Life’s Biggest Time Waster

There are plenty of activities that we could argue are a big, fat waste of our time…traffic jams, waiting in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles, watching TV, surfing the internet, and more. However, in my experience, these are all minor in comparison to the true Grand Daddy of all time wasters. The biggest time waster is one that every single one of us has been guilty of indulging in: Trying to change other people.

A few years ago, I was having a conversation with someone I kept crossing paths with in the personal development sphere; I’ll call her “Jill.” We were talking about a powerful speaker we both had the pleasure of seeing. This speaker is very action oriented and empowers you to get off your butt and create the life you want. Jill and I were discussing how motivating this speaker’s message was and then Jill told me how she was trying so hard to get her sister to “see the light” and start creating a happy life for herself. I asked if her sister was unhappy with the life she was living, and Jill said, no, but all she did was watch TV and had no desire to work towards a personal or professional goal. If only Jill could motivate her to do something worthwhile with her life. It took me several moments before I challenged Jill on what she was doing – trying to change another person.

While Jill was good intentioned and wanted only the best for her sister, she was wasting some serious time trying to change her sister instead of working on things she could control – like her own personal development. We have all been guilty of focusing our energies on others’ shortcomings. Think of that person who drives you nuts. She walks around like she’s all that, she’s rude, only cares about herself and people who can do something for her. She’s selfish, self-absorbed, materialistic, and just an all around bitch. True as that may be, ruminating on all her poor qualities is a sheer waste of your time. You have exactly ZERO control over her. Compare that to the TOTAL control you have over yourself.

When we take inventory on others, this often gives us a short-term buzz, because at least we don’t have any of their nasty characteristics. It can help us feel good about ourselves for a little while. But this false sense of superiority doesn’t actually make us better. If you look around, you’ll always be able to find someone who possesses traits or qualities that you deem unacceptable. You start to think that if only he would change a particular aspect of himself he’d be a better person. And you analyze and consider why he wouldn’t make that change. You wonder what kind of a person wouldn’t see how this was holding them back, or making them unlikable, or whatever. But at the end of the day, you’ve changed nothing about the person with your judgement, and worse, you’ve changed nothing about yourself to improve your life, your circumstances, your traits and characteristics.

You can reason, plead, implore, judge, ridicule, or instruct another person to change an undesirable trait or behavior, but you will never be able to change another person. Influence, maybe, but, not change. That’s up to them. The only person you can change is yourself. An added benefit of focusing your time on your personal development, is you may find as you grow and change, the shortcomings of others don’t irritate you like they used to. You may find during your own personal journey that others were judging you and wondering why you weren’t changing a particular aspect of yourself that seemed so obvious to them.

It all comes down to the fact that we are all on our own journey. We all have opportunities for improvement. We don’t have a lot of time to waste on how others could improve. That’s not our responsibility. If each person, instead of judging and taking inventory on others, worked on making themselves better, the world would become a better place.

Your turn! Share in the comments section your own life lesson of focusing on yourself instead of others.

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Five Love Languages – Gifts

A thoughtful gift can make a significant difference to someone. This 5-part series has a new “language” discussed once a month. These are based on Gary Chapman’s book series, Five Love Languages. Each post will highlight a particular language and some suggestions on ways to meet that need for yourself and others.  In October, I shared Words of Affirmation. In November, I shared Quality Time. December was all about Acts of Service.  This month will discuss the language of gifts, those hand-picked goodies that brighten a person’s day. Let’s review what’s been covered so far:

These are the Five Languages:

• Words of Affirmation
• Quality Time
• Acts of Service
• Gifts
• Touch

If you would like a more detailed overview of each language, revisit October’s post. As a reminder, your primary and secondary languages may differ between your personal and business life, so view all the languages from those two perspectives. Now, if the idea of a little something special topped with a bow sounds like something someone you know would appreciate, read on.

Gift lovers are all about the tangible. Price isn’t (always) important. Often, it’s just getting a thoughtful “thing”.
On a personal level, this could be the newest BMW or a six month cruise around the world. But often, this is simply a bunch of handpicked wildflowers, a box of chocolates or the latest suspense novel. Those child drawings and driveway stones that have a little sparkle? Yeah, those too! These language speakers love to look at and touch these expressions of love. Like all the other languages, pay attention to clues that would help you determine just the right gift.

