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What to do when you want to improve your life

17 May, 2021

How do you define possibility? 

This definition has stuck with me: standing in curiosity, sensing, and creating the future.

Growing up, I was curious about everything – like every child. I loved to learn about space and dinosaurs, go on bike ride adventures and visit new places. Try new foods, experiment with clothes, and dye my hair. I also loved and still do love art. I would spend so much time looking through books, experimenting in the print room, visiting galleries to see what it felt like to see real art I’d seen in books in real life. 

As I got older and focused more on the career ladder, I started to lose this sense of curiosity. I was much more focused on how to get from A-B in as much time as possible. Things outside of this part of life felt like ‘time-wasting.’ I would often think, “I don’t have time for that anymore.” I used my non-work life to socialise, eat and drink (and often far too much of the latter!) 

As time went on, the knock-off effects of this lifestyle started taking its toll on my health in several ways. It’s funny (well, amusing now I’ve overcome it) to look back and see myself as the person that didn’t take the time to prioritise their health. I wanted a quick fix, and when it didn’t work, I looked outwards for the next thing, it felt like a never ending cycle and it was always going to be this way. I never felt like it was my doing. I thought it was happening to me rather than because of me and how I lived my life.

Fast forward ten years, and I am not even close to that person I was. 

The pivotal moment of change was when I stepped outside of myself (my current lifestyle, habits, routines) and stood in curiosity. I let go of what I knew and was open to what I didn’t. 

I had that light-bulb moment. What I was doing no longer worked for me anymore and I wanted to change and improve my life:

My go-to ways to unwind didn’t energize me; they drained me. 

My work was no longer serving my purpose. 

My non-work life was becoming repetitive and didn’t motivate me. 

My ‘healthy diet’ was depriving me rather than nourishing me.

My go-to exercise routine…well, it didn’t exist.

It was like going back in time to childhood, but with a wiser head and heart. Standing in curiosity took me above and beyond anything I thought was possible.

Today I’m aware that my beliefs, assumptions, and past experiences can limit my view, so whenever I feel my reality is ‘fixed,’ I know this is the time to stop and expand my curiosity. 

A fixed reality is when you have an awareness of the state of things and the inability to change or shift this reality. 

To help you determined a fixed reality, you can ask yourself:

  • Where do I feel stuck?
  • Where do I know something needs to change, but I don’t know how to approach it or have approached it and haven’t experienced change?
  • What are the beliefs I’ve created that are limiting my future?

It can be challenging to confront what answers come up – however, this awareness of fixed reality is the first step to finding out what is possible for you!

The next step is to ignite curiosity by creating a unicorn brainstorm, and it’s simple. Start with an idea and continue to say, “wouldn’t it be cool if…”

Please don’t respond with no; let your answers flow; they will surprise you. Write everything down, and nothing is off-limits. 

This exercise is most effective when you do it with someone else as it also helps you hold yourself accountable to keep going with it. It can be easy to stop once fears or self-doubt start to kick in. Don’t let that stop you. If you haven’t got someone to do this with, begin with your brainstorm on your own, set a timer for 10 minutes, and have fun with it!

Now you have your ideas on the page, circle the things that stand out to you, focus on the things you would love to find out are possible for your life.

Consider how important is it to you to make this change? And, why? 

Then consider these three questions and find out how ready you are to turn these ideas into goals: 

On a scale of 1-10 (1 being not ready, 10 being fully ready)

Q1: How ready are you to make this change? Why did you decide on this number?

Q2: How ready were you three months ago? Has anything changed? 

Q3: What would you rate your confidence to succeed? ____ if it’s not a 10, what would need to change to get it there? 

Repeat with the ideas you’ve circled, and then choose the one you feel most ready to start turning in your reality and set it as a goal.

Setting goals to improve your life:

Goals are to help focus us, to challenge us to go all in, shape our future and support you to live with meaning, purpose, and passion. 

The way that you write a goal sets you up for success. To do this, focus on these three essential elements: reach, define, and time. 

Reach:

Your goal should stretch you (in a good way) through effort and commitment. Difficult but possible is key!

Define:

Write your goal using definitive language with enough detail to know what success looks like in your life. You need to know when you can tick it off. 

Using “I will…” to start your goal expresses a strong intention about the future with determination and drive.

Time:

Set a date to have it completed. The ideal completion date is roughly between 6 and 18 months. This time frame keeps you feeling actively engaged.

Consider if your goal is an achievement goal (can be ticked off once completed or a continuous goal (habit-forming).

If you have a habit-forming goal (continuous goals), decide how often you’ll do it and when you’ll start.

Start by writing down 1-3 goals that will support you to improve your life.

Framework:  

I will___________________________ starting/ by__________ 

Examples:

I will set up a side hustle by July 21.

I will complete a marathon race by October 21.

I will write in my gratitude journal daily for 90 days, starting June 21. 

 

“The proper role of goals is to liberate us, so that we can enjoy the here and now.” – Tal Ben Shahar

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