We’re all busy, busy, busy and time passes seemingly in the blink of an eye. It’s easy to get swept along for the ride without really questioning if what’s happening, is what you truly want or if you’re simply living by default. How are you supposed to tell if you’re living the life you’ve dreamed of, or if it’s actually just the life you’ve been told you should be living? You’d think it would be easy but often the symptoms are easy to miss or pass off as ‘normal’. ‘Oh, that’s just how everyone feels’, ‘be grateful for what you have’ etc – whilst valid in the right context, in other cases they can be used to keep us small, to keep us from asking the bigger questions.
ONE – You wake up most days unsure of how you got ‘here’. I mean, you vaguely remember why you interviewed for your current role, mainly to keep food on the table and a roof over your head – both good solid reasons, of course! But, you don’t actually remember ever wanting to do this, to be here. You didn’t choose it out of any other reason than necessity and the fact that it was right there in front of you. You were told you were good at it, so that’s what you did.
TWO – You spend a fair chunk of time weighing up what people might think of you, before making decisions, big and small.
THREE – You feel sort of out of control like things just keep happening to you and you’re not entirely sure why. You know you’re a good person and you’re fairly sure that your account in the bank of karma is healthy and in the black, but you just seem to be having shitty luck of late.
FOUR – You hate to admit it but you’re beginning to think your friendship group might need a bit of a cull. More often than not you hang up the phone feeling worse than ever, full of doubt about yourself and your abilities. You have the sneaking suspicion that a couple of people in your life actually aren’t as happy for you in certain scenarios, as they should be. You feel drained and like all you do is give, give, give.
FIVE – There are things that you really want to do, want to achieve, and yet you just can’t see a way forward. You feel overwhelmed with thoughts and ideas and yet you feel almost powerless to make any kind of effective change.
Any of the above sound familiar? My guess is that we’ve all identified with at least one of the points above, at one point in our lives, if not all of them.
I mentioned this above but the truth is, you’re most likely living by default and it’s time to make a change and live your life by design.
What do I mean by ‘living by default’? You’re going through life, this oh-so-short and beautiful time we have on this planet, avoiding making decisions based on what you actually want out of life, instead, you’re simply reacting to the situations around you.
It’s easily done, trust me. I did it for years (occasionally still do!) until I finally had this little moment of clarity like wait, I don’t really know how I got here and I’m scared as hell of the idea that I might wake up in another 30 years and think the same thing again.
Every single decision we make (even the non-decisions) shape our future, even if we can’t quite see it at the time. It’s why making decisions that you feel really good about, is so important because, even if some of them turn out to be the wrong decisions, you’ll at least be able to look back and track the journey and it will feel like growth. You’ll know that you made the best decisions you could at that time and you won’t just feel like a victim of circumstance.
So, want to make a change? Want to create that life that you’ve always dreamed of? Not to go all Tony Robbins on you but, it’s 100% possible, you have everything you need right there with you.
STEP ONE – Get clear about what it is that you really want. That thing that gives you butterflies and that terrifies you and excites you, in equal measures. It might only be a tiny voice right now, tentatively suggesting something. Listen really hard, give that voice space to speak up. Recognise that the thing that makes you feel excited and expansive (and sure, a little terrified) is most likely one of your callings, one of your goals and missions in life. So what if it seems like too lofty a goal? So what if there’s a chance that you might fail? If you never try, you’ll never know and it’s worth noting here that the only people who fail, the only people… are the ones that give up trying.
Try, try, try again.
STEP TWO – Instead of living by default, live your life by design. Quit saying ‘I should’ or ‘I wish’… Make decisions that you feel good about and that mean something to you and then practice discipline. Even if everything falls apart around you, if you know in your heart that the decision still stands, then stick with it. You made that decision for a reason, to better yourself, don’t let your future self down.
There is no better day than today to make a change. Make choices now, with a view to the long term. Hindsight really can be a b****!
STEP THREE – Look at your friendship group, people who live by default, tend to hang around people who live by default and vice versa. There’s that saying that you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. It’s true so think about it. If it applies to family members etc, work on zoning out their negativity and limited belief system. You can still love them but you have to operate on a higher plane. Everyone has down days, weeks or months and you should always try to be there for your loved ones but when it’s consistently a one-way street? It’s likely time to cut them loose or at least give yourself some space to bloom.
STEP FOUR – Finally, I would say, make the decision to be relentless. Throughout your life you’re gonna hear hundreds of no’s to just a handful of yes’s and you’re most certainly not gonna be inspired or motivated every day – wouldn’t that be the dream! You just have to be relentless. It’s a decision and a choice, but probably one of the most powerful decisions you’ll ever make. Sure, it will feel hard at first, sometimes impossible. You’ll run out of energy, ideas, positivity, your mind will wander, you’ll desperately want to give in to the call of Netflix (it happens) but babe, being relentless is a habit and just like a muscle, you can work it to make it stronger and stronger, till that habit becomes so ingrained in your psyche that you don’t know any other way of being.
You deserve to live a life that lights you up and you owe it to yourself to at least try to make it happen.
They say it takes 21 days to form a habit (I’m not sure that’s based on exact science but it can’t hurt to try, right?), so why not set yourself a challenge… To quit living by default and be relentless in the pursuit of what makes you happy for 21 days straight. Set an alarm on your phone that reminds you every single day and then just go out there and work on it. You’ll be so amazed at what you’ve achieved in 21 short days that you won’t ever want to go back to the old you.
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