Another seven days have gone by so it’s time to check in with yourself. It’s time to acknowledge all the achievements you’ve had and the steps you’ve taken, no matter how small they may seem. No effort is ever wasted. Every tiny piece of a step contributes to your forward progress.
As you look back over the days, what good things stand out? What are you pleased with and even proud of? What happy surprises did you have? Anything serendipitous happen?
Think only of the good, the progress, the forward movement. This is not the time to beat yourself up; this is not the time for woulda’s shoulda’s coulda’s.
YOU ARE REQUIRED TO THINK ONLY OF THE GOOD STUFF THAT’S HAPPENED AND THE PROGRESS YOU’VE MADE AND THE STEPS YOU’VE TAKEN!
Congratulate yourself! Good job! You done good, Kid!!
Your homework for today is to CELEBRATE! Take a moment to feel good about yourself. Note where in your body that emotion lodges. For instance, many people report that good feelings center in their chest and feel warm and glowy. What do they feel like for you? Revel in and enjoy those feelings!
For extra credit, treat yourself as a reward for a job well done. It can be something as simple as spending the afternoon in the library reading your favorite magazines or it can be borrowing a DVD or a CD of music that you like. Another reward can be meeting a friend for a picnic in the park. You don’t have to spend money in order to treat yourself.
“The unexamined life is not worth living by a human being” ~Plato
What if you look back over these past seven days and find that your energy and enthusiasm has dwindled? What if Life has intervened in ways you hadn’t imagined so you’re not really taking any steps at all? What if you never really got out of the starting gate in the first place?
What do you do about this?
Is it time to pack it in, give up, and somehow reconcile yourself to the seeming fact that you’re just not one of the lucky people who can attain their goals and dreams?
The answer is: NO!
Don’t let these thoughts get to you!
It’s very common to find your drive and motivation flagging and it’s an all too usual thing for Life to mess up our best-laid plans. And, many people feel discouraged and disappointed from time-to-time.
When you evaluate yourself, be gentle. I’m positive you can look back over these past few days and identify little things you did do to help yourself and small steps you did take. Even if you’re at the very beginning point where you’re working on this in your mind, give yourself credit for the things you are doing. Even just the simple awareness that you want something better for yourself and you’d like to–or hope to–one day do something about it is a reason to celebrate yourself. Remember from previous posts that mind-work in the form of imagination, visualization, contemplation, and awareness is vital and valuable. Also remember that teeny-tiny steps are the foundation of the larger steps you’ll take later on
Your homework today is to celebrate the victories you’ve had this week, no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential. It’s hard work breaking steps into small pieces, overcoming resistance and inertia, pushing aside fears and anxieties, and moving forward. You did it, though!
“Use Imagination!” This statement has genius in it, because it unlocks and unleashes your own special brand of genius in the form of unique and creative ideas and ingenuities. This then fuels you with energy, enthusiasm, and confidence.
“Use Imagination!” is also an anagram of sorts. You can use some of the letters in the phrase to spell the word genius!
And, it’s plain, old-fashioned fun to use your imagination and let it soar; to “give it its head” and let it run.
You may be saying that you’re too busy taking steps to waste time on imagining. Or, you may scoff at the idea, sure that nothing will come of it. That’s because using imagination has gotten a bad rap. Growing up, you probably heard that indulging in imagining was woolgathering, day-dreaming, or being in la-la land. Worse, you may have heard it called laziness, not paying attention, making up stories, or even lying.
It isn’t true!
It’s well-known and documented that great people throughout the ages scheduled time each day for quiet, contemplation in which they would let their imaginations go. Edison was famous for taking naps when he was wrestling with a problem. Often, he would wake with the solution, or a crucial step that would then lead to the solution. Nicola Tesla, upon whose work our wireless technology is based, always worked through his inventions in detail in his mind before building them. And, the daily training routine of Olympians and professional athletes includes imagination sessions where they go through their routines and perfect their movements.
Your homework for today is to schedule an imagination session. Give yourself enough time (5 – 30 minutes) and choose a place where you won’t be disturbed or distracted. As you’re getting comfortable gently think about some aspect of your dream or goal. Or, you can think about your dream or goal in general terms. Then go for it–let your imagination roam and soar where it will. And, no worries; you can’t do this homework incorrectly! It doesn’t matter if your mind worries or wanders–gently bring it back to your dream or goal. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t get any images or ideas. No effort is ever wasted. View this as a building block or a training session. Trust that you’ll get better at it because, with regularly doing this exercise, you will get better. Remember, too, that even the greatest thinkers didn’t have insights or eureka moments in every single session either; you’re in good company!
Honor yourself and your commitment of making this year different for yourself by putting you first.
You took the time yesterday to work with the steps you need to take and you made them into small increments that you are sure you can do. Honor this by scheduling time in your day to actually do one of the steps. I’ve found the best time of the day is first thing in the morning.
When the alarm first rings, get up. Don’t hit the snooze button. I know it’s tough to get out of a warm comfy bed, especially if it’s dark and cold. I know it’s tempting to say you’ll hit the snooze only this once…. Don’t do it–don’t hit that snooze button! Get up instead. You’ll be very glad you did, I promise. Remind yourself that you’re getting up because you are in the process of building something better for yourself this year.
You don’t have to get up hours and hours ahead. I’m sure you hit the snooze button several times in the morning. Snooze periods are from 4 – 9 minutes, depending upon which brand of clock you have. By getting up with the first buzz of the alarm, you’re gaining an extra 4 – 30 minutes (or more!) in the mornings. That’s perfect for completing a step!
Choose one that will take only a few minutes to complete (when you’re beginning a new routine, start small and simple. As your momentum gathers, you can increase your time). This is another one of the benefits of breaking your steps into teeny tiny increments. Not only does it create the belief that you can do that little piece, but the bits are small enough that they can be done in a few minutes.
When you put yourself first each morning, you’ll be surprised and amazed at how much better you’ll feel. Soon, you’ll have a spark of energy that you didn’t have before. You’ll also begin to feel more confident about yourself and more positive about the day ahead. And it won’t take months to feel this. With regularly putting yourself first in the day, you will quickly feel empowered.
For those of you who are unable to take an actual step, spend a few minutes first thing this morning imagining the little step that you could take if everything were lined up perfectly. Engage as many of your senses as possible. Don’t worry, though, if you have only a vague sense of things. That’s good enough for now.
Your homework for today, in case you haven’t already done so, is spending a little time going through your list of teeny tiny steps and categorizing them into ones that will take 5 minutes or less to complete, ones that will take 5 – 15 minutes to complete, ones that will take 15 – 30 minutes to complete, and so on. In the evening before you retire for the night, go through your list and select an increment you’ll complete first thing in the morning. Then go to sleep with the peace of knowing you’re all set for a terrific start to your day.
You did it! You got up when your alarm first rang and you also took a small step first thing this morning–whether you actually did something or if you spent time imagining it (PS: categorizing your steps counts as taking a step!)