Activate the Changes YOU Desire
by Lisa Engle, OptiMOM Coaching
Congratulations on taking a powerful step toward living a life that more closely resembles YOUR desires. Based on years of coaching, I recognize that the most effective method for lasting change comes from genuine and introspective exploration. While many clients set out with a hope of being “told what to do”, I’ve watched the power they were trying to give me be reclaimed for their personal goals to become a reality.
The following is a simple template that can catapult your progress toward making the shifts in your current reality align to your desires. For starters, please find a notebook you’ll enjoy using and a favorite pen or pencil. Carve out a time and place that you can relax into and allow yourself to fully commit to the processes. You’ll need to take 20 minutes a day for 3 days and at the end, you’ll have a tangible step to make that will pull you forward. The work doesn’t need to be 3 consecutive days…spread it out if it’s helpful. YOU know the pace you need. I trust you. A healthy tension will generate enough power to keep you moving without overwhelm that will halt the process.
To get to the action step on day 3, let’s begin getting a sense of where you, ultimately, want it to take you. Set a timer for 20 minutes and finish the statement "I want __________________” with a description of what YOU when you are expressing your optimal well-being looks like. Write down statements that resonate within you, which bubble up from inside your well, your innate guidance.
Think about things like:
What does your best self eat and drink? What do you love listening to? What are you wearing? How do you enjoy moving and being active? What is the tone of your voice? How do you FEEL? Do you have an art that is expressed or a voice that is heard? How do you spend your time? Who do you associate with? What do you do for fun? Do you see your smile? What put it there? What are you DOing and BEing?
Too often, moms can tell me what their best versions don't look like. (not yelling, not impatient, not sloppy, not overweight, not tired, not binging on tv, wine, etc) Instead, give words and images to identify what YOU at YOUR BEST can be like and desire to be like. Don’t judge what surfaces…simply let it come. Many of us have lost pieces of ourselves, buried under the needs and wants of so many others (and the schedule, laundry, dishes, etc). This picture is a work in progress. You can edit it ANYTIME. We are being refined by what we experience and learn every day, this picture of you is no different. It’s not going to be hung on a wall for the public to see; it’s a private exploration and the wisdom in you can be trusted.
When the 20 minutes is up, allow yourself to linger if there is more coming. More will come. Notice when it does so you can revisit and refine this picture as it does.
Allow a minimum of 10 minutes to review what you wrote and edit to make the picture of yourself more clearly understood and known…by YOU. Notice what you described that might be your sister, mother, neighbor, co-worker, and classmate. Keep in mind, this is YOU you're describing. Cross things out that aren't "you", BOLD the things that are. Underline and circle, NOTICE yourself and recognize what your heart is telling you about this awesome and amazing woman you just described…AKA (your name).
Next spend ONLY 10 minutes detailing a new list titled “want to change”. In this list, identify what areas of your current life expression, habits, lifestyle and behaviors do not support the vision of your life. What areas would you like to see change and improve? Make your descriptions as detailed as possible so that you become more aware of your behaviors as you move through your day.
After you create this list, you will begin to recognize behaviors that are counterproductive or give you feedback about what you "really want" for your best self. Remember that you can edit the work you did on Day 1 at ANYTIME. Notice the feedback you’re getting, its research; DO NOT judge regarding your daily choices, observe them. This is a critical perspective to remember. If you have to, write it on your hand, tape to your mirror, and use sharpie at the top of your pages. It’s RESEARCH. It's all good.
At the end of these four 5 minute exercises you’ll have a step that will pull you toward your desires. Congratulations on taking the time to invest in yourself!
It’s time to review what you want to change and choose the priority.
Set your timer again, this time for just 5 minutes. Review your "want to change" list from day 2 and identify how ready you are to make these changes. On a scale of 1 - 10, 10 being COMPLETELY READY to create the change. Please be honest; recognizing your readiness will help you determine how slow or fast you’ll be ready to attempt your changes. Honoring process is a key factor that will influence your success.
Next, choose your priority. What 1 area are you most ready to do differently? Write this at the top of a blank page, giving it a name that describes what you want the change to look like.
Reset your timer, again for 5 minutes. On your paper, finish the following sentences under the title you’ve chosen.
• I want to experience this change because _________________________________________________
• When I begin to make this change, it'd be helpful if __________________________________________
• In the past, I have learned that I'm good at ___________________ and I can use that skill to leverage my success in this area.
Your next 5 minutes is to brainstorm 10 actions that would support the change you're looking for. Brainstorming is NOT creating your to-do list, it's like creating a menu. This is often more effective in a group or with another person so that ideas can be tossed around.
The last 5 minutes is to review your "menu" and find 1 thing to be your action step toward change. Turn this step into a SMART goal for yourself and identify any sub-steps that will be required to attain it. If you struggle with the word "goal", try substituting "intentional action". Take a moment to observe what you already have to make this step a reality. Consider what obstacles may present that would interfere with your success and strategize a way to remove or work around those challenges.
Now you’re moving! In the same way that we set out to the kitchen to take care of the dishes, we often take care of a few other things, right? Rarely do we ONLY do the dishes. You'll notice that the simple process of creating movement will generate more energy. It feels radically different when our "work" is our choice rather than something we "have to" do. You will see yourself begin to move in the direction of your intention. Let your desires PULL you toward change. Step by step, it’ll happen.
While change often doesn’t match the picture we originally “see” in our mind, it is more often than not, it’s an even better version. As you take your steps, recognize them as deposits in your personal bank account of power and self-confidence. There will be obstacles, learn to re-frame them to be refining moments, bringing out the best in you and learning tools to better know the “not best” in you that still needs attention.
When you see your steam running low (that excitement about healthy change) revisit the "why" you value these changes and choose again to make (and commit to) goals. It might be that it’s time to refine the picture...did you outgrow it? Is it time for a new set of changes? Start the process again and keep moving to your optimal expression, trusting the process and timing along the way.
I believe in your potential. I know you CAN achieve healthy change and as a certified health coach, I am here to help.
If you found this work helpful, I hope you’ll share the resource with others. We not only are worth taking care of, we have a responsibility to it.