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When you find yourself overwhelmed with people tugging for your attention and time from every possible aspect of your life, when you find your mind unable to formulate a coherent thought and it’s the middle of the day, when you know how you feel when you are at your best and being your best self and you realize you are nowhere near at that level, then a bit of life math needs to take place.
Our life does speak to us, much like our body. When the body’s immune system has been compromised, it begs for time to sleep or tries to rid itself of what is ailing us, and in the process slowing down our physical abilities, thus our daily routine, as it tries to heal itself.
Our lives behave in very much the same way. When we take on too many responsibilities or involve ourselves in relationships or situations that are not in our best interest, our minds, our energy levels and our emotions suffer.
For example, if you are in a relationship that is stifling who you truly are, unwillingly refusing to accept or able to understand the life you are most comfortable living or wish to pursue, you expend extra emotional energy trying to fight this battle, whether it is conscious or not. And as your emotional energy is drained so is your ability to function to your fullest potential with every responsibility in your life.
Yet another example, if you find yourself missing deadlines due to other responsibilities or asking for extensions that are not due to procrastination, or being unable to find enough time to dive into a full night’s sleep, provoking a constant state of exhaustion, your body, your being, is begging for a break. At this point, editing needs to take place.
How should the editing work?
1. Be clear about your life goals. Take out a pen and journal, and write down in a concrete manner what exactly you want from this one life that you have been given. In other words, when you reach the age of 80, and you look back over the life you have created, what do you want to see? A full, and blossoming family that supports and loves one another, propelling each other to reach their dreams? A lasting legacy that has inspired others to live a better life than they might have originally imagined? A long list of friendships that endured all of life’s ups and downs? A life of adventure, risks, leaving you with wonderful stories to tell? Whatever life you wish to create, be honest with yourself and put it down on paper.
2. Make a list of what you are doing now. Once you know what life you want to create, and thus live each day or progress towards, make a list of all that you are trying to do currently – responsibilities, relationships, hobbies, etc.
3. Assess this list, comparing it to your life goals. Once you know what you want, be honest with yourself and look at your list created from #2. What on that list is not helping you reach these goals or is not part of helping you get to those goals?
4. At least one thing must be crossed off. In order to improve your life, something must change. To refuse to do so is the act of insanity. Remember you can have everything, just not all at once, but if you ever did get all that you wanted or are trying to do so now, can you honestly say you are able to enjoy it, savor it, appreciate it? If you are not feeling as though you are your best self, I do believe you have your answer.
5. Prioritize. With the items that are left, prioritize them based on what you want your ideal life to look like. What is it that if you weren’t able to work toward or be involved with, would make you feel less whole or not living up to your full potential? These items should go to the top of the list.
6. Keep the list handy. As you begin to edit your life based on what #5 reveals, as to the level of importance, keep your list handy. What you may begin to find is that you are back to your best self, but if this does not occur, go back to this list and edit a bit more.
7. Subtract so you can add. Sometimes in life we need to extract people or events so that we can leave room for someone or thing (a job, a new hobby, etc) to enter our lives which has the potential to enhance it beyond our expectations. And even though we may not know what it is, we must begin to trust what our life is telling us.
8. Trust your life (gut, emotions after introspection when you are calm, instincts, etc – whatever you prefer to call it). And remember, our life is speaking to us if only we choose to pay attention.