Every year between the end of October and Christmas, I evaluate my life, the past year, my goals/dreams and the goals and dreams of my family. I ask questions like:
Are we making progress?
Are we in a better place than we were at this time last year?
Is everyone happy?
Is everyone generally healthy?
Are the kids making good progress in their homeschooling?
Am I happy with what they are learning and doing?
Are our usual routines working for us as individuals and as a family?
I try to ask these questions every couple months, but sometimes I get too caught up in the day-to-day to realize if something is not working. I always ask these questions during the “Holiday Season.” And, I’ve taught my kids to ask those questions of themselves, too.
I believe it’s important for overall health to regularly evaluate your life, goals, accomplishments, routines, relationships, and general life. Learning to be honest with yourself about what’s working and what’s not is a life skill that far too few people possess. Or maybe they have the skills to take the honest look, but not the skills, determination, and guts to make needed changes.
Honest evaluation is scary. It requires that you be willing to be brutally honest with yourself, your loved ones, and possibly your friends, about what you want, how you feel, and what you desire. This kind of brutal honestly is something people tend to shy away from in American culture today. It’s not taught. It’s not practiced. In today’s culture honesty is replaced by political correctness, and fear of offending. The truth is that in order to live YOUR best life, sometimes you have to tick off a few people.
It’s okay. The ones who matter will get over it. The ones who can’t get over it, never mattered to begin with.
Change is hard. Generally, most people resist change. It’s scary. Especially when the change you want requires you to be different than those around you. Change can cause you to stand out. It also requires mental effort. And, of course, changing something for yourself might mean making someone else unhappy. Again, I say it’s okay. They will get over it.
I guide my coaching clients through a similar life evaluation process. One particular client comes to mind. He is unhappy with his job. He’s intelligent and creative, but he’s in a very analytical and repetitive job where he never gets to use his creativity. He’s so unhappy that it’s effecting his mental and physical health.
He knows he should look for a job that’s more in line with his personality, dreams and desires. What he really wants to do is start his own business. However, he’s afraid of how such a move might effect his family.
He tells me that his wife fully supports his idea of starting his own business. But, he can’t seem to get past his fear of what “could” happen.
Fear is a major stumbling block for a lot of people. The problem with having a vivid imagination is that sometimes that imagination can cause you to emotionally react to things that have not, and probably will not happen.
So, how do you get past fear of change?
Creative Visualization is a great tool for overcoming fear. Instead of spending time daydreaming about what could go wrong, daydream about what could go RIGHT. Think about how your life will look when you successfully make the change. Spend time imagining how your partner’s world will be better, or how your change will make your kids happier. You are what you imagine, so imagine the good things.
Take small steps. Trying to completely remake your life, diet, or workout routine is daunting. Break it down into very small steps that don’t cause fear. For example, if the thought of giving up grains entirely scares you, then start by simply refraining from eating grains with lunch every day. Your body and mind will tell you when it’s time for the next step.
Which brings me to my most important tip.
Trust yourself. Have absolute faith in your higher power/intuition/God to guide you toward your greatest happiness.
We all have a small voice that knows what will make us feel content, happy and fulfilled. The problem is that we rarely listen to it. Instead, we listen to our brother, our friend, the random person on television/radio/podcast/Internet. But those people have their own agenda, and it’s probably not helping you find your greatest health and happiness.
Learn to trust your inner voice. Knowing your inner voice helps calm the fear.