Does your life ever look like this?
You hit snooze too many times and leave your breakfast on the counter in your rush to get to work on time. You’re behind on that project that’s due Friday, so you work through lunch. When you finally escape the office, you realize that you don’t have anything planned for dinner, so you run into the grocery store with no real idea of what you’re looking for. By the time you get home, you’re hungry, frazzled, and just ready to collapse on the couch with a glass of wine and last night’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
Do you wish your life looked more like this?
You wake up at your own pace. Enjoy your coffee while listening to a new episode of This American Life and getting ready for the day. Your projects are all on target or ahead, so you’re able to take your time to make sure the work is done right. It’s a nice day, so you take your lunch outside and catch up with a friend. You hit the gym on your way home. Over the weekend you did the prep work for several meals, so all you need to do for dinner is throw everything together.
I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that what your life looks like and what you want your life to look like are not quite the same. That’s totally normal! Life would be boring if we always had everything we wanted!
I’ll go out on anther limb and guess that what you want your life to look like probably isn’t the same as what your neighbor wants their life to look like. And another limb (building quite the tree here), you probably both think of the life you want as better than the life you have. So, are you ready to start living better?
What does “better” mean?
Google defines “better” as “more excellent.” Doesn’t that sound great?! I totally want my life to be more excellent! As great as “better” and “excellent” sound though, they don’t really give any directions to get you there.
Pull up a mental picture of your better life. What makes it better? Are you healthier? More relaxed? Do you weigh more or less? Maybe it’s all of these things or something else entirely. Whatever it is, you can’t get to better until you know what your better looks like.
Write down the things about your physical health and wellness that will make your life better. This list is going to be your reference for not only living a better life but finding your best life. It will grow and change with you as you discover your best life. General things like “lose weight” are great, but the more specific and actionable you can be, the easier it will be to really make those changes!
I got stuck on the concept of “lose weight” for years. It’s a good thing to do if you have some extra weight to lose, but it doesn’t provide a direction. When I changed my mindset from “lose weight” to “exercise regularly” and “cook dinner at home” I suddenly had specific actions I could do that helped me to achieve that broader goal of losing weight!
What should I tackle first?
Let’s start with some weeding. Identify anything on your list that is outside of your control (like your height or the color of your eyes). Acknowledge it and put it aside. If you can’t do anything about it, there’s no point stressing about it.
Next, notice if there is anything on your list that is a super easy fix. Not loving your hairstyle? Go change it! Feel intimidated by the models on the covers of your magazines? Throw them away! If it will only take you a few minutes to change it, just change it and move on!
Now that you’ve taken care of the stuff that you can’t change and the stuff that was easy to change, you should have a list of things that are going to take some time and effort to change. These are the items that will take you from the life you have to the life you want.
This is the hard part. Look at what is left on your list and decide what is most important. Now ask yourself a question: “Am I really ready to put in the work to change this?”
If you’re not ready to put in the work, you’re not going to be successful right now. Maybe you need to ask why you’re not ready to put in the work. It could be something as simple as knowing that the next few weeks are going to be busy and you don’t feel like you can take on anything else. That’s fine! Look at your calendar and decide when you will have the time to work on this and (here’s the key) do it then. Write down the date that this busy period will be over next to that item and come back to it on that day.
If your “why not” is much more complicated than that, maybe you should choose something else to work on first and come back to that item later. It’s okay if you are not ready to change everything right now.
If you are ready to put in the work, congratulations! Now that you know what you want to change, you can start working towards it!
Start thinking about the smaller steps it will take to make your change and realize that this change is probably not going to happen overnight. It took you a while to get to where you are so it’s going to take a while to get to where you want to be.
It’s time to take those first steps towards living better. It’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to happen overnight. But how awesome will you feel tonight if you can go to bed knowing that you took a step toward a more excellent life?
What are you going to focus on changing? Leave a comment or send me an email so I know what to write next to help you out!