The point of my previous blog post was to inspire you to consider action. At LifeMatters, I see too many people who are not really in charge of their lives, and likely to have many regrets at the end.
Some people already have a long list of regrets and believe that they are too late in life for making a difference. They are being defeated by themselves. These people are effectively paralyzed and they feel powerless (which, really, they are not). They are scared to make any move at all.
Often, something as simple as the belief of a LifeMatters counselor is enough for them to realize that things need not be as they are. Having someone else believe that they can make a better life can be just what some people need to get past their stuck point. But, sadly, for others, fear is such a hindrance that they stay stuck. You don’t want this to be you.
So, take charge, and don’t let that happen to you! If there is a bit of a risk, take it! If you have to stand up to others, learn to do it. If you have to scale back on some obligations to give yourself more freedom, then figure out how you can. The first step is allowing yourself to think outside of your own box.
Here are five basic principles to follow so you can avoid the regrets to come.
- Know yourself. We are all subject to the expectations of loved ones and our communities, so there can be tension about expressing our individuality. How much of you can you give up to fit in? Will you let yourself follow your own path if others disapprove or want something else from you?
- Have and keep a vision. Think ahead! What do you want to be proud of on your last day? Keep that as the guiding vision for your decisions and work toward it. Don’t passively let life happen to you. Don’t just be reactive to what happens. Rather, accept life as your own journey and take charge to push ahead to a goal of your choosing.
- Present and future. It’s necessary to have a clear idea of what is important, both for now and for the long run. Balancing out the two is the trick, taking care of what is necessary today with an eye to how it fits into the bigger picture of the life you are creating.
- Focus. Devote your time and energy exclusively to what is meaningful. Aren’t there many things that can get you off your game plan? Life is busy, with many obligations, and the needs of yourself and your loved ones are both important. Ask yourself what fits into and what works against your plans. Keeping your vision clear is how you can separate your vision from unnecessary (but attractive) distractions.
- Revise the process. There have to be times (the end of a new year, for example) where you take stock of where you are headed, what you have achieved, and what you might need to work harder on. Sometimes you can see that you have gotten off track only by stopping and getting a reading on where you are.
These steps are simple, but do involve challenges. Granted, you are probably already familiar with them, but we all know things that we need to keep learning. People tend to make the same mistakes repeatedly, so some ideas must be revisited regularly to bring them back to the forefront of our minds.
Finally, I’ll say that it would be pointless if you read these two blog posts and there was no change at all in your life. I hope that doesn’t happen, and that even if the only change you make is to realize that you need to start making changes, that is worthy. It’s the first step towards making the difference that you want, and I hope you take action sooner rather than later.