Making it Happen: How to Live Life with No Regrets
Making it Happen
This is part two of a three-part series on How to Live Life With No Regrets. Check out the first post, “Finding Your Passion,” and stay tuned in the coming weeks for part three, “Overcoming Obstacles.”
My last post was filled with tips to help you find those things that give you pleasure in life. When you combine these passions with your character strengths, talents, and abilities—hurray!—you’re well on your way to finding happiness.
One of these passions will resonate more strongly with you than others. Let’s start there. Let me show you how to take this passion and change your life using my proven action plan.
Step 1: Understand Your Motivation
Imagining something different for the next chapter of your life—and then accomplishing it—takes hard work and strong motivation. If you’re not strongly motivated, it’s very likely that you will give up when change gets difficult or uncomfortable. So, understanding what motivates you to begin this journey is very important.
To get started, take out a piece of paper and put at the top, “I am motivated to create a different life for myself because I want to…” Then start writing down everything that comes to mind, without censoring yourself. If you realize you want others to think highly of you, write that down even if you think it’s shallow. In order for this to work, you have to be completely honest with yourself.
I’ve created a list of possible motivations for you to consider, but it is by no means exhaustive, so add or subtract anything that you see fit until you have a list of fewer than ten different items on your Motivations List.
I am motivated to create a different life for myself because I want to…
• create a new identity for myself (other than wife, mother, or career woman)
• generate additional income
• be recognized by others
• make a difference in my community
• leave a meaningful legacy
• become more assertive
• become more independent
• achieve my potential
• follow my long lost dream
• meet new people/network
• get out of the house more
• have greater responsibilities
• be more intellectually stimulated
• make better use of my education/work history
• gain self-confidence/feel better about myself
• develop new skills and talents
• stop feeling bored/feel more productive
• be a better role model for my children
• find an outlet for my creativity
Once you’ve arrived at your final Motivation List, rate each item as either of primary or secondary importance, based on how strongly you want it. Eliminate the reasons of secondary importance to you, since your desire is not that strong. Once you are down to your five strongest motivations, put those on a new list and tack them to your refrigerator. You will be referring to these often when the going gets tough.
Step 2: Visualize Success
Remember last time, when you were looking for your passion and I asked you to visualize success? I asked you the question: What you would do if you knew for sure that you were guaranteed not to fail? Now ask your self the question again but keep in mind the new life goal that you have set for yourself. What would success look like in your new life if you achieved what you set out to accomplish?
Since we are still in the imagination phase, there is no room to consider fear of failure or other potential obstacles to your success. So push those thoughts aside and visualize what accomplishing your wildest dreams would look like. Now write it down and compare it to your earlier answer. You have just taken one giant step closer to clarifying your goal, so congratulations!
Step 3: Push Yourself Out of Your Comfort Zone
You can prepare for your life transition by pushing yourself into uncomfortable situations one baby step at a time. Think to yourself, “If I don’t fail at something every day, then I haven’t challenged myself enough.” And if you don’t challenge yourself enough, you’re never going to surprise yourself either. Always keep in mind that change happens whether we look for it—like you are doing now—or it looks for you—as in the death of someone close to us or the loss of a job. By constantly tackling small challenges that take you out of your comfort zone, you can build the capacity to handle any major life change sure to come your way.
Try taking these baby steps to get you going. Start out picking small challenges that give you a good chance of success. Pick things that push you just a little or involve learning something new. If you fail, learn to accept it. Find out what went wrong and why and learn from it—then move on. Plan small challenges in advance so you can be prepared, but don’t obsess on being completely ready! Just jump in and learn as you go along. Wishing and hoping is pointless, so do something small each and every day that will bring you one step closer to achieving your dream.
Step 4: Make Yourself Accountable
Give yourself a firm date by which to accomplish your goal and then announce it to your family and friends. This adds a level of accountability beyond oneself that will help you stay motivated. They may even have some good advice for you to try. Convince yourself that your long-term goal is attainable and continue taking small steps every day to avoid feeling hopeless. Get fully comfortable with each small step before going on to the next and don’t give up. If you fail, learn from it and try something else.
Step 5: Ask for Help
Lots of people find it difficult to ask someone for help. It can sometimes make you feel awkward or weak. But asking for help doesn’t have to be a negative experience. It can actually strengthen your resolve and make it easier to be consistent with your efforts. And chances are that your family and friends are eager to step up—they’re just waiting for you to tell them how!
Here’s how to ask for help and make it work for you. First, identify who can help. Think of all the people around you and start with anyone who has expressed interest and support. Consider what they can do or stop doing to help you, keeping in mind their schedule and abilities. Then, request help being as specific as possible. Explain what you are trying to accomplish and how this will make your journey easier. Offer to return the favor and see if you can lend them a hand. Next, be sure to follow up and let them know their support is helping. Perhaps you would like them to do something more or differently so you can get what you need. Don’t be afraid to ask, even if it pushes you out of your comfort zone.
Are you still struggling to take the first step? You are not alone. The truth is change can be very daunting and extremely slow. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If you would like more of my tips to help you take action to change your life, just send me your email address below and I’ll be happy to send them to you.
If that’s not enough and you decide you need more help, why not give me a call so we can set up a time to talk. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 914-510-2882 and we can get started soon.