2017 is over, and so too the first few months of 2018.
We are living longer, more complex lives, both inner and outer. Women have more responsibility than men, with the demands of family, either their own children or elderly parents, and work.
Most of us start the new year hoping to improve something. The cynical ones, or maybe the wise, don’t bother.
Coping with the demands made on us, especially if you are not happy about your situation, and want to create some form of change, is not easy.
Sometimes, we just feel that there is a disconnect between who we are, our current self, and our true self. The podcast below with Tim Ferris and Dr Gabor Mate touches on this.
The complexity of our lives comes from all the interactions and activities around you, impinging on your time and energy, along with the demands of your work.
A significant challenge for some would be to start a business; to become an entrepreneur. Or to begin a transition from work to self-employment. Maybe to get more control over your life, to ease off and do something you would love to wake up to work on. A deeper purpose that maybe reaching out to you subconsciously from your true-self.
The easiest way to make a shift or to change habits is to alter your situation. Giving up smoking is always easier when you go on a holiday than at home.
You might be a move to a new location, to quit your job, retire or rid negative people from your life.
When you can’t change your situation, then you have to take the cognitive route – the thinking and planning needed to make a change.
Sometimes change is too hard, and nothing happens. There’s no support or encouragement, or, it’s harder than you thought, costs too much, or you are worried what other’s think.
Abandoning change is a choice too.
If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.
Choices and futures
One way to think about your future is reflecting on your probable and preferred future.
Continuing as is, delivers a probable future. It may have a few new twists, lucky breaks and hopefully no nasty surprises. Not much will change, but it offers safety. It’s where most of us are comfortable and why most New Years Resolutions fail. Current habits, both good and bad, are sometimes just too hard to change.
Creating a preferred future means thinking about the sort of future you would like. Starting from where you are now. Taking the steps necessary to get to that place.
Your future self
You have a responsibility to your future self to reconnect with your true-self, for your long term happiness, well-being and satisfaction.
Reflect on yourself as an 80-year-old and look back to your current self.
Picture your appearance and where you might be living. Your lifestyle.
What would you say to yourself? Would that conversation change the choices you are making today or Tomorrow?
Decisions are not easy
The more complex a decision, the less likely it happens. Too many choices freeze up our brains, and we defer to the default mode, i.e. what we’ve always done.
To make a successful change effort requires bravery and perseverance on your part. Something that’s not always easy to do on your own.
Where to start, when, how, what to do
Start with something easy.
Ask yourself, what would it look like if you did this?
What would you notice if you succeeded with the change you wanted?
Most resolutions are about losing weight and getting fit.
Regular fitness activities have a range of health benefits. Most of us think that means the gym and sweaty exercises.
But it might be as simple as moving more every day.
Parking the car further away from the supermarket and walking, or taking the stairs rather than the lift.
Losing weight is more problematic as it is hard to know who to believe about what is the best diet. I think it is self-evident that dieting doesn’t work, but interestingly, fitness alone doesn’t seem to reduce weight alone. You will need to do some research for yourself.
Shifting to self-employment
A strong motivator for making a shift to work for yourself may be that you are unhappy with your job or close to retirement.
In the scheme of things, deciding to shift from working for someone else to funding yourself is a risk. Entrepreneurs make decisions. Hence this topic and starting the journey with easy steps.
If you are an expert in your field, you may want to use that expertise to create a business.
An expert is someone who has a depth of knowledge within a discipline. They can recognise patterns and solve particular problems. An expert has built up a considerable amount of intuitive tacit know-how to get things done. With a professional, disciplined background, it is also much easier to make the decisions required and to learn what is need to make a business work.
This sort of shift involves some thought-provoking changes and decisions. There will be consequences and commitments. Your circle of friends or relationships may change.
There may be setbacks as these are a natural part of takings such risks. It may take longer than you think. How you go about this will determine your ultimate success.
This has not been easy for me to write. After all, how can I possibly imagine what it is like to be in your shoes? Our culture appears to be one where we feel we have to be an ‘optimized version’ of ourselves. That to me places too many expectations on us, to be perfect, to look youthful, be mindful, always be mentally alert. Especially as we age. It’s way easier to just let things happen.
Taking control is not easy.
The first place to start with any change is to start by dealing with stress. It stops us losing unwanted weight, makes us want to have that extra glass of wine, not do anything, or just keep soldiering on as is. We all have underlying stress or pain that holds us back. It’s part of being human.
You may find that one little change such as trying to meditate using the Headspace app below, may help. Or, if you can, take up some yoga if you have the time.
Change is a process.
Any long-term change takes time, longer than you think.
Make decisions and see what happens.
We know that we get better with practice.
Map out some simple, easy steps you can take. The clearer, the better.
Be patient, but disciplined.
Seek out, supportive people. Some fans who can cheer you on and encourage you. Ditch the negative ones
How to change things by Chip and Dan Heath
Designing your life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
Mindfulness by Ellen J Langer
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever by Marie Kondo
The school of life https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7IcJI8PUf5Z3zKxnZvTBog
A selection of useful videos: https://www.youtube.com/wisepreneursaustralia
On Being by Krista Tippet
Waking Up by Sam Harris
Women at Work – HBR
Tim Ferris is THE optimized- self-guru and many of his podcasts are very good. This interview with Dr Gabor Mate is one I think you may find out a little more about your inner-self. While the topic is about addiction, it is not just about drugs, it is about us. https://tim.blog/2018/02/20/gabor-mate/
Headspace for meditation
Habitify – for mapping habits
Runkeeper – for tracking your walking
Business know-how and shifting to self employment
Please log in again. The login page will open in a new window. After logging in you can close it and return to this page.