Last time we talked about whether or not it’s time for us to redefine what success means to us, given that many of the people I know are having these kinds of post-lockdown existential conversations.

If you’re thinking about big picture stuff like this, it might make sense in parallel to think on more of a micro-level to decide WHAT you might choose as a focus (or focuses) for your next chunk of time and HOW specifically you might set about doing this.

A year is a consistent, neat and manageable block of time for most of us to conceptualise, and so it can be useful to think in terms of that timeframe when making decisions about what to do. Yes I realise it’s not the new year yet, but given the year it’s been and how much displacement and disruption many of us have been through, I reckon now is the perfect time to start welcoming a new year. Before the Christmas crazy sets in and before we park up for some down time over the holidays.

There are so many ways we can go about deciding what to do next. Of course for plenty of people it will be status quo and same old same old, but if you’re wanting make some changes and improvements… how do you expect anything new and different if you don’t do anything new and different? It just doesn’t work like that.

 

Start big… or start small

To set the wheels of change in motion you can star by having a rough (or specific) idea of where you want to head and work back from that to create the road map to getting there, or you can start smaller by looking at a number of your life factors and creating plans or goals or even a theme in each of these areas. A combination of both approaches is probably the most helpful in assisting you towards the changes you desire.

We’ve talked before about using a “Wheel of Life”. This is only one, albeit visual way to capture your key areas of focus and take a snapshot of where you currently stand in each of these areas.

You can see the headings I’ve used in this example Wheel of Life to consider some areas that might be important to you, but you can customise this to what you would like to focus on by choosing your own ares of focus.

Think about the gaps you’d like to plug, the areas you’d like to spend some time, energy or even effort and get clear about WHY these things are important to you. What end result will they be taking you towards? What will they enable you to achieve/do/feel/become? Without considering those things, how do you know they’re important? We are looking at the whole and the parts at the same time!

What are some of those bucket list items (for now New Zealand-based) that you’re wanting to achieve? What are the big ticket things you want to do or improve?

 

 Find a good time to think about this stuff

A lot of you might think this is “work” or something heavy that you don’t have time for. Fair enough, but consider this: this is your one shot at this life. Isn’t it worth investing a bit of headspace in shaping it to your liking rather than living out your days by default? If you’re happy and content, rock on, no need to make any changes, but if you’re not (and there are for sure a lot of people who aren’t!) then what is within your power to shape?

I do most of my processing and ideas generating when I’m walking. In fact if I have something to work on, I always start the process with a walk. In this way I think about things without thinking about them! The ideas just come randomly at first and then over time they start to solidify.

 

 Be patient

Many of the people I work with are frustrated and impatient at the lack of progress and “why is this all so hard?” To which I naturally reply something along the lines of: good things take time, to make great decisions you have to consider multiple strands, Rome wasn’t built in a day. And after all, what’s the hurry? This is your life you’re talking about! Too many decisions are made without considering the consequences and the big picture. What’s the point in wasting your time spending energy hurtling in a direction that doesn’t take you where you ultimately want to go? Isn’t it worth slowing down just a little and giving yourself a bit of time to mull things a bit?

 

Think but not too much

… naturally the opposite of this can be a problem too. Ruminating over and over without taking any action can be paralysing and of course you aren’t going anywhere if you don’t take any action. It’s the sweet spot somewhere in between these two extremes that’s most effective.