environment.

More food for thought

What do you really want to accomplish in this life?

What kind of person do you want to be?

What is most important to you in life?

Why do you want whatever it is that you want?

How would you like to be remembered?

What will your life be like if you never change the way it is right now?

Post originally written for lifehack.org

Photo by TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³

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When Even the Best Intentions Go Awry

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It happens to all of us I think… You think you’re doing everything right, then life slaps you down with very rude, “Ha! And you thought you were in the driver’s seat…Wrong!” It happens. It sucks. But it happens.

You suddenly find yourself on this shaky ground of “What the heck happened?” What do you do?

Well, that’s both personal and circumstance driven. Your “what to do” may be different than mine. And it’s most definitely different if you’ve lost your job than if you’ve lost a loved one, when you’re going through a divorce or dealing with a health crisis, and so on.

Retreat. Rethink. Regroup. Reframe. Revise. Renew. Revive. Start over.

I share this as sort of a roundabout way of shining a light on a dilemma we all face while explaining my rather sparse and sporadic posting and social media presence over the last month or two. Yes, happened to me too.

Long story short:

A very healthy, rarely sick, energetic “doer,” (that’s me,) finds she has disappeared and in her place is a very sick, barely functional human with some strange unexplained affliction. This is the point in life’s smack down when we finally realize, that yes, this is actually happening to us.

Fast forward a few (actually more than a few) months of tests, research, meds, medicinal herbs and various supplements and there seems to be some measure of improvement, but not truly getting better, certainly not back to fully functional.

So, doctor’s orders: Rest, rest, rest, no work, no exercise, no stress…

My response: Are you kidding me? I don’t think I know how to do that!

This was followed by much complaining, rationalizing, bargaining, resisting… The usual response when we find ourselves in circumstances we desperately don’t want to be in…

After the dirt settles we realize that we only have two choices:
Bite the bullet and do whatever needs to be done no matter how difficult or uncomfortable it is…
Or drift along in victim mode.

No choice really.

So…What do I do?

I chose Retreat, Rethink, and Renew.

Go to bed early, take naps, yoga, a bit of walking, meditate, disconnect as much as possible, radically eliminate and minimize, let many things slide, basically stop working (hence the sporadic blog posts,) and ask for help.

Is it hard? Incredibly so.

Is it working? Slowly, but yes.

What comes next? I have absolutely no idea.

We’ve all heard this before…Change or die.

Pretty much sums it up. Sometimes literally. Sometimes figuratively.

How about you…When life smacks you down, what do you do?

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Are We Cheating Ourselves of Quality?

 

Often, in the pursuit of quantity we cheat ourselves of quality. Then again, quantity also plays a significant role in our lives. Certain elements, such as hugs, kisses, abundance, and love, are best had in copious amounts that are high in quality.
But faced with the choice between a single, heartfelt grin and a lifetime of empty smiles, most would, no doubt, choose the former. Ultimately, it is not how much you live or have or do but what you make of each moment that counts. ~DailyOm

So true. So true. But often forgotten in our hectic race for…what? I’m not sure we know…

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On Sharing Your Genius…

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We all have a genius within us and when one of us doesn’t develop or use our special gift, a cosmic void takes place.

Originally posted on DailyOm…So spot on that I had to share…

Each of us is born with a specific genius that was bestowed upon us so we can do our part to make this world a better place. All of us have a role that we’re uniquely suited for. Imagine our planet without trees, oceans, or clouds. In this same way, when one of us doesn’t develop or use our special gift, a cosmic void takes place.

This unique talent or ability may be hidden from your own sight like a golden treasure buried under shifting sands. Often, we spend so much time dazzled by the talents of others that we can overlook our own gifts. It may even be that our unique ability is something we view negatively. Perhaps we find it difficult concentrating on any one subject for long; meanwhile, others are thrilled by our ability to weave various ideas throughout our conversations.

Or, you might think of yourself as “frivolous,” when it’s likely your charming approach to life casts a light of inspiration that others can’t help but follow. It’s important for all of us to try to find our special gift and discover how we can best express it. Ask others to name what they think is your most overlooked talent or character trait. Their answers may change your life.

Explore these riches that are yours to express, and you may find yourself helping others discover and develop their own blessings. Acknowledge and appreciate the gifts you see in those around you. Tell your neighbor that loves to garden how much her green thumb enlivens the whole block. Thank your coworker for always greeting your days together with a smile. Tell your close friends that their ability to listen makes your world a better place.

Our unique gifts are like golden rays of expression that can encircle the world with light.

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Get Your Dose of Calm the Easy Way: By Watching

Rippling_Pool_Water_Close_Up_by_artzgirl

I’m all about doing things the easy way. I used to be all about the hard way – though I didn’t think of it that way – but I’m reforming. Life’s too short.

So back to the calm thing. “Stay calm.” “Calm down.” and the ever-present “Keep calm.” The key to lowering stress is to cultivate calm we’re told – meditate, yoga, hobbies, fun…

But sometimes it just seems like one more thing on the to-do list. Maybe it’s just me, but some days I just don’t have the energy…

So I’ve decided when I need a dose of calm, I’m going to try “observing calm.”

I like to sit on the deck and watch the water ripple in the pool. I never swim in the pool, ever. (the kids do) But still something about the water is calming. So instead of berating myself for not “doing” swimming (the hard way,) I’m going to just be content to sit and observe the calming effect of the water (the easy way.)

I’ve started to notice that I find my calm by “watching” the calm around me in other ways too. First, you have to look for it, but when you start noticing it, it’s everywhere.

Once I got started, it was kind of like a game. Let’s see where I can find it…

I notice the people walking their dogs and the kids playing hop scotch as I’m driving by (instead of getting caught up in what I have to do and where I have to go.)

I notice the clouds floating by and the birds outside the office window.

I notice the elderly man who is very patiently waiting in the store line.

I notice my dogs snoozing in the slice of sun without a care.

As I’ve begun to look for, “watch” for, these instances of calm, I see them all around me…though I never paid much attention to them before.

The terrific thing about this practice is that it doesn’t take any extra time out of my schedule and I don’t actually have to “do” anything, but somehow the calm rubs off on me anyway.

It’s an easy win…and who doesn’t love that.

So, while I’m not advocating giving up on meditation or yoga or journaling or whatever activities you find calming, what I am saying is that there are other ways to get your dose of calm – or an extra dose – when you need it.

As I’m working on reforming…I’m trying out a new philosophy…

Do whatever works for you (not necessarily the prescribed solution.)

And why not do it the easy way if you can. 

I challenge you today to give it a try and share what calm you’re “watching.”

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