How A List Changed My Life
How Can A List Change Your Life?
Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but a list — written in blue pen on the back of a store receipt — really did change my life.
It happened exactly as I just described it above — I wrote a list and it changed my life.
For the hows and the whys — you need to know a bit of background:
Five years ago, I was a different person.
I was alone, exhausted and miserable.
I couldn’t sleep, and was constantly on edge, unable to feel anything. If I could have disappeared into thin air, I would have taken the opportunity.
I was stuck in a rut. I didn’t know how to cope, or why this had happened, but I knew it wasn’t going to end very well.
At the time, I was a high school teacher, and I loved working with my students. During the day, I was a high-functioning, high-energy teacher; in the evenings and at weekends, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. I’d be so lonely and lacking in energy — I started to hate myself and everyone else for being able to feel normal and happy.
I’d go days forgetting to eat or not feeling hungry, and then binge on ridiculous amounts of chocolate to try and make myself feel better and — you guessed it — it made me feel even worse than before.
Because who would take me seriously? This was all in my head, right? So why couldn’t I just try to cheer up a little?
The Lowest Point
Depression and Anxiety are difficult to describe. They’re even more difficult to talk about, and even if I had wanted to, I felt I had nowhere to turn.
I couldn’t talk to my friends — I’d gradually lost touch with most, and the few that were left had their own, serious issues to deal with. How could I so selfishly discuss my problems with them — when mine were self-made and fake, and theirs were very real and physical?
After some time, it all finally broke. I ended up staying at home for two weeks, during which I didn’t leave the house once.
I called work and told them I was unwell. I switched my phone off.
Noone came looking for me or contacted me. And being at my lowest point, alone, filled with sadness, allowed me to take a hard look at my life — something I hadn’t been able to do with all the noise around me.
The Breakthrough — The Life Changing List
Every time I had tried to work out why I was unhappy, I got lost in my thoughts. So, I decided to work backwards — starting with my end goal — to be happy.
- I started thinking about WHAT would make me happy, and WHY.
- I thought about HOW I would do these things.
- I thought about WHEN. I thought about WHERE.
- Most importantly, I thought about WHO were the people involved, and how they would affect the most important WHO of all –
From there, I had a whole plan of things to do — ‘actionable items’ — which would get me to my ultimate goal.
It didn’t happen overnight, but eventually, I got there. And beyond.
After a while not only did I feel happy, healthy and better than ever before — but making myself happy proved to me that I was capable of achieving anything. That is, anything I wanted to, given I had planned it the right way and embraced any and every setback.
The path to positive change is anything but easy — but each achievement is totally worth it.
Welcome to my blog — what do you want to achieve? Let me know in the comments, or contact me.
Originally published at Sweet Clean Living | Living Clean & Healthy.