There are three times a year that I particularly love: the first week of each year, my birthday and the first week of September. Maybe it is because I love pressing reset on my life and starting fresh. I love a clean slate, a new beginning and an opportunity to get organized, get on track and regenerate my enthusiasm for new ventures. I am wondering though, do all people feel the same way?
I think it depends on the stage of life that people are currently in and what they have going on in their schedules. If someone has school-aged children, September is particularly exciting, since the kids are heading back to school. If someone is a student, they are headed back to classes or courses. If someone is a traditional worker or volunteer, September usually marks the end of holidays, summer vacations and long weekends off.
For me, regardless of what I have going on, I love to use these few times of the year to reflect, reassess, review, summarize and decide where I am headed next. I love to take stock of what has happened in the weeks or months prior, think about any goals that I have accomplished or are continuing to work toward and make new decisions, if necessary, especially if I am not particularly enthusiastic or pumped about the results that I have been producing.
I would say that I am often in motion, with the intention of progressing and recalculating my life path and ensuring that I am headed in the right direction. This allows me to accept my desire for progress, plan the steps necessary to make any changes and be accountable for the actions that are required to get me there. My philosophy is like a GPS recalculating when we turn off the highway to get gas, on the way to our destination.
The thing, though, is that most people don’t have a clear destination. Most people just jump in the car, drive randomly until they run out of gas, gas up and then continue driving some more. Eventually, they get exhausted, burned out and tired of not having a direction or purpose. It may sound exciting at first, to just hit the road but it often results in a bit of chaos, disorder or a feeling of confusion or being lost.
If you think of all of the people around you, how many do you know that have a life map, a plan or a life manifesto? How many have goals written down, broken down into steps and have a list of things they are working towards? I can guarantee that our lists would not be very long. Most of us are aimlessly trudging through life, trying to make ends meet, working until we are wiped out and then doing it all over again, like a hamster on a wheel.
Does having a life plan mean that we are not going to be working hard or having a busy schedule? No, it means that when we are working hard and having a busy schedule it is leading somewhere and accomplishing a purpose along the way. It means that when we are putting in hours and hours on end of work, punching a clock, passing the hours in a day or building a business that we are doing so with an umbrella plan, overlying the daily grind.
After almost 50 years on this planet, I finally feel that my life is on the right road to where I want to be. It doesn’t mean that all of the fine details are worked out and I know definitively what each one of my days will look like but it does mean that I know the things that are important to me, the things that I value, the activities that bring me joy, the general plan of what I want my life to look like and the people I want in it.
The fine details are not as important as knowing what our life represents and what we want our days to look like. Once we know the “what”, the “how” will work itself out.
On that note, here are some questions that have helped me to narrow down my life map. As I feel that our life maps are most effective when they include: our passions, our contribution and our plan, you can grab some pieces of paper, a notebook or a journal to explore the answers to these questions. You can also collage screenshots, magazine cut-outs, drawings or photos to create a visual to represent your answers. I hope that you can be one of the few people who have a vision in mind, of where you are headed next.
- What are the six activities that you love doing, bring you joy or you would like to include in your life?
- What are three action words to describe what you enjoy?
- What seven emotions do you want to feel most often?
- Who are the most important people and living things in your life?
- How will you add value or be of service to others, during your lifetime, from here forward?
- What four topics or interests are you passionate about?
- To participate in and include the above items and people into your life, what might you need to buy, earn or have access to, that you don’t already have?
- What is coming between you and creating a life integrating the things you wrote down?
- What action(s) would you need to take to ensure that your life includes the things you indicated were important to you?
- If you are not able to take the action on the above, why?
- Does your current reality match up with your desired life? On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being bang on) where are you now?
- What root negative belief do you have about your ability to have a life that brings you a sense of fulfillment, joy and peace?
- What would have to be your new positive belief to accomplish the life you want to create for yourself? May your next few months be an exciting time of clean slates, new ideas, revitalized beginnings, fresh starts and a detailed life map. It is certainly worth a few minutes of your time if there is anything you hope to change.
“My life plan is to remain a crazy child with an adult chequing account.” ~ Author Unknown