You drag yourself out of bed in the morning to get ready for work. You dodge in and out of traffic as if you're playing Frogger on your way to work. You slog your way through the day, Frogger your way back home, and plop down on the couch because you're too tired to do anything else. Late into the evening you drag yourself to bed, set your alarm and prepare to do it all over again tomorrow.
That's called a life of surviving not a life of living.
You decide you want to make changes, you go at them with gusto, and then you crash and burn.
More than likely you took on way too much at once.
I know this all too well...because I've done it and I'm here to tell you, friend, that crashing and burning is not pretty. I imagine you're shaking your head in agreement because you have been there too.
As I have gotten older, I feel like I'm doing a better job of learning from my mistakes rather than being doomed to repeat them over and over. The best lesson I've learned is the power of ONE, as in ONE new challenge ONLY.
Depending on what season of life I happen to be in, I look at my categories of relationships, health and wellness, and career to determine where I'm in dire need of a shift.
Sometimes it's challenging because I feel like all three areas need an overhaul, but if I attempt to tackle all three areas at once then I fail at all three. Crash and burn, need I say more?
To eliminate crashing and burning, these are the steps I take to have a better success rate.
#1: Pros and Cons
It sounds easy enough but we don't often sit down and really sort through the pros and cons. We get excited and think an area of our lives is deficient, but then we realize it's something that has happened recently that has put us in a panic rather than taking a step back to see the entire picture.
To combat panic mode, make a pros and cons list. Write down all that is going well in an area and then all that is maybe not so great. Do that for each of the areas in your life that you are categorizing.
Like I said earlier, I have three general areas: relationships, health and wellness, and career. However, I break each area down into their subcategories. For examples, under relationships the three subcategories are family, friends, and colleagues. Under health and wellness I have spiritual, mental, and physical. Under career I have primary (9-5 job) and secondary (writing side hustle).
Is doing this time consuming? It absolutely is the first time through, but once you've completed the pros and cons once then you tweak the list the next time you find yourself in a rough spot.
Once you have completed a pros and cons list for each of your sub categories, look to see which one has the most cons. Usually there will be one that pops out at your overwhelmingly even though you initially thought it was three or four.
That area becomes your priority.
I do have two areas that popped out, both in the category of health and wellness in the sub category of physical. My husband and I have agreed that since we have downsized to an apartment and are currently adjusting to my new work schedule that we haven't been exercising or eating as well as we could be.
Both are very important in our physical health but after completing the pros and cons list and taking a step back, exercise came out on top.
#3: Determine a plan of action and then execute.
After determining exercise was our plan of action, we came up with a plan for improving our physical health in this area. We are going to walk 30 minutes daily and I am going to add lifting weights back in 2-3 days a week.
Our walks will take place as soon as I get home from work on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. We will walk before I go to work on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and then our flex days will be Sundays and Mondays since we are both off on those days.
As for weights, I will do them on Mondays, Thursdays, and Sundays.
Although I am just putting the plan into place this week, the keys will be execution (obviously) and reflection (maybe not so obvious).
I'm a big believer in reflecting on what I am doing. It gives me a chance to determine what is going well and how I can improve on a plan of action I'm currently engaged in. I don't change my goal if it isn't going well. I simply change my plan of action or tweak it to give myself a higher chance of being successful.
What happens when I achieve my current goal? Only when I have successfully made one goal a habit will I move on to a new one.
And then the process begins once more.
As it should.
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.