There are so many areas of life where you need balance, it is difficult to know where to start. Whilst you can focus more on one area of your life you wish to improve, you should never completely neglect other key areas. Your emotional self, your finances, your health, your career, your self-development, family and relationships etc. all need balance. For me, I’ve recently been focusing more on my emotional self, but unfortunately neglected other aspects of my life that needed attention in particular my health and relationships.
The biggest block for me was believing this was the hand I was dealt, I was born poor and will stay poor, I struggle with my emotions, finances, motivation …. the list goes on. I also gave up too easy whenever something failed. I now know that failure is not only part of the journey to success, it is an essential step. Trust me, you will never meet a successful person who has never failed at anything. Now, I not only believe I can change my life, I have started with baby steps and know that I will turn things around.
I don’t believe it is healthy to focus on one area alone, whilst you may need to put some extra effort in to certain areas, you should never completely neglect others.
So where to start?
The best way to start is to look at where are you now, and where do you want to be.
Stop putting obstacles / excuses in your own way, if there is an obstacle, identify it and pretend your life depends on removing this obstacle, what would you need to do? If that obstacle is out of your control, what’s your contingency plan?
Biggest negative impact?
Because it’s stressful, low paid, it doesn’t inspire you
What job would you enjoy?
Do you have the skills?
What skills do you need?
Qualification and experience
How can you acquire those skills?
Via an online interactive course and practising designs for self and others, create invitations for friends party / wedding etc.
- Apply for internships / apprenticeships / jobs
- Identify and apply for course (college / university / online)
- Practice: sign up to Canva.com, give yourself projects / tasks to do, and continue to practice and learn. The internet is full of learning resources and information to help with this.
Break your actions down to baby steps.
Tip: Don’t give up, if it’s what you want, pursue it relentlessly, you will get there!
In order to plan addressing the issues in your life and keep track of progress, create a table (typed or written) with each area of your life across the top or side, put next to each area what bothers you the most in that area, what you want to fix the most. Then work across or down putting the actions needed and underneath each action put the small steps you can take to change that area to your desired outcome. Read it regularly, you can even keep it with you. If you are making big changes, break them down, focus on the next step only and don’t make big changes to more than two areas of your life, one area is better to start with.
One key theme throughout my life, is I have always struggled with finances, the poor choices I have made have prevented me from reaching financial security. Although, I have changed my mindset around my finances. First came awareness of my excessive spending which came about through some self-awareness exercises I was doing late last year. I made the connection that I am an emotional spender, hence my lifelong struggle with finances. If there was just £5 in my account I had to buy something, purchasing things that didn’t necessarily make me feel good, but the anticipation of the delivery, opening, trying on of a new outfit seemed to give me a boost, all be it short lived. I would then feel guilty and depressed when my credit card statement kept creeping up until I had no credit left.
This was the end of the road for me, how was I going to fund my shopping addiction? When I faced the truth, I realised I couldn’t carry on with my spending habits. I started by not looking online at new clothing, shoes, handbags, books, any gadget I thought was a valuable addition to my life. This was difficult in the beginning, but it got easier, until one day I realised I had not looked online for a week or two, the urge to go online as soon as I got home from work to see what new clothing lines had been added had reduced so much so I didn’t even think about it much and if I did, I just remembered my financial goals of having savings and getting out of debt.
Once I could see the small amount of my savings mounting, this was all the motivation I needed. I have been doing this since November 2019 and although I am far from where I want to be, I am definitely on the right path. If only I had done this earlier on in life, I would have avoided the mess I am in financially, feeling like I’m working to pay for years gone by, not having the money to enjoy my life now and worst of all, feeling trapped in a job I can’t escape from. A job that has caused me to be depressed, because of increased work pressures, and a very controlling boss.
Last year I was in such a good place, I was going the gym 4 times a week, meditating most days, I felt good about myself and optimistic that I could turn my life around. Then changes came in work which greatly impacted on my wellbeing; increasing my workload and change of work pattern. When these changes started I stopped going the gym, stopped eating healthy, stopped meditating, stopped working towards my goals, not intentionally and it did happen gradually, but the depression and anxiety took over my life. I knew what I needed to do to improve my health, but my motivation was so low, everything was a major struggle. I continued to buy healthy food, ingredients for green smoothies, but they ended up in the bin, instead I would grab myself a beer. Even though I knew it wasn’t good for me, I had no motivation to look after my health.
I vowed to meditate for 5 minutes each day, it doesn’t seem much but it was a start, some days I only managed 4 minutes, my nerves were so shot that to try to relax was impossible. Then I discovered Binaural Beats read more about it here, these strangely changed everything.
I know I needed to get back the gym, but just leaving the house became a challenge and the gym is a good 35 minutes walk, with low motivation and my anxiety, it was just too much of a challenge for me. Then Covid-19 came and I could not get the gym even if I had the motivation to. So now I am exercising in the mornings before I start work, making sure I do core exercises and following videos on YouTube with no talking, just exercise sessions I can follow. This is only my second week of doing exercises at home, but I am trying to establish this as a habit. The other day I had a banging headache, I really didn’t feel like exercising, but I done about 10-15 minutes, just to keep my habit going.
I am also trying to cultivate self-love more, because I know this reduces my negative emotions and anxiety, again it is difficult to do when you feel your life is a mess. But do it anyway, I am currently working on my Core Beliefs, I have identified them, written them in a table and am going to spend some time each week, thinking of evidence that discredits my negative core beliefs.
It doesn’t matter where you start, if you feel your life is a mess, just start on anything, no matter how small. If you feel your finances are a mess, buy a budget book, start a budget excel sheet or write it down on a piece of paper. If you want to start exercising, go for a short walk or do 5 minutes of exercise at home, build that habit by establishing routines that work for you. These may be small steps, but they all count as baby steps to changing your life for the better.
- Identify the thing/s that have the biggest negative impact on your life.
- Decide what outcome you want
- What are the main actions that will help you reach your desired outcome?
- Break those actions down into small steps you would need to take to achieve each action?
- Turn those baby steps into habits
- Ensure you take at least one single action per day / week / month to ensure progression