January/February is traditionally the time when many of us choose to think about what changes we want to make to our lives & we adopt all kinds of diets, exercise plans, new bedtimes or new rising times as well as a lot of other stuff to help us do things differently.
This process doesn’t have to be done at this time of year, some healthy self-reflection & an audit of what’s working for us & what’s not working can be done anytime we want to. What is key to choosing the right kind of changes for us (no one else) and being able to sustain whatever changes we decide to go with is understanding the foundation stones of this bit of Architecture. Otherwise it’s a bit like a House of Cards & will collapse at the slightest sign of outside pressure or force.
So what are those foundation stones? :-
- Becoming conscious & familiar with how you feel right Now about whatever area of your life you feel you want to introduce positive changes to. Be the Producer of your own internal stage show, about to plan the new production for the season! Invite all the different parts of you, to come to a production meeting. Your first job is to listen & ask good questions so you can really hear what each part of you feels no matter how ‘childlike’ or scared or anxious or ‘ ‘selfish’ they may sound. Each one has a part to play in your ultimate production (if you choose). Our deeply stored emotions are like members of a production team that have perhaps been doing the job, unchallenged for a long time. ‘It’s worked in the past so I will continue to react in the same way going forward’ regardless of the different focus of a New Director or a New Production being planned. These parts of you are on auto-pilot to stop you having to think about how you perform certain tasks or behaviors. They possess valuable skills & experience & shouldn’t necessarily be rejected out of hand. Contrary to that old saying You can teach an old dog new tricks, providing the new trick is perceived as being valuable enough for the old dog to make the new effort!!
- Identifying which are the most disruptive members of the cast or production team – which reactions or behaviors actually seem to underpin & restrict a lot of other parts of the team that you are reliant upon. Eg. You may have a Director who insists on ‘perfection’ or ‘the best’ in every aspect of your production, & that means that consistently every other part of you struggles to try to maintain impossible standards resulting in the production not going ahead or feeling ‘not good enough’? Do you like feeling like this is a pattern in your life or is it time to perhaps move the Director to a different job? Striving to do a good job & to do our best is not inhibiting in it’s own right & those skills can be harnessed productively by a conscious, skilled Producer – You! Or perhaps it’s not that clear & you just know or feel that there is one part of your Life where if you were to feel better about – it would spread into other areas & help you make Healthier choices – physically, emotionally or spiritually?
- Focus on how you want to feel not how you don’t want to feel! Most of the time we tend to set goals that are actually quite arbitrarily chosen ie not bespoke to your unique needs. They are often set within an unrealistically short or long time period and can feel very removed from how we want to feel. The focus can be solely on cutting things out, doing without, not ‘allowing yourself’ certain perceived ‘treats’ or rewards. Why would any of us want to feel like that for any sustained length of time? If we spend time getting clarity over exactly how we want to feel the majority of time in our lives – everything we then choose to do or not do can be dependent on whether it gets us closer or further away from that feeling!
- Start by Designing your Day not your Year! Days make up a week, weeks make up a month & months make up a year. Start small & it’s far easier to keep going, providing you have really got a handle on what helps you to feel how you want to feel & what doesn’t. What would your ideal day consist of either at work or at Home, as a parent, business owner or employee? Is it about you feeling you need to add things to your day or take them away? What do you need to feel throughout your day & when you reflect on it at the end? I know I like to feel energised, vital, that i have given my best to whoever I have been in contact with that day. That I still have sufficient energy for the following day, I haven’t totally exhausted myself. I like to feel that I have been able to keep myself on a reasonably even keel & not been pulled into anyone else’s circus. I have enough to do running my own internal production without taking on someone else’s too!!
- Take Action! What can you do within one day to help you feel however you want to feel? Is it about getting up earlier, going to bed earlier, eating more Healthily, having strong working hours that enable you to feel you have a healthy balance? Do you need to stop asking yourself to do 10 things daily & end up either doing them poorly or not completing the ‘list’ & then feeling you’ve failed in some way? Doing 3 things really well daily is far better than doing 10 poorly- but just check in with how each makes you feel? Is the cost of doing 10 things that you have no energy left for family or a social life? A weight bearing exercise teacher I follow gave some great advice that I think we can apply to any part of our lives. ‘Always stop while you still feel you have the resources to do at least another 2 rounds, rather than once you cannot lift another thing’. Do you have clearly defined working hours that you stick to? This is even more relevant now many of us work from home. What boundaries do you have in place that protect you from becoming overwhelmed, burnt out or run out of batteries? If you don’t have any, your body will soon tell you when you’ve over-stepped them, as well as your emotions. By far the largest group of my Clients are over worked, stressed, Women who are fed up with feeling exhausted, under appreciated & lacking in ‘Me time’!!
- Reflection – Often when we are adopting new ways of doing things that we want to become habits or second nature, it can feel uncomfortable to begin with. The old parts of us – those production stalwarts can start whispering in your ear, ‘…….see, I told you, just go back to my way of doing things, it’s much more comfortable!’ Remember you are The Producer – go back to your ‘How I want to feel’ & remind yourself that you have all the skills to handle any type of production but to do so, it will never be by doing the same things over & over again! Journaling at the end of each day & being conscious of how differently you are starting to feel will help your ‘Old School’ production staff to realise that this new way is actually producing results! So you can say ‘It’s OK I hear your concerns, and I’ve got this, you don’t need to worry’!