“Becky, do I have to change everything at once?”
No – and you should not. To try to change everything simultaneously will only lead to frustration and disappointment. The process of Designing Your Ideal Life should be done in a series of steps.
I like to advise people to first identify one particular problem; even if the problem is one out of many. For example, I may decide it is important to take charge of my health. It is the “Health Pillar” of which I write. Perhaps my goal is to lose 50 pounds. What kind of plan do you have in mind? Or, you may be in debt and your goal is to reduce debt. The “Finance Pillar” is also very important. How will you reduce your debt? What is your plan? Do you need a new job? Extra income? Will you go to fewer restaurants? Put yourself on a strict budget? Cut your credit cards in half? How will you make a financial plan for yourself?
Most of us usually have multiple problems; not just one. How should we choose? Ask yourself: “What is my biggest pain? What is really nagging me? Try to work on that problem first. Remember, it is not the same problem for everyone. It is why a “group change” is difficult. This is a road we often need to take by ourselves.
Biggest pain versus biggest fear
Are they the same? Not necessarily. When we need to make a change in our lives we need to change what really nags us. I may not be afraid of losing weight, I just don’t want to give up nice foods. For example, it may pain me to give up a bowl of chocolate-chip ice cream, but I can do it. However, I may be Shop-at-Home channel “addict,” and cutting my credit card in half absolutely terrifies me. There are many overweight people and many people are mired in debt. These situations happen for different reasons, and while neither is “healthy,” decide which one terrifies you the most. Of course, there are many other problems that confront us; bad relationships, a rotten job, a terrible boss, the need to find a completely new career – and more, but the one to go after first is to go after the problem that is really nagging us.
A gentle word of caution. If you are thousands of dollars in debt and you want to get your finances in shape, do not take that as an excuse to double the amount of calories you consume. While you may want to solve your weight problem after your finances, don’t keep adding to your weight in the meantime!
This much I do know for most everyone. If you can conquer one fear, the next challenge will be just a little easier. It is a process and I know you can do it.
I want people to figure out where they are and then to create an action plan. If the action plan is not working, figure out why. Make your action plan manageable. For example, most diets fail because a person awakens one morning and says, “I will only eat 1,000 calories a day from now on.” Those diets crash and burn. Start simpler: “I eat bread seven days a week; now I’ll only eat bread on Sunday.” Everything must be in balance, and there must be a sense of balance.
“Designing Your Ideal Life” talks of 8 Pillars. To have one pillar under control, but to completely neglect the other seven won’t really help you. If you get your finances under control but you can’t sleep at night because your job is so painful then that too, must be changed.
If you want to make changes, it can be done. You’re not alone; I can help you.