Do you ever take time to reflect back over your life and notice cycles? Or patterns? Or see a difference between how you were then and how you are now?
Do you ever look back at your past self and maybe think she was lost.. Or clueless.. Or even on the wrong path?
Because I love to organize things, I’ve arranged the sources and reasons for all the improvements I’ve noticed recently in my life into 6 main concepts to share with you.
My life is better because of these 6 concepts and I wish I would have learned them earlier. I wonder how I’d be different if I had learned them. This is not regret, I’m just curious.
Why didn’t I realize any of this information before? Was I sleeping? Was I blind? Was I just too busy or too distracted? Or, was the information not available for me to discover?
It was a combination of me being distracted by “marketing” and these concepts not being in my awareness -in my sphere- because as I learn more, I am uncovering that all of this information has been around for a long time – and people have been talking about it- it just wasn’t directly in front of me and I didn’t know to look for it.
First, here are 6 specific benefits that these concepts have provided to me. Then I’ll get into the 6 specific concepts.
I like and know myself so much better now. I think in my 20s I was just going along and looking outside of myself. I don’t even think I questioned if I liked myself or if knew myself. I was very outwardly focused. I compared myself alot to what I saw on TV, what I assumed about people I knew (and people I didn’t even know). I held myself up to some imaginary societal ideals and that’s how I decided if I was good or bad, worthy or unworthy, on the right track or off the beaten path. I didn’t question those artificial standards or expectations. I didn’t wonder who came up with them and why and if those standards and expectations were right for me, or what I wanted.
When I think back to myself in my 20s, I just accepted that things were a certain way (without question) and I should follow along on that way, because that’s how it was done (and maybe I didn’t think this- but what else was there? I had no idea).
Interestingly enough, while looking back at my 20s, I think I actually followed my intuition for some pretty major life decisions (without knowing what it was and without calling it that). But by my 30s, I had completely tamped that intuition down beyond any recognition or awareness.
In my 30s I was more inwardly focused- and I noticed a lot of things about myself that I didn’t like. I was probably just resigned to them, like “well, that’s me.. That’s who and how I am” without questioning if they were true, or if they were necessary, or if they could be changed.
I was on a path that seemed laid out in front of me and I was just following that path, one step in front of the other, with blinders on. If I did get a spark of curiosity about what was outside the path, I usually shut it down with doubt, fear and lack of confidence. In my 30s is when I also got into a habit of thinking that everything required evidence and critical thinking. So that’s really when I cultivated my analysis paralysis. If I didn’t know exactly the smartest, most efficient, well-researched and guaranteed outcome, I hesitated moving forward and putting myself out there. During my 30s I had a lot of career and financial success – probably because I am smart and could find efficient, well-researched and guaranteed outcomes (and partly also because I was often in the right place at the right time), but that success was still on a path that I was on by default.. Not really questioning or wondering if it was a path I even wanted to be on.
Now in my 40s as I think about myself and notice what I don’t like – I question those thoughts. If I’m being self-critical, I can ask myself if the criticism is even true, or important? If it is, then I can think about how to improve it- rather than just assume it’s permanent. So now I’m more focused on everything about myself that I really like and appreciate – and I have to say, I’m pretty pleased. I frequently notice during routine moments, like waking up in the morning.. Or stepping outside of the gym after a zumba class, or stopped at a stoplight, or as I open the covers to get into bed at night how much I love my life. How Lucky I feel. How DELIGHTED I am. How this is the perfect thing for me to be doing in this moment. In those moments, I’ll notice the details that I doubt I would have paid attention to before- that I feel so grateful for – like the smell of my morning coffee, or the artistic pleasure I take in choosing the morning’s pen color, or the sun on my face as I step outside or the luxury of the cool, clean sheets on my bed. So that’s the first and most important benefit- I like and know myself now like I never did before.
I am able to make decisions for myself intentionally instead of by default. This goes along with what I was just saying about knowing and liking myself. Now that I don’t feel resigned to being or acting a certain way, I can choose how I want to be or act. I can notice my circumstances and choose my reaction to them based on the results I decide I want for myself.
I specifically remember in 2010 that I kept on hearing the word “intentional“ and I didn’t even know what it meant.
My shorthand definition of intentional is deciding on purpose instead of by default.
