Tag Archives: life steps

How to Get Where You Want to Be in Life

Getting where you want to be in life seems hard and confusing sometimes, doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to. It’s quite similar to using your computer or GPS system to guide you from one location to the next.

There are a couple of basic requirements for GPS to work. You need to know where you’re starting from, and where you plan to go. The more specific, the better. You can say you want to travel from Chicago to San Francisco and get most of the necessary directions. If you add specific addresses to both locations, you have a plan that takes you from door to door. How simple is that?

You have your own ability to go from one place in your life to another. It’s called your Inner Global Positioning System (GPS). It has the same basic requirements as the auto GPS; you still need to know where you are and where you want to go.

This question, however is a bit more involved. Not all of us know where we are, or where we want to go. Your Inner GPS can’t give you any help without this information. You are at a standstill, or you are lost.

What does it mean to know where you are now? This involves asking some tough questions and giving honest answers. Start by taking stock of your life in these areas:

  • Career/work
  • Family life
  • Education
  • Finances
  • Health
  • Relationships
  • Spirituality

 

Think back 3, 5 or 10 years and ask yourself, “Where did I hope to be right now in these areas?”. If you regularly set goals for yourself, this should be fairly easy to determine. If you don’t set goals, or write New Year’s Resolutions, you may not have a yardstick to use as a measure.

This is a critical first step to calibrating your Inner GPS. Even if you have goals or life plans, updating them every 6 months or so is an excellent habit to keep you on track, as you never know when construction detours by way of unforeseen circumstances (lost work, sickness, divorce, etc.) can impact what you want for your life.

Take some time and write down where you are in your life right now. If you don’t know where you are, you won’t know how to get to your desired goals! Make this a priority so you don’t wander aimlessly through life.

The next step is to know where you want to be with your life. Do you want to start a new career? Are you itching to live someplace warmer? Have you thought about your family size? What about feeling healthier and happier? What specifically do you want to accomplish in these areas?

These are the next questions you need to clarify. Using goals and visualizations in all areas can help you stay focused on getting you going in the right direction. The clearer you are about your plan, the easier for your Inner GPS to lead the way, and show you the steps to take to get there.

It’s time now for you to turn on the GPS and start taking steps to your ideal life. Start today, don’t look back 3 years from now and say, “I wish I had started sooner”. For more help, see some of my other articles on Goal Setting on my website.

Enjoy, and may all your traffic lights be green!


Get Out of Your Way, and Be Awesome

 

You are your own worst critic.

Do you believe this to be true for you? If you aren’t sure, take a day or two and pay attention to the voice inside your head and what it says about you. See if any of these sound familiar for you. “Why did you do that?” “Don’t look in the mirror, it’s disgusting”. “Idiot, why didn’t you speak up?” On and on, right?

Chances are you’ve been saying these things to yourself for so long you may not even pay attention to the voice any more. That doesn’t mean it isn’t there, happily piling on the bad feelings and guilt for you to swallow and to confirm, yet again, that you indeed are not special, or beautiful, or talented, or smart, or whatever you feel you may be lacking. Ugh, does it have to be like this?

…choose wisely, and you will have another FAN for life!
…choose wisely, and you will have another FAN for life!

No it doesn’t. Do you know what’s great about this? You can also be your biggest fan. You don’t have to believe everything you hear about yourself, even if it comes from your own mind. Chances are it started out somewhere else. Perhaps you had a dream of becoming a world-class athlete, but those around you told you it wasn’t possible; you were too clumsy, or undisciplined, or tall, or short, or whatever they thought you were lacking to be successful. And over time you started to believe it; these people know better than you do, after all.

But do they? Who could possible know what you, in your heart of hearts, want to do with your life better than you? Nobody. Yet somewhere along the way, you may have let their opinions hijack your own dreams. Good news is it’s not too late to take back control of your own preferred life. Does that sound exciting? Or are you skeptical?

All it takes is a concerted effort to listen for the voice in your head, and when you hear the criticisms and put-downs, take a moment to stop, and do something different. It’s really only the breaking of a bad habit (talking negatively to yourself) and replacing it with a new, better habit (talking more positively to yourself).

As an example, let’s say you wanted to stop chewing your fingernails. In order to be successful, you could find something else to do instead of biting them, whenever the urge arises. For instance, you may chew on a piece of gum, or a hard candy, so your mouth is already busy, until the urge passes. Or, you could find a way to make the habit less desirable. Others have tried painting their nails, or even having fake nails attached to discourage the satisfaction of biting. Or, you could apply a pepper or vinegar or other un-tasty flavor either on or under your nails. Eventually, if you aren’t feeling rewarded for your behavior, you will stop desiring it, and ultimately no longer indulge.

