Complaining often feels like a national pastime – we’re out of shape, we’re tired, we don’t like our neighbors, we’re bogged down by chores. Sometimes it’s bigger issues – we don’t like our jobs, we feel that we’re not living up to our potential, we feel unloved or unappreciated. I know I’m guilty of it too; I often find myself complaining about silly things like the weather, which is out of my control (and where I live is a choice). When any of us bemoan our problems instead of looking for solutions, we usually just feel worse.
Having the life we want is possible. But it’s more than a matter of wishing for the perfect life once a year when we blow out our birthday candles. It’s being honest, getting a clear vision, and keeping yourself on track.
If you aren’t living the life you want, how can you get it? How do you even know what it is you want? And how do you stay on that path once you’ve found it?
Before we live the life we want, we have to know what that life is. This may seem obvious, but it can be surprisingly hard if you’ve never thought about your dreams in concrete terms. Think about it as though you were ordering from the Uni-verse’s company catalogue. If you call up and say, “Send me a pretty dress,” who knows what you’ll end up with! What size, what color, what fabric? Long or short? Sleeves or no sleeves?
Find clarity for your own vision by writing it all down. List what you want to do in the future, what you want to be, what you want to have. Use this list to generate a set of concrete goals. For example, if you write, “I want to reconnect to my love of the arts,” you could set a goal to take a painting class or see a concert once a month. Or, if you are ready to “make your health a priority and start taking care of yourself better,” you might consider hiring a coach to stay on track. That level of accountability may be necessary for you to achieve your goals.
Put Yourself First
Making your ideal life a reality may mean going against what others want and/or expect from you. Often, we end up on a dissatisfying path in the first place because we’re trying to please others or fulfill what they think our lives should be.
When taking steps toward getting the life you want, do what is best for you without worrying about what others think or how they will react. Let go of any guilt and know that you’re doing others a favor by setting a good example and teaching them a little independence.
It’s easy to lose sight of long terms goals when distracted by new and exciting, but perhaps not ultimately fulfilling, opportunities. Being clear about what you want helps you grab the prospects that will truly help and avoid the ones that won’t.
When a bright new opportunity comes up, ask yourself, “Will this help me achieve my ultimate goals?” If the answer is no, be strong and decline.
Learn from “Failures”
Just because you know what life you want doesn’t mean getting it will be a piece of cake; there will be detours and challenges along the way. But make the most of the process of getting there, and know that every bump or hurdle can be a chance to learn something about yourself.
The next time you experience failure, take a deep breath and ask yourself how you can reframe the experience as a moment to learn.
Transforming your life means taking risks – after all, the one sure way to not get what you want is continuing to do what isn’t making you happy now. But the fear of the unknown can make it easier for us to stick with the status quo, even if it’s unfulfilling.
What specifically is holding you back from your goals?
Face your fears by writing them down – recording your thoughts always makes them more manageable and understandable.
Transformation will not happen overnight, but if you know what you want and stick to it, your vision for your life will materialize. Fulfillment is possible.
What risks have you taken in your life that have turned into gifts?
I would love to hear how something scary turned into the best decision you could have made.
Weight Release & Body Image Expert Laura Fenamore supports women around the world to love who they see in the mirror. Having overcome her own battle with addiction, obesity, and eating disorders, Laura released 100 pounds 25 years ago. She has chronicled this journey in her new book, Weightless: The Be Good To Yourself Diet. Learn more about Laura’s programs, or invite her to speak by visiting her website at OnePinky.com, her Facebook Pages and connect with Laura on Twitter.