So, you want to know how to change your life in 2014 into something more in tune with the authentic you?
It sounds like an overwhelming task. So overwhelming, in fact, that most people don’t even try. But there is a simple trick that I will teach you now that makes the effort to transform your life easy and practically automatic.
Why Some People Never Try
The most common reasons that people tend to resist any significant form of personal lifestyle transformation are threefold: 1) we don’t know where to start, 2) it looks too hard, and 3) we think that we are too busy with our current life to start anything new.
The technique I am going to teach you gives you that starting point, is incredibly easy, and takes advantage of the free time that you forgot you have.
Step One – Remember
Step one is to think about something very simple that you have always thought about doing but have never gotten around to.
This might be something as simple as a tiny side trip down a charming country lane that you’ve always wanted to take, or a peek inside that roadside curio shop that you always found so charming but never had time to check out. Or it might be something else entirely. Whatever it is, it will probably be some little aside that you notice when you see it and almost as quickly forget about as you fly along on the steel rails of your daily life’s routine.
Can you recall anything that might fit the bill? To help you remember try this simple technique.
Take a few moments to be silent, and follow yourself in your mind on a typical day from the moment you awake through your daily routines. As you do this do you notice anything that catches your eye? Follow this process until you come up with something you’d like to explore. The simpler and quicker this little detour is from your daily routine, the better.
Remember, our lives tend to be heavily planned. And we follow those plans because we fear that reacting to momentary impulses will result in our becoming lazy and losing our self-discipline and direction in life. But oftentimes we follow plans so closely that we forget to notice the world around us as it flies by. And, I hate to say it, but, that world you barely notice flying by everyday is actually your life, and you’d better start noticing it before it’s gone.
Step Two – Make a Plan
Because we are so attuned to living life by schedules and plans, why not now plan to take a detour from your daily schedule. Don’t set a date and time. Just make the decision that, the next time you go by that fascinating little curio shop or whatever and you have a few minutes to spare, you will go in. This loosey-goosey approach to planning will begin the process of training your mind to act more on impulse, but in this case, on an impulse that you know ahead of time that you want to act on rather of an unhealthy one.
Step Three – Act on Your Plan
The next time you notice that thing you want to do, be prepared to stop what you are doing and to turn around. Why turn around? Because, by the time you notice your special side trip you will be most likely be flying past it. And it is so easy to just keep going on, isn’t it? But not this time. Unless you absolutely have no time to spare, take the next u-turn and go check out that special something that’s been quietly catching your eye.
The point of this process is to get your mind used to taking notice of your feelings and interests as they arise. And also to get used to the process of getting off your daily routine when doing so is in your interest.
Don’t be afraid that doing this will teach you bad habits and ruin your disciplined approach to life. In fact, you are actually learning another form of discipline – the discipline of greater self-awareness. Self-discipline doesn’t require going through life like a robot. It’s fear that makes you a robot. And your disciplined habits aren’t that easy to break, anyway. It’s time to have the courage to listen to your desires and, occasionally, to act on them.
How It Works
So, how will taking little side trips change my life? Well, alone, it won’t. But what it will do is begin the process of waking you up to your needs. And it will also gently and subtly break the stiction that makes it so hard to change the way we go through life each day. Once you start allowing yourself these small changes in routine – changes based on sincere desires – you will find it ever easier to start pursuing even bigger changes as opportunities present themselves. And you will be amazed at how fast and how easily the act of stopping to check out that humble little curiosity one day will soon after turn into buying that round-the-world plane ticket. The process is just as simple. It just requires the act of you giving yourself permission. But you can’t even do that unless you are aware of the desire to act when it arises. This exercise makes you aware of that desire, and gives you permission to act on it.
How I Discovered This Technique
I discovered the power of this exercise on my own, and by accident.
Admittedly, I was helped out by a good dose of my own adult ADD. But even I was a victim of the ride-on-the-rails-with-blinders-on approach to our everyday lives that most of us seem to follow.
Then one day I gave myself permission to take a short detour down a country road, a detour I had thought about taking for years as I passed that road, but that I had always just as quickly forgotten about as my real life intruded and my robot mind took over.
That little detour, and my conscious willingness to say “Yes” to a fleeting desire that day, ultimately led me to multiple circumnavigations of North America with my four young kids and their mom. It’s that big of a deal.
The leap from one action to the other was not nearly as hard as you’d think. In fact, there was no leap.
We bought an inexpensive trailer that our car could tow, even though I’d never towed anything in my life. Then we towed it to a campground one weekend (never been to one of those before, either). Then we used it again (why not – who wants an expensive new lawn ornament shaped like a trailer?). And then one summer, after making arrangements with our small business, we went camping and didn’t come home. When we left our first campground, instead of driving back to our house, we headed to another campground in the opposite direction. And we never stopped.
Yes, I know, maybe your 9-to-5 job won’t allow you to just disappear indefinitely. It was a risk to take our business on the road, too. We had cell phones, an Internet fax number, a portable copier, and cell Internet, all of which made our trailer a virtual office as well as our home. And we had an administrative assistant back at our home office to take care of paperwork. She also opened and faxed over to us all of our personal bills, which I paid online from my bank’s website. The truth is, none of our business customers ever knew that we weren’t in our office. And I dare to say that they didn’t care, either. People don’t pay us to sit behind a desk, but to service them as we promise. And that’s what we did. If you can do that from anywhere, then why not do that from everywhere? We did. And it worked.
I just kept thinking about the fact that I had a short window of opportunity while all of my kids were old enough to enjoy the experience yet were still young enough to not mind hanging out with mom and dad. It was now or never, and I chose now.
Now It’s Your Turn
How about you? When is your now? Life isn’t going to sit around and wait until the stars all align for you. Hell, it’s your life, do what you want to with it. But don’t let me hear you complaining later when you miss out on opportunities that you didn’t have the guts to pursue. Life is finite – use it or lose it. I hope that you will try this little technique, and that it leads you to much bigger things.
Please – PLEASE – won’t you post here about your own attempts to use this technique in your own life? Success or failure, I don’t care. Just share with all of us your actions, fears, frustrations, hang-ups, and (hopefully) victories! 🙂
We are here to support one another in this journey called life. So let’s do just that!
I wish you the best of luck and I look forward to hearing back from you soon.
All the best,
PS: Please check out my recent radio show appearance on The Socialable Homeschooler Radio Show! http://bit.ly/19ADDU9, and the piece I recently wrote for my friend Elan Divon over at The Initiation website! http://theinitiation.org/your-story/featured-story/.