Inspired to Make a Few Changes
Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past. ~ Lily Tomlin
In the last two weeks, six women have said the same words to me, “Now that I am no longer working, what will I do with my time?”
The second thing that they all say is, “I know I will figure it out.”
I can reassure them that yes they will figure it out and for most of them they will become far too busy and preoccupied with the ’same old, same old’ patterns until a bigger disruption comes into their lives.
Change and particularly major life changes can be very dramatic, bold, upsetting, damaging, and even blissful. It all depends on your style and attitude about a transition. Usually planning for a change can reduce the worry factor, but not always.
Who could have planned for this recession to happen right in the middle of a huge life change? One knows they are opening up a job for someone else often – but maybe not – and you still thought you could travel and have health insurance. So many variables come into play and they can prove to be opportunities or road blocks; the choice is really up to the individual.
At age 40, I realized that my life plan was not on the course I had put together. I decided right then and there I needed to figure out how to live the life that was coming to me and put my values and actions into making it full and suitable.
I was fortunate in having the opportunity to experience a video of Jack Canfield’s, you know – the Chicken Soup for the Soul guy – Self Esteem and Peak Performance. I took copious notes, which after 20 years have been gleaned down to a 5 step action plan to begin accessing and making the changes I need to make my life more fulfilling and satisfying.
I thought I would share my beginning action plan for making change, it might give you some ideas about how to make change in your life?
- Get Real.
I take stock of exactly where I am and what I have. I clean out the attic and the garage and I get rid of all the distractions and all the things that I do not need any more. I clean out file drawers and boxes of papers and label those that I am not ready to release so I can take a look again in a year or so.
I defrost and inventory the freezer and look carefully at how I have been fueling myself.
I look at the budget – oh yes, I have a budget and I look very closely at all the things I have on my payroll and whether they are consistent with my values and needs. I look at what is happening in my community and my country and add that information to my considerations.
This is a reality check of where I am at right now. I am just writing down my evaluations and ideas – I am not in action mode yet.
- Emotional fact checking.
This is a vital step in the process and I find one that is skipped by most of the folks I know and encounter. I believe people would rather roll their emotions through their thinking minds and try to not show them off in anything but an orderly fashion – if at all.I see this kind of response as a “bomb threat” or explosive force that can descend upon those you love and care for rather than on the intended target; it just does not help one make change to ignore the emotions.
Right now I am in the middle of a celebratory dance about my birthday trip and in a fierce angry state with my health insurance premium – now at $1500.00 a month with a huge deductible – and how little health I am getting for this extraordinary amount of money. This is not a moment to cancel my health insurance and take another trip with the money!
I am not attending the townhall forums about health care, I am sending my questions to my representatives, because I see the folks with guns at the meetings – I can hear the verbal and overwhelmed explosions. People need some emotional support before they can learn or understand. ( I am referring to the USA’s discussions on health care reform in August of 2009)
Emotions are useful tools but not so helpful in making big decisions too quickly, when attempting to achieve our goals.
This is an amazing step and so important when making a change. Who is sharing the bigger picture with accuracy and knowledge? As much as I love Google and all its speed, I need a process to discover the truth of the information as it relates to me and my living. I go to talks at the local college given by the faculty, and I study the television schedule. I listen to the negative and the positive, the screamers and the calm and thoughtful speakers, and I love to hear what the foreign journalists are writing about my country’s schemes and actions.I read a great deal and I understand human motivations and behaviors. Having a working knowledge of history is invaluable to me also.
I trust myself and my reaction and responses to this information. (I have a very successful track record of knowing this is my best resource and most reliable – the good part about living a long life.)
Research includes talking with people. My partner likes to keep everything in his life at his point of comfort. If I do not talk to him about the changes I am making and why, then he perceives that I am demanding he make changes and I meet with a wall of resistance.
I personally work at adding humor to my research. I love the Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me show on National Public Radio (NPR) and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart because they help me refresh my thinking by giving me a big laugh out loud moment. It’s like a breath of fresh air – oxygen to the process.
Learning and understanding are so often the keys.
- Plan of Action
This is where action comes into the process of change. Now that I know exactly where I am and what values and needs I am working from I can make a plan and begin taking the steps necessary to achieve success. I am always evaluating my actions and double checking to see if I am on track and sticking to what I believe is my best work. I also need to be flexible, and when working from my values center point, this becomes easier and easier with practice.I thought it would take 3 years to change our family’s holiday practices and celebrations. It has taken 5 years and a National Economic Crisis. The value of the winter holiday that we will be celebrating is the bonds of connection which bring about the knowing that one is loved. We will be gifting each other with our stories and our time.
Saying heartfelt thanks comes in many different forms:
I thank my walking shoes by putting on the leather conditioning lotion at least once a week.I thank my body by feeding it healthy food and clean water.
I thank my partner every time I know that I have been heard on even the smallest of items in our conversation portfolio.
I am working more and more at listening to my children and thanking them for sharing their lives with me – though after my big trip celebration it has been hard to slow down – blogging helps a great deal.
I write in my journal daily, in order to thank myself for the actions I have undertaken. I remind myself that I prepared that meal or vacuumed that floor because of my values and my action upon them. I thank myself for making changes and being flexible and researching – and I thank myself for making my day the best that I could muster – even if I took the day off and daydreamed or napped!
How do you make changes? Do you wait until it is forced upon you or do you like to figure it out and make it work for you? Do you feel best working at caring or controlling others or when you work on yourself and your actions? What works best for you when you want to clean up your thinking and find new beginnings?
Looking forward to your comments and ideas – I so appreciate how they add to the conversation.
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