Redefining what 'it' all means


In my post last week I talked about reevaluating how I'm setting new years resolutions.  This year I'm focused on defining what 'it' is for me.  Defining the things I value in life.  Defining the things that are important to me.  Crafting goals around those values and things, rather that on some social norms or values that I should think are important.  

It's a journey I've been on for a few months... maybe even years now... of redefining what 'it' all is and what I'm doing to achieve it.  It's something immensely personal and unique.  I'm not the same as you, and nor should I try to be.  I don't have to achieve things just because I can.  I don't have to acquire things just because I can.  Just because I could have a great job, family, nice home, great stuff doesn't mean I should.  In fact whether it is possible or not for me to do something shouldn't dictate whether I do it or not.  It's better to start at the other end and say what do I want to do and then ask can I do it, and how do I do it.

When you start with the questions what do I want to do?  Who do I want to be? you have to ignore what you are capable of.  Current capability limits our thinking.  It shrinks our dreams.  We let it define what is possible, rather than challenge us to do something improbable.  Creating a vision for your life that is bigger than what you currently are capable of stretches you & challenges you.  So how do you do it?  For me there are a few things that I have to keep in mind. 

Write out lists of things you love to do and spend time doing those things.  We all have things that get us excited.  Things that make us feel alive and inspire us.  Spend time doing these things every day - even if it's only 5 minutes.  It will energize you.  It will inspire you.  And most of all it will spark new creativity with in you.  

It's important to try new things.  Now this may sound contradictory to what I said earlier about only doing what you want to do.  I don't mean it to be.  If you have absolutely no desire to go diving with sharks then it's quite ok not to try it.  But if you want to become an underwater documentary expert it's probably a good idea to have a go and see if you like it or not.  For me trying new things is all about giving myself the permission to experiment with new sights, sounds, activities, foods and to see if I like them or not.  If I don't, well I never have to do it again.  But if I do, well maybe there is a new hobby or passion that I can build into my life or work that makes the day exciting and challenging again.  So when someone calls you up and asks you to try something new, unless you're horrified by the idea why not give it ago.

Embrace fear and walk through it.  Fear can paralyze you and hold you back from so many things.  It's important to remember that the first time you do anything it can be scary.  But by taking baby steps to conquer fear can open up a world of possibilities that you never dreamed of. 

Let go of the things you think you should do/be/have.  When you allow others to dictate what your life should be you waste hours trying to be something for them, not for yourself.  Instead ask the question what could I do/be/have.  There is no right or wrong answer, just the one that resonates with you.

Life is a journey, not a destination. Your interests, passions and who you are will change and develop over time and that's ok.  Things that you loved in your 20's might not have such a strong interest in your 30's and that's ok.  It's ok to let go of things you once loved.  Don't try holding on.  Cherish it for what it was and allow yourself to grow into something new.

For me the most important thing to do is to remind myself that every day is a new day.  It's an opportunity to reevaluate who I am and where I want to go, and to take the steps that I can to move slowly in that direction.  Oh and most importantly to have fun doing it.  Life isn't chore.  It's a wonderful experience that unfolds day by day.