5 steps to achieving the life of your dreams without burning out on the way
Just when did your life get so complicated and how did ‘busy’ end up replacing ‘happy’?
Is this how you wanted it to be when you started out? Or has your life slowly evolved into an endless to-do list? You tick off ‘achievements’ at the end of every day, but that doesn’t make you feel better for very long, because there's always more to-dos to tag onto the bottom.
And if your successful life doesn't give you the time to do the things you want to do or be with the people you want to be with, is that really success at all?
If you're happy with who you've become, then that's great, but do you sometimes find yourself thinking there must be another way?
Life is too short to live someone else's
Life on the ‘busyness’ merry-go-round can end up making us feel a bit dizzy and out of control.
Yes, there are the highs but there are plenty of lows too.
Perhaps you set the achievement bar so high because you felt you had to. Getting more means being more, doesn’t it? That seems to be what the world expects. Way back, perhaps you learned you had to achieve to win the approval of your parents? Parental approval means a lot to a child, and to an adult too for that matter. But parental love should not be conditional or need to be earned.
As a therapeutic coach, I regularly use the holistic wheel of life to assess whether my clients are living a life which allows them to get their emotional needs met because when our needs are met in balance, we feel good about life.
Less is more
Julie was a real high flyer.
She’d been in advertising for five years and her career had really taken off. Yet Julie felt she was starting to burn out and described feeling, ‘empty inside’. Something was missing, she said, but she didn't know what. This soon became apparent when we started work on the life wheel.
the sections of this life wheel should read work, work, work all way round. There’s not much else going on.’
Well we don't need to look much further for the roots of your empty feeling, Julie’ I observed. ‘Perhaps it’s time to identify the kind of life that would actually make you happy rather than one focused on getting results, then we can start work creating a plan to start working towards that.’
Julie had to decide what her priorities were. She had to decide what, and who, really mattered to her. This would actually mean doing less and being more.
The ability to say no is an important life skill if you want to achieve balance, rather than just getting caught in the busy trap.
It's so easy to buy into the illusion that ‘busyness ‘equals ‘effectiveness’. But that rather confuses quantity with quality and, if you work smarter rather than harder, you can actually do less whilst achieving so much more.
The answer is not to do more, but to do what matters and, to know what matters, you have to have a clear picture of the life you really want to live; the one that will make you truly happy.
- If you’ve got a busy diary, you may need to schedule in an appointment with yourself when you can hop off the merry-go-round for long enough to let the mental whiplash settle so you can think more clearly.
- Use the wheel of life (available online) to create a detailed picture of your perfect life.
- Make a vision board of images which represent that life.
- Put it in a place where you can see it every day.
- Start every day by closing your eyes and seeing yourself living that life. Feel what it feels like. Notice the people that surround you in that future life. Look in the mirror and enjoy the image of yourself, happy and living the life of your dreams.
When you realise that real success is measured by happiness rather than status, you can allow yourself to step off the ‘busyness’ merry-go-round.
And you’ll probably find that endless things to do list gets shorter all by itself.