The Most Important Step...


So… what’s missing? How does your awesome day differ from your typical days now? How big are the gaps? The first time I imagined my awesome day my gaps felt gigantic. I put together a vision of what I wanted my life to look and feel like and I had a hard time believing I could get there.

Looking back, my expectations were so low… I really just wanted to feel good every day and to bring my passions for loving and connecting meaningfully with people back into my life. How did I do it? I made little changes… I did small things every day that made me feel good and used my passions for loving and connecting with others. Before I knew it I was living the way I imagined… and then I started to imagine again.

My vision evolved and continues to evolve. Today my vision looks much different than it did that first day… the elements of my first vision are there, but my vision has significantly expanded. The key: I never would be where I am now if I didn’t take that first step to imagine, identify what was missing, and take small steps in the direction of my first vision. The first tiny step made all the difference in my life… when we have a vision the first step is the most important step because it makes all other steps possible...

There are all kinds of reasons our lives aren’t where we want them to be… we have beliefs that limit us that we need to address. However, there are small actions we can take now that move us in the directions of our visions and help us see that we can make progress as we address our beliefs.

This week we’re taking the first steps towards our awesome days!

Go back to the exercise from week 1 (click here for the post) and ask yourself the following questions about how your life operates now:

·      Where are my opportunities in each day to spend my time differently (assuming nothing else changes like my work)?

·      Who do I interact with on a daily basis?

·      When and where in my day do I come into contact with people I don’t know?

·      What parts of my day are most stressful?

·      What parts of my day aren’t stressful?

·      What are the most enjoyable parts of my day?

·      What varieties of experiences do I have in my day?

·      How do I learn about new things in my day?

·      What parts of my day am I doing things that I want to do?

·      What parts of my day am I doing things that others want me to do? (Focus on time spent doing things others want me to do for them, not things that others need me to do for them.)

All of the items above offer unique opportunities for small changes. What follows are examples:

·      Free time: We all have free time. We might not feel like we do, but we do. There are always things that will demand our time and we choose how to respond to the demands. A great small change is to re-allocate 30 minutes of time each day to something that is currently missing in our lives.

·      People I interact with: Am I making the most of these interactions? How do I feel about the interactions? Am I happy with how I treat others? A great small change is to treat people differently and in ways that reflect how we want to feel and make others feel.

·      Interacting with strangers: Many times we are oblivious to the people around us and are totally enthralled in what we’re doing. Think about the grocery store… do you observe and engage others or go through the store shut off to others? A great small change is to simply smile at others and experience how good it feels to connect and make others feel good.

·      Stressful times: Are there times of the day that are habitually stressful? For some the morning is always a mad dash, which is no way to start the day. A great small change is to do a little thing that will make a stressful time less stressful, like getting things prepared for the next morning the night before, getting up 15 minutes earlier, and having food ready to eat so it doesn’t have to be prepared.

·      Non-stressful times: Are there times of the day that aren’t stressful at all? If so, that is great! Do these times offer opportunities to add something to make these times even more enjoyable and fun? For example, you can add something music or listening to an interesting web or pod cast?

·      Enjoyable parts of my day: Is there anything I can do to make these enjoyable times even better? Is there something missing in my life that I can add to my enjoyable times?

·      Varieties of experiences: Do I have different experiences each day? If not this is a place to make some change… when everything is the same all the time we stagnate. Small changes like new food, driving to a familiar place in a different way, changing a workout routine, going to a new store, and checking out a different coffee shop help us get out and feel more excited about life.

·      Learning: Maybe something that’s missing is learning something new. A lot of times we don’t spend much time learning and this creates a big void… something missing. Allocating some time to learning… even if it’s just 15 minutes of reading before bed… can be powerful.

·      Doing what I want to do: Think hard and if you feel like you aren’t doing anything you want to do in your typical day, this is a place for a change. Be honest with yourself… how are you choosing to spend your time? There have to be some minutes to allocate to do something you want to do…

·      Doing what others want me to do (but don’t need me to do): Here’s the big one. Many of us spend all kinds of time doing things others want us to do. There’s a hard truth… many times we are doing these things because we’re hiding from the things we know we need to do to be happy. Challenge yourself here… what part are you playing in this? Thinking about the time you spend doing things others want you to do with the intention to change this over time… this change in mindset is a great small change that starts to build personal accountability…

The last bullet on this list was a game changer for me… when I was finally honest with myself I realized that I was using the time I spent doing things others wanted me to do as a big excuse for not doing the hard things I needed to do… I was hiding! What happened when I changed how I spent my time? Others were happy for me because I was happier!

A couple things before you leave…

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