REMAKING YOUR LIFE
When something major happens, we think of how it impacts us, and that makes us think about our lives.
Thinking about our lives makes us focus on what in our lives we like and what we don’t like. Typically, this focus spurs our awareness and we really focus and think. And when we really focus and think, we often spend more time considering what we don’t like in our lives than what we do like.
Good can come from that. We often resolve to make changes and come up with a plan that will put more of what we like and want in our lives and less of what we don’t.
Sadly, for too many of us, our resolve fizzles and our intentions end there. We think and plan but we never actually do anything to put that plan into action. Why?
One of the main reasons is, while we want change, we dislike and often even resent the upset that typically comes with it. We think: It’s better to stick with the devil we know. New things mean new reactions. From us, and from those in our inner circle—our family and friends, who also like knowing what to expect from us. The “new you” will be different, and different is not always welcome to others.
Another challenge is that our plan feels too big, like so much work, and we’re tired and overworked already. So it’s easy to let the plan slide. It’s much easier to do nothing than to put in the effort to implement the plan.
When we feel overwhelmed, we tend to shun and shut down. That’s the human being in us. The problem is, if we give into these tendencies, we end up changing nothing, and so the next time something major happens and and thinking about our lives, we’re rehashing the same old issues and dislikes we rehashed before (maybe many times before). Nothing’s changed except that we’re more discontent because we’ve been through this so many times and nothing’s changed.
The fact is we aren’t going to change anything in our lives unless we change things in our lives.
No fairy godmother is going to swoop in and wave her magic wand. We—our discipline and determination, our actions—are the magic wand.
We resolve, we enact change, we change. If we don’t resolve and enact, we don’t change.
So while we’re tempted to give into feeling overwhelmed and do nothing, we have to accept that if we do—and that is a choice we make—then we also must accept that we will live with the consequences.
No action is an action. And if we do nothing, we are choosing to stay the same and to not make the changes we say we want.
So if we want to remake our lives, to get more of what we want in and more of what we don’t want out, then we need to accept that change takes work and we have to do it.
That doesn’t mean the work is all tedious or unpleasant or that, bluntly put, it sucks. Actually, this work can be stimulating, quite pleasant and fulfilling. Each tick off our checklists of things we want accomplished that we do accomplish brings the confidence of having accomplished what we set out to do. That’s gratifying. That’s success. And we all know that success breeds success.
When we climb a hurdle and get over it, we know intellectually and emotionally that we can get over hurdles, and nothing prepares us for climbing the next hurdle like successfully conquering the previous one.
Success is cumulative.
A couple suggestions for remaking your life into the life you want:
1. Pick the top three things you want to change. You might have fifty items on your list, but prioritize and tackle the top three, one at a time. You know what’s most important to you.
Go after that one thing first. Then work down the list of three. When those three are incorporated, then tackle the next three. This will keep things manageable and minimize your sense of being overwhelmed.
Remember: you can eat a bear—one bite at a time. Think and tackle the bites. Before you know it, your list shrinks shorter and shorter.
2. Dream but be practical, too. Dreams are the magic in life. They inspire and ignite our enthusiasm and creativity, encourage us to reach higher than we ever thought we could. Practicality is the way to take dreams and make them reality.
Sometimes the practical side of dreams requires us to take incremental steps. Leaps of faith. We might not see a way to get from where we are to where we want to be, but that’s okay. Look to the next step—it’ll get us closer.
From the bottom of the ladder, we don’t have to see every rung on the ladder. We only have to have a vision of the top of the ladder and to see the next rung—and the courage to step up onto the next rung in our path.
As we move, other rungs between where we are and the top of the ladder where we want to be will become visible. The path to our vision becomes clear. New opportunities we couldn’t have expected will open to us. Unseen handrails will appear.
Remember, if we’re moving toward our goal, we might have sometimes take the scenic tour on our journeys. That’s okay. That’s great, in fact. Often new things we’ll find interesting, intriguing, or exciting will emerge. Things that capture our attention, captivate us. Things that offer us new insights and skills we then take with us to the next rung.
Practical dreaming isn’t settling for less. It’s taking concrete steps to reach our dreams as we define them.
3. Be open to the unexpected and flexible. Often when we are assessing our lives and resolving to make changes we want in them, we grow intensely focused.
Being intensely focused, we recognize things we hadn’t stopped long enough to really think about. We hadn’t deemed things important to us are important to us. Intensely focused, we notice what we’d ignored or just blown past.
In other words, we heighten our awareness, and the things we see when we’re aware can be stunning. Opportunities we might have missed. Chances to take interim steps that might not be our dream but well might bring us closer to it. Maybe we see not “the door,” but “a door” that could lead to “the door.”
We should never be so married to our plan that we fail to seize unforeseen opportunities that fall into our path.
And, speaking of that, when we really look at these opportunities, we should ask: Did they honestly just fall into our laps or paths? Or did we just notice them there? Or are the opportunities there because we took concrete and specific steps to get to the next rung where those opportunities reside? Does that matter to us?
Isn’t it most important to recognize that opportunities are everywhere, and we only see them if we if seek them? If we dare to notice them there?
Remaking your life is work. No doubt about it. But every success on the journey, every single win for you gets you closer to the life you want. That’s exciting. That’s worth the work. That’s your magic.
Here’s the bottom line. If you don’t like your life, change it. Do you have to do that? No. No, you don’t. You can be discontent and just keep going on as you are. It’s your call to make. No one else chooses for you, and no one else can change it for you. The truth is, no one has more to gain or lose by the decision you make.
But if you do choose not to tackle what you don’t like in your life and to get more of what you do like in it, then you must accept that you’ll live with the consequences. And next time something major happens and you focus and think because you’re intensely aware, you will again visit your discontent.
It’s up to you to identify and change what you want changed. It’s that simple.
If you do choose to remake your life, then you have work to do. Some will be less than fun or less than comfortable. But if you do it, and you end up living your dream, won’t you be glad you did it?
If you don’t quite reach your dream but you’re closer to it, isn’t that a win? Time passes either way. Won’t you like having more of what you want and less that you don’t? Won’t those interim steps give you momentum to continue to change and make your life what you want it to be?
Each success builds on each success and success is cumulative—you get to enjoy the benefits of all your successes.
They say life is a journey. They’re right. What they don’t say and should is that it’s your journey. Your choices define whether that journey is one you feel good about making or one littered with regret at what you didn’t do.
That is worth remembering. Just as it’s worth remembering that remaking your life can be invigorating, energizing, fun. It can be whatever you want it to be. It’s up to you to wield your personal magic wand and do what you most want done.
One last tip: Be content wherever you are.
Whatever stage or ladder rung you’re on, take joy in it. Whether it’s temporary or takes a while, there’s good on every rung and in every interim step.
And be grateful. That we recognize our desire to remake our lives and we have the ability to actually do it is a gift and a wondrous thing.
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© 2016, Vicki Hinze. Vicki Hinze is the award-winning bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest releases are: The Marked Star and In Case of Emergency: What You Need to Know When I Can’t Tell You (nonfiction). She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s website: www.vickihinze.com. Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact. KNOW IT FIRST!
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