When thinking about your future, how do you feel?
After talking with far too many people who look back at their lives with regret, I feel compelled to share a process which has helped me improve just about every area of my life. If you read and apply the following, you will be one step closer to your best tomorrow!
Raise your hand if you ever feel like…
- There aren’t enough hours in a day.
- You need to be more organized and productive.
- Too many hours are spent working.
- You are stressed far too often.
- You are rushing around from place to place.
- Accomplishing your goals is a struggle.
- You’re too busy and need a day off. (Or maybe a month!)
- You need to get back in shape.
- You don’t get enough sleep.
If you raised your hand at least once, read on my friend! This is a story from a chaotic past to a focused future. From snoozing and losing, to winning and grinning.
Snoozing and Losing
For over twenty years, I have enjoyed a career with a flexible schedule and loads of creative freedom. In other words, it’s been up to me to decide what to do and when to do it.
Early on, however, there was a problem: On a scale of 1 to 10, I scored -8 on discipline and organization.
TRUE STORY – I actually cut the snooze button out of my alarm clock to prevent me from pressing it every nine minutes for two hours instead of just getting out of bed!
Failed attempts to become more organized…
- Try to remember everything without writing it down. (I was pretty good at this until there were so many things to remember that many of them were…well…not remembered.)
- Write lists on papers and post-it notes. So. Many. Post-its!
- Print monthly calendars – Twelve separate pages, attached to nothing. (Where in the world did March go?!?)
After a few years, I faced the facts – none of these methods worked very well. If I wanted a better future, I needed a new approach.
I began seeking help in a variety of ways: Inviting business professionals (who seemed really organized) to lunch for an interview; meeting with some amazing people in their sixties and seventies to learn from their lifetime of wisdom; attending numerous intensive (and expensive!) conferences and seminars; and buying loads of daily planners.
Every time I learned something new from someone, attended a conference, or tried a different planner, I would feel more organized for a period of time, but it never lasted. Something was always missing.
How could I achieve high levels of health, productivity, and balance for the long haul?
A New Method is Born
After many years of ups and downs, I decided to create my own process, one which goes beyond organization and productivity, to help me design the absolute best days of my life!
- Be simple and easy to use (some planners are so complicated and labor-intensive, they feel like a part-time job).
- Connect with me on a deeper, psychological level in order to overcome ego depletion and motivate me from within.
After many months of research and experimentation, a wonderful process was developed, and it continues to improve just about every area of my life!
I call it ValuesPlanning, and before giving YOU some action steps, I would like to tell you about my first big win.
My First Big Win
Health and fitness have always been important to me, yet most of my adult years have been spent feeling out of shape more often than in shape. Although I claimed to value fitness, other demands on my time consistently hijacked this value. I rarely exercised, and this caused a great deal of stress and frustration, with thoughts like, “If this is so important to me, why can’t I just do it?” and “Another day, another fail!”
As a high school tennis coach, I vividly remember hitting one day with our best player. After each rally, I could barely catch my breath to the point it scared me. I wondered how long it would take the paramedics to arrive if I had a heart attack.
Obviously, fitness was on my mind, but not on my agenda. Various gyms and programs weren’t solving the problem either.
I’m happy to report this new process is helping me exercise more than ever and get in the best shape of my adult life! Thousands of push-ups. Hours of yoga and free weights. I even reconnected with my love of playing tennis. Although I spent many hours coaching on the court, I rarely played outside of running practices; however, in the past three months, I’ve played more tennis than in the previous three years!
Behind the Scenes of My First Big Win
It all began with writing about how much I value health and fitness.
On different days, I would write things like…
- Why I value being healthy
- How my actions today reinforced this value and made it stronger in my life
- Fifteen benefits of working out
- How being fit benefits my family, friends, and future
- How rediscovering tennis adds more fun to my life
This involves more than simply writing the words – “I value being healthy and fit.” Instead, it consists of journaling about the value and how it benefits and connects with my life. Writing about fitness in this manner has a profound effect on how I SEE myself. Instead of identifying as someone who is out of shape and needs to start exercising, I now view myself as a healthy, fit person.
And what does a healthy, fit person do? Exercise! Eat nutritious foods! Play tennis! As a matter of fact, viewing myself as healthy makes it difficult NOT to exercise.
Please note: Writing about my values only takes five to ten minutes a day; yet this simple practice, along with the other steps of ValuesPlanning, continues to lead me to even more healthy activity and greater excitement about the future.
The Benefits Keep Coming!
Even if it were just for the fitness factor, I would commit wholeheartedly to ValuesPlanning. Thankfully, the benefits keep coming and the future looks better and better! Beyond fitness, this simple journaling activity has helped me…
- Feel much more relaxed and less stressed.
- Enjoy and love my family more.
- Spend more time with family and friends – laughing, learning, and loving.
- Make better decisions.
- Accomplish more everyday (by spending time and energy on what actually matters).
- Achieve more of my goals.
- Feel more ‘in control’ of my life.
Your First Big Win
Okay, enough about me – now it’s your turn!
HERE ARE TWO THINGS YOU COULD DO TODAY TO HELP YOU PLAN YOUR BEST TOMORROW:
- Decide on your core values.
- Connect to them through journaling.
1. Decide on your core values. These are the most important parts of your life, and it’s easy to lose them in a world with so many distractions. To help you clarify your values, I created some tools to guide you (link below).
2. Connect to your values through journaling:
- What do you love about them?
- Why are they important to you?
- How do they benefit you and others in your life?
- How did your actions today connect with your values?
- What could you do tomorrow to reinforce your values?
Clarify your core values and write about them – this is step one of ValuesPlanning. This step alone will move you closer to your best tomorrow. If you would like to learn the rest of the process, please download my free guide: Five Steps to Your Best Tomorrow. The guide will provide all the resources and examples you need to get started.
I hope taking action on this will bring you many rewards and a brighter future! Feel free to share your wins on our SUCCESS PAGE. And feel free to ask any questions in the comments section below.
To our best tomorrow,