I was well into my 30s and I didn’t understand that I could choose based on the factors most important to me how I lived my life. And discard ideas, beliefs, and expectations that were not based on my chosen preferences.
Isn’t that crazy to think I was basically living according to some default settings decided somewhere outside of my own brain?
So, now I’m living intentionally and my life is so much better! And I know and like how I’m living my life.
I have less and more. What does that mean? I have more confidence, more purpose, more money, more energy, and more time, and more space than I had before these concepts came into my life.
What do I have less of? less stress, less worry, less guilt, and less doubt. I also have less clutter in my house and less time I “have to” work. Plus, I literally weigh less. I lost about 30 pounds as a result of one of these 6 concepts.
I am in tune with my intuition and I can and do listen to it. This one is mind blowing for me. I remember hearing people talk about “just listen to your gut”. I was totally into that, but I didn’t know how to do it. I didn’t have a gut? I didn’t know what it sounded like so that I could listen to it. And I was on the hunt for someone who could teach me how to hear my intuition how to recognize a gut feeling. So now I am super in tune with my intuition and I love to listen to it and I love to ask it questions and when I do listen to it, it guides me perfectly.
I am now designing the life I want for myself and I’m actually living it. I am not living by default, I am not living according to the rules of society, or the track in a job, or what my friends or family think I should do. I’m just deciding what I want and then I’m going for it. And it seems so basic and so simple but I really didn’t even know I had that option in my 30s. And I know I have talked to friends who don’t recognize that they also have that option too – right now!
In fact, maybe you’re reading this right now thinking it sounds unbelievable or some people can design their own lives- but not most people. But I learned how! And I’m no different from most people!
So here are the 6 concepts that have changed my life.
Each of these will get their own episode (so be sure you’re subscribed so you hear them when they come out), but I’ll just give you an overview and brief explanation now.
The first concept is morning pages. I sit down for at least 20 minutes every morning, pretty much before I do anything else and write in my journal. This ritual has given me so much more than I ever imagined. I have kept journals and diaries at different times of my life and usually I would write in my diary at night before going to bed. But writing in the morning is definitely the right way for me now at this time in my life. I have learned so much about myself. I have solved so many of my own problems. I have come up with amazing ideas. I’ve had meaningful conversations with my inner voice. My morning writing time is my favorite part of my day and I design the rest of my schedule around it. I’m serious. There are only a very few things I will agree to do in the early morning because I value this time so much.
The second concept that has changed my life is self coaching. Self Coaching is examining my thoughts without acceptance or judgement and remembering that my thoughts are my choice. This concept lets me be aware of my thoughts and reminds me to notice the results that those thoughts are creating and then intentionally decide to either continue thinking those thoughts to get those same results, or choose different thoughts to think to get different results.
I frequently do my self coaching as I’m writing in the morning, but I also do it mentally throughout the day. And, I have a few self coaching friends and I LOVE geeking out with them over identifying thoughts and noticing neutral circumstances. I have a few episodes planned when I’ll go into depth about self coaching – so make sure you’re subscribed so you can hear what I’m talking about.
The third concept is actually 3 in one but they go together really well – they are financial independence, minimalism and the 21 day fix. All 3 of these include the ideas of deciding in advance, intention, constraint and enough. Financial Independence is the discipline of having enough resources (usually through investments and passive income) to know that I don’t need to have a job if I don’t want to. It’s the independence of knowing my basic needs are already met for the rest of my life without being dependent on an employer. It provides so much freedom in my lifestyle because it means I can work if I want to, but I get to choose how many hours I work, what kind of work I do, how long I want to work (seasonally, permanently) and who I want to work for. It means I’m not trapped in a situation that no longer serves me just because I need to collect that specific amount of money every month in order to meet my needs.
Minimalism – to me- is a very similar concept. It means that I have the discipline of having enough resources (for example, possessions) to live my life comfortably. So I have exactly the things that I want- and nothing that I don’t want. Minimalism is also an aesthetic – if you think about a room, with no art, and only a few pieces of furniture, usually all white, or black and white and there’s a lot of open space – that’s not what I’m talking about when I talk about concepts that changed my life, but I do like that look – for other people, not for me. I like color too much!
