The Life You Choose
When confronted with a habit, we often act like addicts; justifying them, quantifying them, defending them, all for the sake of not having to change. The biggest, most impactful question I ask myself today - How does this serve me in my life? Does this lead me where I want to go or am I letting life carry me away? While the latter may seem like an adventure, its no different than getting on a sailboat with no destination in mind, no navigation tools and just letting the wind carry you all over the ocean. At first, it might seem exciting. But quickly the wind carries you out to vast expansive blue, no land in sight and you are left panicking. Trying to find your way out of this mess. How do you find land? Great adventures require preparation. Think climbing Mount Everest, African safaris or going to the moon. Planning goes a long way. All great adventures require some planning so when the unexpected enters we are better equipped to create a solution with knowledge and confidence.
A few years ago my family took a trip to Maui. We had planned a lot of our trip but left time to discover what the island would share with us. Our adventure was a huge success because we did what we wanted to experience yet still had the element of spontaneity. We also received excellent tips from locals on places to eat, the secluded beaches for surfers and other interesting activities. Had we not planned, would we have known how much money we’d need, the best places to see on the island, or the absolute activities we wanted to experience?
Life shouldn’t be planned to the last detail. That’s boring. Even if you did plan that extensively, life often intervenes and sends you something else. That additional adventure may be fun or a struggle. Planning allows you to navigate those changes with tools and options so you can stay on course and get to your ultimate destination.
I am now a member of a small planning group of three. We are planning the life we want and the habits we wish to have. It’s the first time I’ve taken this approach to life with such deliberate thought. Sure, I’ve set goals but this is different. Old habits often create obstacles. These can be conscious or subconscious. By creating healthy habits, within our support group we expect to see changes. We all have different goals and the habits we are creating don’t all look the same. However, in strategizing, I saw the power in our group. We are likeminded people, willing to change, drawing up a plan in great detail and there to help the others realize their stories that limit them. We are powerful together. Honest. Real. A guidance system to each other.
Like a New Years resolution, you head to the gym religiously for the first few weeks then over time the gym becomes more of a hassle. You stop going. Part of the reason for this - will power and support. A recovering alcoholic has a room full of supporters all cheering them on because those supporters want to see that person succeed. If that person succeeds, so can they. And so can you.
As adults we become so - Busy - a word too familiar to most adults. Myself included. We create chaos in our lives by taking on too many responsibilities expecting to get everything done. Being a single parent with two boys in hockey, running a business, the podcast, speaking events and writing a book, life feels like chaos more than not. Yet each moment now has a purpose and feels empowered, energized and exciting. I realize chaos is only a matter of ill planning. I may still have moments of chaos, though they are fair and few between now and know it doesn’t have to be that way.
Everything starts with the desire for something new, something better, and definitely something exciting. But without a destination and plan in place, you begin to drift. What if there was something you could do that would make everything else easier? Even make some choices easier to say no to. Could planning create alignment in your life so the choices you made, made you happy? You could say no without guilt.
You CAN have happiness.
Chart your course.
Setting a goal correctly offers you the plan and supersedes the willpower part.
Goal setting goes well beyond the S.M.A.R.T goal. Take the time to plan or dream up what you really want in your life. What does that life feel like? What would you feel like living that life? What would you look like in it? How would you act? What are some of the things you’d do? Once you have a picture of this new life you want to create, start looking at what needs to be done.
So, you want to be in the best shape of your life. What now?
Do the foods you eat align with the person you see when you are in the best shape of your life? Are sugars too high? Do you eat after 8 pm? Do you eat at similar times each day or are meals all over?
Do your workout habits match the best shape life? Do you work out once a week or 5 times a week? Are the workouts keeping you in the fat burning zone or are you eating muscle?
Are your sleep habits matching? Do you get 7-8 hours sleep? Do you go to bed at similar times each night?
If not, what could you change? Look at three things that optimize performance and results and watch how quickly you will change.
The biggest question I ask myself today is this – If I don’t change my ‘plan’ or ‘none-plan’ now what cost will it have for me in 1 year, 5 years or 20 years? Will it be the life I want or the life that happens to me? A life of direction, accomplishment, and happiness or a life of reaction to whatever comes. That life to me is frustration, regret and unfulfilled.
Take the time to look at the life you want. Feel it. Embody it.
Who are you going to be?