This Is Your Life, Are You Who You Want to Be?
This Is Your Life, Are You Who You Want to Be?
I love that song. Do you know it? “This Is Your Life” by the band Switchfoot. The question is as relevant as ever.
“This is your life. Are you who you want to be?”
I think there’s joy in asking. There’s something wonderful about pausing to reflect. Taking stock. A personal inventory, if you will. It’s never too late. The fact that you stopped to check in with yourself is proof enough that it’s not too late. Your life is worth the self-examination.
We should all do a check in now and then, and the fact that you are willing is something to be grateful for in itself.
What’s This About Self-examination?
For many of us, September beckons to us yearly to do a self-check in. But it’s not necessary to wait for a school new year, or for Monday or for the first of next month. Start today if you have the willingness to start today.
Shape Your “Wheel of Life”
Dave Ramsey says, “You will hit what you aim at. If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” He talks of the “wheel of life,” which comes from Zig Ziglar, among others. The “spokes” of this wheel include:
- Personal finances
- Spiritual growth
- Physical health
- Intellectual growth
- Social relationships
We need to pay attention, and keep our wheel/ourselves “well rounded” or in harmony. Each of these items is essential to our well being.
We deserve to take time for ourselves and grow in each of these areas. Actually, not only do we deserve it, but we owe it to everybody else to get or stay “in shape” in these areas.
You probably already know about “SMART goals.” SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Limited.
Certainly I want you to spend some time crafting goals that meet these criteria. Plenty has been written about how to set SMART goals.
But it’s not a glum duty.
It’s a joy.
I want to help you spark enthusiasm in your life again. I want you to dream. I want you to say “what if” to yourself, and wake up excited to start your day.
How do we set goals in these areas?
Do you have 30 minutes? Set a timer.
Grab a piece of paper and divide it up into 7 blocks. Label the blocks with the “wheel of life” areas.
Next, just start at the first item and put wishes and dreams. Your hopes and desires.
Think of it as a mini-retreat. Grab yourself a cup of coffee, tea, whatever sounds good. Find a pen and a nice notebook if you’d prefer to take a longer time with it. If you’re writing inclined, as I am, you’ll love it. Ask yourself a few questions. I’ve included a few prompts for each “spoke” to spark some ideas.
Do you want a new job, a promotion, learn to speak in public? Would you like to start networking, maybe learn how to use LinkedIn? Join Toastmasters? Build a business, become an entrepreneur?Finances
How great would it be to save $1000 or $25,000 to have in an emergency fund? To plan for a summer vacation, to put a down payment on your first house with your spouse? To allocate a percentage of your income to giving?
Have you always wanted to learn to meditate in a class? Do you want to go back to your childhood spiritual home, or try a new church? Is there a book by a spiritual teacher that speaks to you? Is the outdoors your place to commune with your higher power? What feels right?
Would you like to go 30 days without a candy bar? Drink more water? Put 10,000 steps on your pedometer each day? Complete a marathon, or try your first walking 5K? Have you been wanting to make a doctor’s appointment to get your blood pressure or your eyes checked? Take care of yourself this way.
It’s not for work, it’s not a spiritual text. You just think it’s fun. Maybe you’d like to learn some Spanish for an upcoming vacation. Maybe you have a love of history, and your grandfather served in WWII, so you check out a library book and start learning.
You might decide as a parent or parents, to set aside a couple of nights each month for family game night or movie night. Everyone can look forward to it, and it can be non-negotiable once scheduled.
Maybe there is a family trip to plan for, but family goals don’t have to cost money. Throw around a football, have a cookout for no particular occasion, indulge family traditions. In fact, create new ones if you like!
Spend time thinking about concrete ways to nurture those relationships beyond family. John Mellencamp has a song with lyrics: “Forgot to say hello to my neighbor/Sometimes I question my own behavior.” Well, don’t do that. Say hey. Be neighborly. Call an old friend to check in, or invite a new acquaintance to breakfast or to go see a baseball game, your kid’s play, or to take a walk or hike with you. Expand your circle, and nurture the relationships you already value.
Those 30 minutes went by quickly, huh? I know! It’s exciting to think of the possibilities.
There isn’t time enough in a day, a week, or a month to perfect each area. But little tweaks add up. Can you jump in with a new habit today or next week? Where could you be in a year? Dare to let yourself get excited.
Channel that excitement into some solid SMART goals, too. Back up those wishes with some solid commitment such as calendar dates. Again, much as been written on how to make incremental progress.
Excitement will wax and wane. There will be an ebb and a flow, and you may want to review your progress monthly as you integrate the spokes of this wheel into everyday life.
It can be done. You can create a life that you love even more than the one you’re living today.
An intentional life of balance and harmony and conscious creation.
Just start anywhere. But do start.
Try one new thing. Just one new thing will lead to an sense of wonder and accomplishment that spurs on improvements and fun in other areas.
If you haven’t done the 30 minute writing exercise yet, consider putting it on your calendar for this weekend. Just 30 minutes can have you smiling with anticipation of your own growth and fun.
This is your life. Are you who you want to be?
Now is always the best time to ask yourself this question.
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