On a professional level, while the BMW or cruise would be great, these aren’t likely. Gift lovers get excited over the certificates, awards, pins and prizes. A bottle of their favorite wine for a special assignment that had the added bonus of making you look good too, is sure to score! A mall gift certificate, Cabela’s gift card or even an instant scratch ticket…any of these are likely to elicit pure joy. Remember though, thoughtful counts here too. Don’t assume Dave would automatically like tickets to the Patriot’s game any more than Carol would like tickets to the ballet. You should know enough about these people that if you’re going to give a personalized gift, you have a good idea what interests them.

Being thoughtful and sincere in your gift giving is sure to be a success to the gift-loving recipient. It’s especially enjoyable if they know why you’re giving it, even if it’s “just because”. Gifts make them feel special, so tell them why they are. Now is the time to get creative and get giving for these language speakers. They’re sure to repay you in your language…if they read this string of posts anyway. If not, give them the gift of this site! Otherwise, give all the wonderful readers here some ideas by commenting on creative ways to ‘gift’ those we love and work with, so they feel loved and appreciated. Watch for the final post in this series in February!

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

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(The Five Languages are based on “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman and “The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” (co-written by Paul White))

Our Two Choices When Facing Challenges

Life throws lots of challenges our way. It is through these that we often learn important life lessons. How we face our challenges is what ultimately leads us to these lessons. Generally speaking, we have two choices when we are confronted with difficulties – Change it or Accept it.

While neither one is necessarily easy, those are our two paths. They both require movement. To change or accept means you are moving towards a desired end result. The alternative to these choices is to do nothing and complain about our circumstances. We know this is unproductive, but we may need to spend some time in this place while we process which action step we will ultimately take – just be sure not to get stuck here. While you could argue that this is a choice as well, it’s not an empowering one and its based on inaction instead of action.

Sometimes, though, we’re not quite sure whether to Change a situation or Accept it. Here are some considerations to make that may help in your decision:

CONSIDER CHANGING IT WHEN:

  • You have the ability to change it – most circumstances allow us some control, so take that control and do something different
  • The fear of remaining in the same situation is greater than the fear of changing – Change can be scary, but staying the same can sometimes be terrifying. How do you feel about being in the same situation one, five, or ten years from now?
  • Doing so can help you reach your full potential or a better version of yourself
  • It causes, or has the potential to cause, harm to yourself or others
  • You get excited about the long-term possibilities a change can bring

CONSIDER ACCEPTING IT WHEN:

  • You have little or no control over the situation – an example may be a friend who won’t stop smoking. It upsets you and you worry about them, but you don’t have control over their behavior.
  • You have tried everything in your power – for example, you want to be promoted where you work, but despite all your best efforts, you just can’t seem to get the support. It may be time to accept that advancement isn’t likely to happen there.
  • You are in the heat of emotion – When we are very angry or upset, that may not be the best time to make a long-term decision. Accepting, even if only temporarily, may be the best choice in those heated moments. You can always look back on it when your emotions have settled and reassess.
  • You look into the future and believe you could be happy with staying in that situation. You recognize that you may be going through a phase of contemplation right now.
  • You recognize that short-term sacrifices are likely to result in longer-term happiness. For example, giving up on building the dream house now and settling for (and accepting) a smaller home may allow you to save more money and build that new home later in the future when it’s more within your financial means.

There is the possibility that you can choose both change and acceptance in some situations. This may be accepting a situation while changing your attitude about it. Maybe you have a strained relationship with your brother who is terrible with finances and doesn’t want your unsolicited advice. You can accept that and take the attitude that it’s his life to do as he wishes and when he’s ready to change, he’ll change. Until then, you will continue to have a relationship with him (acceptance), but leave all talk of finances out of it (change).

The most important thing is to ensure you don’t stay stuck in complaining. You may be a victim of your circumstances, but you don’t have to STAY a victim of your circumstances. Change or Acceptance is the way out.

Now I’d like to hear from you! Share in the comments section an important decision you made to either change or accept a challenging situation, and why that was the right choice for you.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

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The Main Cause of Relationship Problems

Relationships are important. We are social creatures after all, and the people we choose to spend our time with are important parts of our lives. This makes it very challenging if we are on the outs with someone we care about. More often than not, there is one core cause of all relational strife: expectations. Or rather, failure to have our expectations met.

We all have expectations. Big ones and little ones. We even have these of strangers. We may have the expectation that everyone drives the posted speed limit. Or, that when a cashier invites the “next person in line,” it doesn’t mean the first person who can get there. We expect things of our spouses, friends, family, and neighbors. We all have (what we believe to be) reasonable beliefs of proper behavior. To complicate things further, we attach meaning to these expectations.

