by Dr. Georgina Cannon
This article currently appears in Dynamic Living Magazine
Life is interesting. No sooner do we think we have everything organized, neat and tidy, and running like clockwork – then suddenly everything is turned upside down. We are left wondering what happened?
Usually what happened is that we are organized enough so that we can get through the day with our to-do list mostly done only to start the next day doing the same thing. A week goes by, a month and maybe a year, and you asked yourself where the time went. And more importantly, where did I go? The ME that had goals, dreams, hopes, wishes – what happened to the “me” in the year. Where did I go in the endless to-do lists?
The reality is we lost our way – if we ever knew it in the first place. We were so busy DOING, we forgot about BEING. We lost our North Star. Our guiding light. That is – if we ever had it!
It is an ironic habit of human beings to run faster when we have lost our way.
Rollo May - psychologist
But help is on the way… if you are prepared to stop for a moment – take a breath, and re-program how you live your life. How you can find your North Star and head for its light.
Ten easy workable steps… ready?
Identify your life values:
What is important to you. What trait or personality aspect do you admire in someone you admire? What is a must have for you in life (i.e. access to outdoor recreation. Music. Friendships. Integrity, physical health, humour, a strong work ethic, etc., etc.) List your top 5 or 6.
Choose a top priority for the next six months. And then 6 months after that.
If you don’t know where you want to go, how are you going to get there? Think about the one thing that will make a difference in your life. The one thing that will allow you to focus your energy, mind space and help prioritize your time.
Write up and post your values and priorities – make them visible every day.
Keep them in full view… on your computer screen, on the fridge, in a frame next to your bed. So that everywhere your eye falls, there’s a reminder of the future you’ve planned.
Make considered decisions
Not everything that seems like a good idea necessarily is. If we follow every idea that comes into our mind, or that someone else suggests – we are inclined to go off course and forget priorities and values – time and mind space are limited. Focus!
Understand cause and effect
In business they call this opportunity cost. If I do this (whatever it is) what will it cost – in time, energy, results, and is it worth it? Considered thinking is valuable – it won’t block brilliant ideas if they are considered well. Everything we do has a cost – is what we are about to do worth the cost? (by the way, this is , a great discussion to have with your children!)
Is it urgent or important?
There is a huge difference. Urgent can take you off course – importance impacts your long term goals and vision. If you live from crisis to crisis where everything is urgent, maybe you’re an adrenaline junky? Or you need to look at your day, week, month and lifestyle, and see what needs to be shifted, changed or released so that you’re not forever putting out fires.
Set aside regular time to problem solve
Especially for the little ‘niggly’ day to day problems which keep cropping up. Plan a regular 2 or 3 hour timeslot to go over the ‘problem job jar’ and solve the problem – with a series of actions in accordance with your values. This planning gets them out of the way until you can focus on them. It’s a great tool for releasing stress.
Check on the path
At least once a month, look at your day to day and use of time against your priorities and values. Airplanes, cruise ships and major corporations have compass directional correcting tools – it’s easy to go off direction. Set sight on your North star, and keep checking in to make sure you’re on course.
Be open to new ways of thinking and problem solving
You may have a heated discussion with a colleague or family member about your priories, goals and direction. It doesn’t hurt to listen and ask yourself – ‘what if I did this?” Bring considered thinking into everything – avoid the knee jerk response of thinking your decision is unchangeable… maybe it is (and should be) and maybe it isn’t. But you won’t know if you don’t ask – what if…?
Make time to relax and have fun
You’ll become bored and boring if you don’t! You may also become stressed and ill – and that’s no fun. Or productive! Book time out for yourself, your family and friends – enjoy life, stay healthy, vibrant and productive. And find yourself again.
Dr. Georgina Cannon, Founder of the Ontario Hypnosis Centre School and Clinic, is a Board Certified Consulting Hypnotherapist, relationship coach, best selling author, international teacher, speaker and clinician. She works with both students and clinic clients to help them find their own magnificence by the power of their mind.