The 3rd part of this concept I grouped together is a weight loss program from a Multi Level Marketing Company. You might be thinking – what? One of these things is not like the other – but Beachbody’s 21 day fix plan literally changed my life! It changed my habits, it changed my tastes, it changed how I thought about food and food preparation and I lost 30 pounds in a very happy and effortless way. Again, the common theme here is – I was being intentional about what I would eat – only eating what I wanted, and not eating what I didn’t really want or need and I ate enough. Oh, and the program includes colorful food containers.. So you know, I liked referring to food in a color code! – So that’s 3 in one as a concept.
The fourth concept that changed my life was maybe the biggest surprise for me and it is Tarot. This is the concept that taught me how to tune into my intuition. It taught me that life is all about cycles. It demonstrated to me the undeniable human experience. And it opened me up to the world of woo which I would have totally shunned and denied and not even considered, without my introduction and love affair with Tarot. I actually experimented with being a Tarot Reader for a while and learned so much and had a lot of fun with that. And, because of all these other concepts I’ve learned, I realized that being a Tarot Reader was not an intentional choice I wanted to make for myself and was not part of the life I was designing for myself, so although I still love and believe in and think about tarot frequently. This concept is more in the past for me – but played such an important role in my transformation, it made it on to this list of 6 – and I’d love to share my Tarot journey and insights with you in a future episode!
The fifth concept is the phrase “life is the story I tell myself.” I’m not sure how I first came upon it but once I figured this out and even once I just decided to experiment with it, I realized I could drop the parts of my life that didn’t align with who I want to be (who I really am.) and start to orchestrate the parts that do fit. And this is just so amazing to me – I mean who really decides how your life is going to be? who you are going to be? who really is in charge of deciding that? Not your parents. Not society. Not your employer. It’s you! So, I’ve been playing with this and practicing this. I’ve been imagining what life do I want for myself and visualizing it and taking steps towards it. Producing this podcast is an example of getting me closer to the life I want for myself since the story I tell myself is that I’m an artist and creator – so here I am, creating my art!
The sixth concept that changed my life is having an abundance mindset. This is so much better! Abundance is a deep and varied topic but what it means to me is everything in life can be looked at from fear or from love. From scarcity or from abundance. Remember when I was describing to you how I lived in my 30s? How when I would get a spark of inspiration or curiosity I would shut it down with doubt or fear? That’s an example of how I was living in a scarcity mindset. When I switched to an abundance mindset, a whole new side opened up for me. And it is SO MUCH BETTER! It’s so much more fun! And there are so many more possibilities! I’m still learning this. I’m definitely using self coaching to notice my scarce thoughts and question them. I definitely still have a lot of default thinking habits left over. And my ego loves to give me so many reasons why I shouldn’t try things or why something isn’t possible. But, I see so much progress too! I see opportunities come into my life when I’m open to them. I see synchronicities that seem unexplainable. One thing I’m really noticing is when I recognize a scarcity mindset in someone else when I’m talking with them or listening to them. I don’t mean I’m judging them (well, maybe I am – but not from a place where I think I’m better), it’s more like I recognize something that used to be true for me and it’s familiar when I see it in other people, but I know for sure it doesn’t fit me at all anymore. For example, I was following a podcast that I was really interested in. I thought the host was really smart and had amazing conversations with her guests, but something was off to me, I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t totally into her – because “on paper” she hit all the right notes for me. Then, as I was listening to an interview she was doing, I heard how some of her questions were coming from a place of scarcity and worry that there wouldn’t be enough and “what if you don’t get yours” and I realized that’s why I had a “Reaction” to her. That realization was really helpful to me because then I could identify what was off putting to me about her and keep listening knowing “she just hasn’t learned it yet, she just doesn’t know yet” and I could still appreciate all the great content and information while overlooking that difference.
As you were reading, did you notice any resistance coming up for about any of the concepts? I can guarantee if you would have asked my 33 year old self about these 6 I would have had a strong argument against at least 2 of them and I would have shrugged off another 2-3 of them.
If I had to make a bumper sticker to contain all of these concepts at once- it might be something like “Know and Trust Yourself”
So, am I saying you should adopt these concepts? No, I’m not saying you should – but I’m offering that you could?
And I’m wondering if you have heard of these.. And tried any of them.. And I’m curious to know what you think!