If someone lets us down, we aren’t only disappointed, but we give a reason to it. For example, you expect your close friends to remember your birthday. Then, when your birthday has come and gone, and you haven’t heard from one of your nearest and dearest, you are disappointed AND hurt. You believe that if you truly care about someone, you remember their birthday. Meanwhile, your forgetful friend cares very deeply about you, but, personally, doesn’t much care about birthdays one way or the other. It never occurs to her that she may have hurt you by not making certain she remembered your birthday.

The next question, then, is how do we prevent our expectations from breaking down our relationships?  Here are a few tips:

  • Make your expectations known – Do not expect that people will just intuitively know what you need. Spell it out.
  • Share the meaning you’ve attached to your expectations – If you need quality time with your spouse at the end of each day and you believe this means you are valued and loved, be clear that this is how important this time is to you.
  • Understand your expectations may be completely different from others – For example, I have a friend who despises getting gift cards as a gift. She feels they are impersonal and it hurts her to think we couldn’t take a little extra time and thought to get her something special and unique. I, on the other hand, like getting gift cards. We both have totally different expectations, but we took the time to discover these differences.
  • Most expectations are coming from a place of love or fear – Rarely do people have expectations with the intent to be difficult or hurtful. A parent who withholds love, may have done so because they expected the world was hard and wanted to prepare you to be tough. Or a loved one avoids appearing vulnerable because they expect to get hurt if they are.
  • Consider your expectations – Have you ever considered what your expectations are? It may be a very eye-opening exercise. When you actually think about what your expectations are and the meaning you’ve attached to them, you may start to question if you really want to hold on to them. (VIP Subscribers get a PDF download of this exercise – Subscribe today to get yours – It’s Free)

Next time you get in a disagreement, before jumping immediately to the emotion of it, take a step back and try to consider how both your expectations, and those of the other person, could be contributing. It’s much more difficult to feel hurt or angry when you actually understand where another person is coming from. It doesn’t mean you agree, only that you understand. It is this mindset that will prevent problems in the future.

In the comments section, share how understanding your own or someone else’s expectations have helped improve a relationship in your life.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

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Written by, You

It’s easy to feel that sometimes we are at the mercy of life’s circumstances. And let’s be honest, some moments we are. But moments are fleeting, and it’s important to keep in mind that you are the author of your life. While life may throw circumstances your way, you get to determine how each chapter ends. You get the last word. If your business goes under, if you get fired, go broke, or get dumped, that’s not where the chapter has to end. You write the last line. You also write the opening paragraph of the next chapter.

When you write your story, it’s not all going to be pretty rainbows and butterflies, because that’s not real life. There will be ugly parts, parts of you and your story that you are not proud of, but that’s okay. The lines in our story, even the chapters of our story, do not make us who we are. They are a part of us, but they are not all of us. If you don’t like how your story is unfolding, write a new one. Change the plot, the setting, the characters, and even yourself if you wish. You get to choose how you react to life’s curve balls.

Life is complicated; we are complicated. That’s the beauty of it. But underneath all of those complications is a really pure version of who we are. This version is always doing the best it can. This version grows and changes, and we, the authors, get to determine how to navigate through the lessons learned, the plot twists, and the overarching desire to matter.

Don’t write your story through the eyes of others. Share their perspective, consider others’ ideas, but it’s YOUR story. You define the meanings; you determine when you’ve succeeded and when you’ve failed. You decide who you are and where you’re going to take your story. When someone criticizes you or tells you that you’re not enough, that’s their story. Don’t make their story your story.

When you embrace your title as author of your story, you empower yourself. You take back control of the parts you have control over. You determine if your story is a tragedy, comedy, drama, mystery or some exciting mixture of all of these. Your non-fiction tale is yours for the telling. It’s your gift in life. There is no editing, there are no re-writes. There is one story. Write it well. Live it well.

Share in the comments section the title of your next chapter.

*This post was originally posted in January of 2017, but I thought it was worth another read.

If you would like some help with your story – if you are experiencing a “writer’s block” in life, then an Empowerment Session is a great place to start! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

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A New Way to Create Your New Year’s Resolution (Even if You’ve Sworn Them Off)

People have some strong feelings about New Year’s resolutions. Some commit fully every year, others swear them off altogether. For those of us who set them year after year, it’s pretty common to lose steam after a little while. Sometimes it’s after a few weeks, and other times a few months.  If you can relate to this, or you have completely sworn off resolutions, I’d like to propose an alternative. What if you could come up with a New Year’s resolution that you could actually keep?  Something you could successfully accomplish every day… Sound too good to be true?