Let’s apply this strategy to combat the negative voices in your head. Here are a variety of options. Pick one, or more, that works for you.

  • Start by listening to what you say to yourself, pay attention, and start catching the negative comments by saying “NO” whenever you hear them. The first step is finding the problem and acknowledging it. Write them down in a notebook throughout the day.
  • When you do hear one, take a moment to counter them with positive, encouraging statements. For instance, when you hear the voice tell you, “you might as well finish the ice cream, it’ll just be calling you the rest of the night”, you can say, “NO, I only need a taste to feel good. I can save the rest for another day.”
  • Write down the opposite statements. Every time you catch yourself saying something negative about yourself, stop and write it down. Then think of an opposite, better thought and say it out loud (or in your head if you’re in public). When you write the thoughts down, they are exposed, and you can see clearly how they are hindering your happiness and growth. You may keep a notebook filled with them and watch how they will change over time as you eliminate them.
  • You don’t have to be perfect. When you knock yourself down for being inferior, counter with, “I am doing the best I can, and learn to do this better every time.” Even Thomas Edison touted his successful inventions only came after thousands of failed attempts.
  • Find examples of past successes. When you hear yourself say you are ‘always this’ or ‘never do that’, stop and think about, or write down times in the past where you were successful at this, or something similar. You already know how to be better, reawaken this belief and find the criticism shrink away.
  • Start with your strengths. If you are unsure about your strengths, ask a few people whom you trust and have your best interests at heart. Armed with what they tell you are your amazing qualities, you can move ahead knowing that your thoughts are wrong. After all, if your best friend, who cares about you, believes that you are a fantastic problem-solver, and get along with anyone, who are you to disagree? Own it, and quiet the dissenting voices with a reminder when you hear them.

These are just a few ways to replace the critics in your head with tried and true fans. Try them all, or pick one and focus on success, until you feel good about you. I highly recommend writing down your experience, whichever strategies you use, because when you can see the change happening, you will be encouraged to keep going. You will be just as awesome as you thought you were as a kid.  Next, perhaps work on that habit of turning on the TV or you-tube, when you want to avoid doing something…Old habits are hard to break, but luckily not impossible.

 

 


How to Achieve Your Biggest Life Goals, One Step at a Time

 

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. – Lao Tzu
Wise words from 2500 years agoyet still ring true today.           

It may feel like that sort of journey to undertake the completion of a huge life goal, like climbing Mt. Everest or getting an MBA. And it rightly is a feat to be proud to achieve. How do you make it happen with all the life going on around you, stealing your precious time and energy?

Like any goal or plan you have had in your life, and following Lao Tzu’s tenet, you take it one step at a time. Think about it. Really, think of a time in your past when you accomplished something important. How did you do it? Did you wake up one morning and say, “I think I’ll buy a house today “? And then complete it before turning in that evening? Doubtful, unless you carry enormous amounts of cash around and are easy to please. There are tasks or mini steps which when completed naturally lead to the next task until you reach the final destination, right? And you have successfully proven your ability to do this with one or more life goals already.

Big life goals are no different. The absolute hardest part of accomplishing any goal is taking that FIRST STEP. What is that first step for you, then? Knowing what you want to accomplish. Do you need to start looking for programs in mountain climbing? Or figure out what training is required to become a forensic investigator? Or map out the steps to get into a MBA program? Whatever it is, once you have the end goal in mind, back up and write out the mini-steps you need to do to reach that destination.

  • When buying a house you had to:
  • Contact lenders to be pre-qualified for a maximum loan amount.
  • Find a Realtor.
  • Locate neighborhoods that have houses in your price range and have amenities you need.
  • View enough homes until you find one you can see yourself living in.
  • Make an offer.
  • Complete loan paperwork.
  • Inspect the home.
  • Close on the sale.
  • Move into your dream home!

Of course, there were many more steps involved, but you get the idea. With your life goals, when you look at what needs to happen in totality, it may seem overwhelming. But, if you break it down into daily, weekly, monthly steps you can take to get to the finish, it’s much easier. One day, one step at a time, and before you know it, it’s been 1000 miles. And you’re not even winded.

So, I recommend asking yourself daily, “Can I take one more step today? Just one?”

And then, take it.