How to take action to improve your Life

In the last few weeks I have talked about the practicals of living the first three principles of Life Talent.

1. Make the most of what is special about you.
2. Overcome your inner obstacles to fulfilling your potential.
3. Learn to feel the support of Life itself.
4. Take action to improve your life.

Today, let’s talk about the practicals of the fourth principle: how to improve your life.

There are 3 key things you need to do to change your life:

1. Create more well-being.
2. Create a new positive habit.
3. Start small, then review.

 

 

1. Create more well-being

What makes you feel at one with life? What puts you in the zone so you feel happy and aligned in yourself.

And don’t say alcohol, dope, random sex and other disconnected activities. These are ways to avoid pain rather heal pain.

What about time in nature, deep conversations with a friend, cuddles, your favourite sport, dancing, listening to music, meditation, mindfulness, the professional activity that makes your heart sing?

Anything that has a mindfulness component or is completely absorbing will do the trick.

My daily practices include meditation, 10 minutes of yoga and intimate conversations (and a hug) with my girlfriend or a friend. I am aiming to take exercise every day but can’t quite call it a daily practice yet.

During the week I dance twice a week when I am in London, go to the gym and walk on Hampstead Heath.

Monthly, I try to get out of London for a long country walk.

What creates well-being in you? How can you do more of this? Research shows that well-being practices not only feel good at the time, but have a lasting effect: the well-being improves your decision-making, social skills, risk-taking and is likely to make you more successful in your endeavours.

2. Create a new positive habit

Good habits improve your life. Pick something that you would like to make into a habit, apply the following principles:

1. Make the habit short and easy to do. My yoga practice can be a one-minute exercise. There is NO reason not to do it 6 days a week. Of course, if I have time, it extends to 10 or 15 minutes.

2. Be realistic about how often you can do it. Less is better; you can always increase it later. My yoga practice is scheduled for 6 days a week so that on days when I have very early starts or urgent agendas I am not breaking my commitment by not doing it.

3. Schedule the activity as an appointment in your calendar. We usually turn up on time for appointments, so we are more likely to start the habit at the time booked if we have scheduled it. Once it is scheduled, no further decision is needed, you just do it at the allotted time.

4. Reinforce yourself every time you fulfil the commitment. Say “Well done me”. Make a weekly chart which you sign off when you fulfil the commitment. Use a gold star or a smiley to reward yourself. At the end of a week or a month, give yourself a bigger reward.

5. Be curious and compassionate about failure and start again.

Be warned, breaking old habits is harder than starting new ones so, if possible, start a new habit rather than break an old one. For example, I want to be more vegan, so I focus on delicious vegetables and recipes rather than worrying about occasional meat-eating. I focus on the positive.

Other methods are needed if you want to break strong habits (or addictions). – James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits, Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results, is a good place to start.

3. Start small, then review

Entrepreneurs try something out, and then improve and adapt (or cancel).

Rather than planning big changes but never putting them into action, plan minute ones. Don’t decide to dance. Go dancing once and see how you like it. Want to change career? Find a way to test it by going on a secondment or volunteering for a week, or doing a short course.

A friend of mine is a Celebrant (conducts marriages and funerals). She wondered how involved in funerals she wanted to be and so she volunteered for a couple of weeks in a funeral parlour.
I am interested in helping people find a personal relationship with a higher power. I ran a one-day workshop, now I am planning a 2-day workshop. We will see what happens.

Break out of your comfort zone. As Steve Jobs said “Stay hungry. Stay foolish”. Or, as I might say at the ripe-old-age of 63, “Stay young. Stay foolish”. I will never be too old to try something I want to try. I can take a risk on something once. I have quite a disciplined life. I have a spiritual practice, take exercise, dance, and have a small circle of intimate friends.

Sometimes my world is too small and comfortable. Sometimes I need to break out and try something different. This autumn, I broke out and volunteered for Extinction Rebellion in London by facilitating decentralised decision-making meetings sitting at roadblocks in London. Now that is different!

What might break you out of the narrow confines of your current life?

How do we support taking action at the 4-day The Personal Transformation Intensive: Life Talent Level 1, Friday 17 – Monday 20 January 2020 and the 15 day (over 4 modules) Life Talent Programme: Level 2 starting on 6th March 2020?

Right from the start of the programme we get you to set goals for the year; new things to try and new habits to reinforce. Then you debrief in weekly coaching calls with other participants and in longer exercises during each module of the programme. We don’t wait for you to have made all the inner changes before you start the outer changes. We start the outer changes at the same time as we make the inner changes.
Very small outer changes lead, slowly but surely, to big changes in life.

This blog is part of a series of articles on the 4 main principles of the Life Talent Programme.