There have been plenty of success stories of people quitting smoking and remaining smoke-free forever after, or creating a healthy routine that helped them lose and keep the weight off. So, if that’s your goal, GO FOR IT!! For the rest of us, one of the problems with past resolutions is that they’ve been so confining…so “pass or fail.” We set up strict parameters and the minute we violate them, we start to lose steam and fall back into our comfortable, old routines (plus we tend to crap talk ourselves for a bit, too). One way to combat this without swearing off resolutions altogether is to paint your resolution with a broader brush.

Instead of being so specific, you can be much more general. For example, instead of saying you are going to eliminate all processed foods from your diet, you could say you’re going to eat healthier. Instead of saying you’re going to workout at the gym 5 days per week, you could say you’re going to be more active each week. Instead of deducting $100 every week of the year for a savings account, you can work on saving more money.

When you take a broader approach to resolutions, it’s much easier to do SOMETHING every week, and maybe even every day that honors it. Instead of feeling like crap for eating the cupcake, you can feel good about eating that apple or making that healthy, all-natural meal. Instead of telling yourself you’re lazy because you skipped Day 4 of the gym, you can feel good about that 30-minute walk you took on your lunch break. It’s better to pat yourself on the back for packing your own lunch and saving yourself $10, than to beat yourself up for having to pull that $100 back out of savings because of an unexpected expense.

All lifestyle changes stick because of the habits that form to support those changes. Trying to go from zero to sixty and stay there is often more than we can reasonably adjust to. Certainly, there are some changes that require full commitment, like quitting something addictive, or taking drastic steps for life-saving reasons, but those tend to be the exception. Starting with a broader goal will allow us to take those baby-steps that will lead to good habits and build momentum. We’ll feel accomplished and want to keep feeling that way by adding new habits and eliminating older ones gradually. This allows us to build up to the more specific, regimented goals. Totally doable, right? RIGHT!

My 2018 New Year’s Resolution is to stretch my comfort zone. That’s it. I’m not getting any more specific than that. That’s something I can do every single day and there are countless ways I could do that. Now it’s your turn to share. What is your New Year’s Resolution? Share in the comments section.

Thank you for reading – Wishing you a VERY Happy New Year!!

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

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M.E.R.R.Y. C.H.R.I.S.T.M.A.S.

With today being Christmas Eve, I’ve got a short post for you. Here are some reminders to help you make Christmas a state of mind. I hope you enjoy!

May you find a moment of peace to relax into, a moment of joy to smile for, and a feeling of love to last the entire day.

Enjoy the holiday by giving a gift – it could be a hug, a kind thought, or showing patience to another.

Remember those who aren’t here to enjoy the holiday with you. This can be the most difficult part of the holidays, but they would want you to remember them with joy and happiness. Let that be a gift you give yourself – remember them with joy in your heart and celebrate the gift of having known them.

Raise a prayer or good thought up to those less fortunate. Send some love their way.

You are in control of how you experience this holiday. Choose joy.

Celebrate all the blessings you’ve received this year.

Help to brighten someone’s day.

Recognize all the good in your life. Even if things are trying right now, there is good to be found.

Inspire yourself and others through kindness.

Slow down and take it all in. The shopping will get done, the food will be made. Take a moment to breathe in the beauty of the season.

Take time to forgive. Forgive others for their mistakes and forgive yourself for yours.

Make memories by rising above any nonsense and showing up as the best version of yourself.

Appreciate who you are today – flaws and all – and do the same for others.

Share the spirit of the Christmas season. It need not be limited by religion. It’s a time to share peace and love with our fellow humans.

I hope you take the time to enjoy the beauty of the season and all the goodness in your heart.

Thank you for reading, and may you have a very Merry Christmas!!

 

 

 

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

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Five Love Languages – Acts of Service

Communication is the foundation of our emotions and experiences. This 5-part series has a new “language” discussed once a month. These are based on Gary Chapman’s book series, Five Love Languages. Each post will highlight a particular language and some suggestions on ways to meet that need for yourself and others.  In October, I shared Words of Affirmation. In November, I shared Quality Time. This month I’ll be talking about Acts of Service, those things we DO that show we care.

