5 Simple Steps That Will Change Your Life Today.
We’re programmed to focus on what we don’t want and what we don’t have. There’s evidence that what I’m saying is true in the amount of lamenting we do- and we share it with our girlfriends, boyfriends, spouses, neighbors, coworkers and anyone else who will listen. You learned it early on from your parents or caregivers. Not only did you learn to complain about what’s wrong, your brain is wired to pay attention to what’s most salient. What’s often most salient is what needs your attention because it’s a problem that needs a solution. Your car broke down and you have to get to work. What you don’t have: a car that’s running, a way to get to work, the money to fix the car, time to deal with all this, time to create a backup plan and not be late for work. Or, what you don’t have: Mr. or Ms. Right. What you do have, that you don’t want: a string of relationships with men or women who play the martyr, need lots of flattery, are insecure, seem to be between jobs more than employed, have emotional attachment issues, drain your energy because you’re always tiptoeing on eggshells. What you have that you don’t want: 25 extra pounds and trouble running up a short flight of stairs. What you have that you don’t want: clothes that aren’t flattering, roots that need coloring, and shoes that say “spinster”. What you have that you don’t want: a job you force yourself to go to, aren’t getting rich doing and in which you put up with more rules and bullshit than you ever dreamed you would.
Maybe you’re living one of these situations or all of them. Your life seems to be full of stuff you tolerate, don’t like, or flat out hate. You don’t say the “H” word. But your life is full of stuff you wish you could wave a wand and change. You don’t even know how you arrived in this place.
There are a few reasons you’re where you are. I know you want to know why you’re this way.
1. You’re a nice person.
2. You’ve taken care of others since you were a kid. (Necessary then, now it’s normal and makes you feel needed.)
3. You’re a self-sacrificing people pleaser (I mean that’s what makes people like you, right?)
4. You’re a hard worker, so working hard even if you’re not getting anything out of it is entrenched.
5. You stick with what’s familiar even if it’s not what you want or good for you.
6. You’re an optimist. You believe in fairy tales coming true- for other people.
7. You learned this way of life-to focus on the problems, to be conservative and not to dream too big- from your early role models.
8. You feel selfish, self-centered, egotistical and narcissistic saying no and taking care of yourself.
9. You’re too drained from 1-5 to have time, money or energy left to change things.
10.You didn’t realize you could change your life by changing your mind. No one’s ever told you how to get what you want (and not what you don’t).
You attract a few people like you and a slew of narcissists. Narcissists easily spot prey: pushovers, easy-going types and willing givers. They look like goldfish but are really piranha.
So how do you get what you want, especially if you don’t know exactly what that is?
1. Start with what it isn’t. Then invert it. Here’s a few examples.
a. What I don’t want is another selfish narcissist. Inverted: I want someone who is humble and considerate. I want someone who will give me what I need and want and I will do the same for them.
b. What I don’t want is a job that sucks the life out of me. If you turn this around so it’s what you do want: I want a job where I feel energized, enthusiastic, and appreciated for my skills, knowledge and personality. I want a job that is fun, with great people who get along well, and everyone is an important part of the team. I want a job that pays me well and has a flexible schedule, work from home and is family oriented with great values.
c. What I don’t want is to weigh this much and feel uncomfortable in my own skin. I don’t want to be unhealthy. I don’t want to have a bunch of health issues and be on medication. Inverted: I want to feel great. I want to be able to move around easily and skip up a flight of stairs without gasping for air. I want to be able to get off medication and feel great in the clothes I want to wear. I want to make sure I’m healthy so I will be able to enjoy my grandkids.
2. Look for clues about what you do want.
a. Who are the people you look up to (role models) and why do you look up to them? These can be people you know or people you don’t know.
b. What did you want to be when you were a kid? What did you secretly want to study in college, but didn’t? Who has a job you’d love to do also?
c. What do you love and like? What would you like to do and have more of?
d. What do you like about yourself and what are your strengths?
e. If you had a fairy godmother what would you have her create for you with a wave of her wand?
3. Determine what you want vs. DOPE (doing other people’s expectations). Do, be and have what’s so you; fuck off with the rest. If your using “should” in a sentence, it’s DOPE (not in a good way) and it’s your sign that it needs the heave ho. Should indicates you don’t want to or aren’t ready to do it.
4. Focus on what you want. Be relentless about it. Decide you will. Commit to it. Work at it every day. Believe you will get it.
a. Write post it notes with affirmations, triggers and cues.
b. Create a vision board with pictures and sayings that state what you want and reflect how you want to feel and look.
c. Write what happens if you do get it? How does that feel? What happens if you don’t get it? How does that feel. Regret can be a major motivator.
5. Set boundaries that support your goals, dreams and ambitions and stick to them like your life depends on it. Your happiness certainly does.
a. Limit your time or eliminate spending time with anyone who doesn’t support where you’re going. Really, it’s ok. They sucked the life out of you anyway.
b. If it isn’t directly related to achieving your big goal in the shortest time possible, DON’T DO IT. No ifs, ands or buts. I could not be more serious about that. Don’t be tempted by requests of your time, energy or money based on any of these: (1) being good at it (2) being the only one volunteering to do it or it doesn’t happen (3) you can do it quicker/easier than someone else (4) it’ll be done correctly if you do it (5) you’re being a team player/good friend/room mom/team mom (6) you’ll get recognized or, God forbid, a shiny certificate for doing it. Feeling significant based on all those things lights up your dopamine pathway just thinking about it. Hence, the automatic “yes” response. Here’s what else lights up that pathway, creating a life you ridiculously love.
c. Get straight about when you’re in squirrel mode and when you’re taking steps that get you to the finish line by the most efficient and effective path. If you’re not sure whether you’re scattering nuts or leading a wolf pack, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m an expert at knowing the difference.
I understand contemplating your existence. Why am I here? What’s my purpose? I also get why you would examine what you’ve done so far. Those things are human nature, especially if you’re at an introspective time in the lifespan. You have a purpose. I’m sure of it. You’re overcomplicating it in your head. Look for clues instead. The only good thing about pondering the past is learning the lessons offered by it. Ruminating, lamenting and punishing yourself for it is a giant waste of time. Those will never do anything remotely useful for you or any goals you might have. Literally, let it go, today.
Get out of your head. Do the work. Start with the steps above. And GET GOING.
Your life you ridiculously love, more than your man, your shoes and your mom…is waiting.