Making sustainable lifestyle changes is hard work, and until you are truly committed to making real changes you will find yourself sliding back into those old comfy (& often unhealthy) habits. When I began acknowledging that my life was in a very sad state and no where close to where I had hoped , I began looking for answers, I tried setting goals but they never seemed to get any closer to being realized, I read, I tried visualization, I was adrift. It seemed I would follow one step forward with three steps backwards, I yearned for change. “WHY ME?”, I wondered what I had done wrong to deserve such trials.
Then one day I was reading about the 12 Laws of Karma and something in me realized it was me that needed to make changes if I ever expected anything in my life to change. If you would like to read more on the 12 laws of Karma, Raven Emrys does a great job of explaining it here. You don’t have to believe in karma to understand the universal truth that our surroundings mirror what is going on inside of us and the universe will continue to put us in certain situations until we learn the lessons that make us change.
The first step in this process is tough and sometimes even painful (it’s hard to admit not so awesome stuff about yourself). It is always easier to blame someone or something else for your troubles, being honest with yourself takes the effort. There is no magic formula that will give you the answers you seek or the life you want, but there is also no reason you can’t start evaluating where you are and how to get where you want .
DEFINE YOUR PRIORITIES & VALUES
KNOWING WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU GIVES YOU DIRECTION IN LIFE.
IDENTIFYING YOUR TOP PRIORITIES ALLOWS YOU TO FOCUS YOUR ENERGY ON THESE RATHER THAN THINGS THAT ARE NOT AS IMPORTANT.
KNOWING YOUR PRIORITIES GIVES YOU A POINT OF REFERENCE WHEN MAKING DECISIONS.
Make a list of your priorities (examples: health/fitness, family, finances, happiness, career, learning, community service, spirituality/ faith).
Relax. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in your favorite place many years from now when you are in the twilight years of your life. Reflect on your life from this vantage point. What are you most grateful for? What did you accomplish? What are your most treasured experiences? What is your favorite way to spend your time? List your answers on a separate piece of paper, be as thorough as possible. May be done alone or with a partner.
Relax. Close your eyes and imagine you are back in your favorite place, but instead of being in the twilight of your life it is present day and you have just learned you have terminal cancer and have been given six months to live. What do you want to experience, accomplish, change or have, now that you have this additional information. List your answers on a separate sheet of paper. May be done alone or with a partner.
Now compare your two sets of answers, did your priorities change? Often when threatened with a terminal illness, perspectives shift and the things that are truly important to us emerge.
Save your two lists of answers from this exercise, you need them for future exercises.
Take the lists you developed in exercise two and order them from least to most important. This information will help you when having to make an important decision.
This is your starting point, now you can focus on setting goals that are in-line with your priorities and values.