Before we get into that, let’s review:

These are the Five Languages:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Acts of Service
  • Gifts
  • Touch

We all have a primary “language” we speak and need to have communicated to us in order to feel loved in our personal relationships and appreciated in our workplace.  The key is finding out your own language, as well as those you have relationships with in your personal and professional life.  These discoveries will help you communicate and dramatically improve the relationships in your life.  October’s post talked about the Words of Affirmation lovers.  These language speakers want you to tell them they rock and why.  November’s post discussed Quality Time which is based on focused attention on, or with, the other person. Remember, your primary and secondary languages may differ between your personal life and business life so view all the languages from two sets of perspectives.  If you’re looking for a little less conversation and a little more action, let’s roll…

The core of Acts of Service lies less in word and more in deed.  It requires action – doing something for this language speaker.

Personally, this could include a back rub or a home cooked meal, clearing the snow off the car or doing the grocery shopping.  It might be supporting a charity event important to a friend or planting flowers for an elderly parent. Like the other languages, the preferred act is determined by the recipient.  Any old act of service just won’t do, it has to be this language speaker’s preference.  The key to speaking this language, especially if it’s not your primary one, is to provide these acts of service out of love.  If you provide it out of obligation you have completely wasted your time and likely caused more damage.  So just like Words of Affirmation, your enthusiasm and gift of service must be authentic and given out of love.

The professional examples can look VERY different from the personal ones.  In the workplace, you could offer to help out a co-worker struggling to meet a deadline or complete an overwhelming task.  Also, volunteering to stay late and assist someone in another department that you know is currently very short-handed.  Putting in a good word for a hardworking co-worker or employee works too. What a great opportunity to extend the olive branch to the ornery supervisor too stubborn to ask for help, but would appreciate the offer.  This could be mentoring that newbie employee and offering some tips you learned on your climb up the ranks.  Remember, even in this environment, it’s the recipient that determines the appreciated service, so while you may offer, that may not be what they need.  Perhaps they can’t share the responsibilities of a particular task, but you could offer to take phone messages for them instead or some other menial task that could free up time for them to work on their priority.  Sometimes the offer to assist will be all they need to push through their assignment.

The toughest part of Acts of Service is knowing which act would be most appreciated.  If you don’t know, ask.  “What could I do to help you right now?” or “What could I do that would make your day today?”  If they sense your sincerity, you’ll likely get an honest answer.  So while you may wonder why they didn’t just ask in the first place, remember, sometimes that takes all the fun out of it.  So get going and speak the language of service to those who need it and watch how good you’ll feel having made someone’s day with your selfless act.

If you or someone you know possesses this as a primary or secondary language, won’t you do us all a service and share some stories in the comments section?  Watch for next month’s coverage on Gifts!

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

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(The Five Languages are based on “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman and “The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” (co-written by Paul White))

How to Make Tough Choices

I can’t stand cold water. I was always that person who inched her way into the pool. Baby step by painful baby step. But ultimately, by the time the water was to my waist, I had a decision to make: I jump in all the way or I turn around and head back to land. Life is like that. As long-time readers know, I’m a fan of baby steps. Sometimes that’s all we can muster up. There are times when we can put off decisions and continue pursuing multiple objectives. This is what I did when I would only go into the water a little at a time. I was able to live part of my life in the water, and part of it out. But in life, there often reaches a point where there are no more baby steps to take. There comes a time when a decision needs to be made and rarely are they easy.

J.K. Rowling has written that, “It is our choices…that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” I’ve seen incredibly talented individuals allow fear to keep them from making a decision they were more than qualified to handle, and I’ve seen highly ambitious people take risks and figure out how to live with them after the leap. When we are confronted with big choices, we can sit on that fence for a long time. We try to weigh out all the possible outcomes. Both short-term and long-term considerations are made. And yet, there we sit. Author Michael Port says, “You’ll never catch any fish if all you ever do is debate with yourself about which type of bait to use and never throw a line in the water.” So simple, yet…

Yet, it isn’t that simple, is it? Choosing between Rocky Road and Mint Chocolate Chip is, but life is a little more complex than that. Sure, you can leave a comfortable and secure job for what appears to be your dream job, only to find yourself disappointed and regretful. But I’ve never seen that as the ending to someone’s story. In fact, it is often those failures that ultimately lead them to their dream job. That’s the rub of choices. You often have to give up something good to get something better. No decision is without its losses. Very rarely (ever?) do we have to choose between something entirely bad and something entirely good. THAT would be easy.

So, what do we do? How do we make tough choices? First, stop thinking about your choices. Yup, STOP thinking about your choices. We’ll get back to them in a sec. See, when we are making a choice, it is often in the context of our life today. Yes, we may consider our future, but often, we are trying to decide which one would be better based on what we know right now. That’s what can make a choice so challenging because we know what we have right now. It’s the unknown of the future that makes a choice so difficult. To counter this you’ll need to get crystal clear on what you want your life to become. What do you value? How do you want your life to look a year from now? Five years from now? Ten years from now? Who do you want to be? How do you want to express yourself? If you had a blank canvas, how would you paint your future? That’s the inner work you need to do BEFORE you make a decision. It is only when you are clear about who you want to be and how you want to live that your choice will be much clearer. That doesn’t mean it will be easy to make, only that the best option will be more visible.

This exercise can also reveal alternatives you couldn’t see when you were comparing Choice A with Choice B. When you know what you ultimately want to achieve, sometimes a Choice C will show up. When you are clear on your ideal future, then you can return to your options and weigh the choices. You may still face regret and pain, but you will face those no matter which choice you make. They are part of life. However, when you make choices based on creating a better life and future for yourself, it is much easier to deal with the repercussions. Every choice results in a journey. The journey may be on a clearly marked path, or it may be on an undefined, bumpy one, but there will be “lions, tigers and bears” on both. Do your due diligence, and then get off the fence and make a decision. Your future is waiting.

Share in the comments section how you made a tough decision or how you dealt with the repercussions of an important choice.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Are You Living on Purpose?

You have likely seen articles about “living intentionally,” but have you ever taken a moment to consider what that means? How much of your week is spent on autopilot? Considering where your life is right now, how much of that is due to you purposefully choosing that life? I know many people who are living a life that they have chosen. Almost everything they do is “on purpose.” They don’t live on auto-pilot. But I know many more who are not living a life this way. They are living based on others’ expectations of them. They are fulfilling the needs of those around them, while sacrificing many of their own. Which of these groups seems to better describe the life you’re living? There is no judgement here; I spent a large amount of time in the second group myself over the years. But there are steps you can take to live more purposefully.

Plan – A common difference between the people in both groups is those who live intentionally, set goals and make plans. They have a vision for their future and give thought to how they want their life to look and what steps they need to take to get there. That doesn’t mean circumstances don’t get in their way or that hardships don’t befall them. Quite the contrary. But they deal with those issues and continue working towards their goals, even if they have to alter them. Now ask yourself: Do you have a plan? Do you have goals you are working towards? Have you defined the steps you need to take in order to be living your life on purpose?

No Excuses – Often, those who are living under the direction of others can be heard explaining why they can’t live any other way. They don’t have time, they don’t have the money, they’ve dealt with more challenges, they’re circumstances are “different.” They are SUCH a special snowflake that they can’t possibly do what others have done. Those living their lives on purpose may get ticked off at circumstances thrown their way, but they don’t use them as excuses to stop trying. Now ask yourself: Are you allowing excuses to stop you? Have you made a plan to overcome your challenges? It’s easy to think of all the things we can’t do, but have you made a list of all the things you CAN do?

Today Equals Tomorrow – Those living their lives on purpose know that today’s behaviors become tomorrow’s results. When they do something today, they consider the impact that behavior will have on their future. They are very intentional about the choices they make today and how that aligns with the vision of their future. Now ask yourself: Did the actions you took today lead you closer to the future you desire? Are you consciously choosing each action you take and how it will impact your future?

I know this may sound as if I’m oversimplifying a complex issue, but it really does come down to these fundamentals. We all want a life that is healthy, happy, and abundant, but that involves many things – health, finances, family, friends, career, and more. Obviously, we can’t focus on 10 goals at once or we’d become overwhelmed. So, start with one or two. What is a priority for you? It could be your health, raising your kids, setting yourself up financially, advancing your career, starting a business, strengthening a relationship, buying a retirement home, or any number of other possibilities.  Focus on the one or two that are most important to you right now and make a plan, ditch the excuses, and take the steps today that will lead you to your ideal tomorrow. Once you’ve developed those habits, you can shift your focus to new goals. It’s hard work, but doing so intentionally and on purpose will get you where you want to be.

Which of those 3 fundamentals have you found most beneficial to you, or which of the 3 do you need to improve on? Share in the comments section.

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email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com